Jan Seeley's breath was taken away Wednesday — not because the co-director of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon was running or anything.
She had just heard that she and race co-director Mike Lindeman are finalists for an Illinois Office of Tourism's Lincoln Award.
"It's a shock," Seeley said. "We're obviously incredibly flattered that Jayne DeLuce and her team would nominate us and more amazed that the powers that be would make us finalists."
The awards will be handed out during the Illinois Governor's Conference on Tourism on Feb. 3 in Chicago. Like the Oscars, DeLuce, president and CEO of Visit Champaign County, won't know until that evening whether Seeley and Lindeman win.
"We are just so psyched," DeLuce said. "They are so deserving. Honestly, Champaign County doesn't get the recognition we think it deserves on the state level because you're always competing with Chicago or Springfield."
The Illinois Office of Tourism started the awards program last year to honor the "behind the scenes stars" of the state's tourism industry. Visit Champaign County won then for best marketing.
The sixth annual Illinois Marathon will be April 24-26 in C-U.