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UPDATE: Thunderstorms have prompted the cancellation of the remainder of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon as of 10:15 a.m.

"We are canceling the race. There’s been lightning as close as Ivesdale. We want to give everybody time to seek shelter," said race spokesperson Rick Atterberry, stationed in the emergency operations post in Urbana.

Police officers were being dispatched to distant parts of the course to alert runners. MTD busses were being sent to pick up people along the route.

"If the storms get here before the busses do, we ask people along the route to open their homes, garages, whatever," said Atterberry.

Runners who are east of Prospect Avenue in Champaign are being allowed to continue on to the stadium as are those closer than Pennsylvania and Race in Urbana.

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CHAMPAIGN - Mother Nature gave the thousands of runners lined up for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon a break this morning: an almost dry start.

Streets along the route started closing around 6:30 a.m. and the runners started in waves at 7 a.m. as planned from First Street near the State Farm Center. 

Rain to the west and south promised to make its way to the route later. The temperature at the start hovered around 50 degrees but felt a bit cooler due to the breeze. The temperature was forecast to stay close to 50 for most of the race.

Organizers are keeping a close eye on changing weather conditions and told runners that cancellation would happen only in the event of extended thunderstorms or tornadic activity.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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