Since its inception in 2009, the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon Race Weekend has cast the brightest of lights on Champaign-Urbana. Community leaders have called race weekend their favorite days of the year. Local runners beam as they help host an event that has garnered national attention and accolades. Nearly 190,000 participants — representing every state in the USA, every Canadian province, and over 30 countries — have been welcomed with open arms by local residents and the business community. Race organizers and title sponsor Christie Clinic are so proud of the impact this event is having on Champaign-Urbana.

Through charitable giving: Combining direct donations by race management and fundraising by our entrants for our official charity running partners, through 2021, the event has donated over $1.5 million dollars, almost all of it given to charities in Champaign County. Of note, Developmental Services Center has received over $200,000 and Larkins Place at the Y over $100,000. Race organizers donate to local charities like the Urbana Neighborhood Connection Center and DREAAM (Driven to Reach Excellence and Academic Achievement for Males) because we know the instrumental work these agencies are doing with vulnerable young people in our community. Even during the pandemic, when our organization had no in-person race weekend, by working with sponsor Papa John’s and the Papa John’s Foundation, this past year we were able to award grants and donations totaling $46,126 to seven local charities.

Through impact on the local economy: Without a doubt, race weekend is a powerful economic engine for C-U. Based on statistics shared by Visit Champaign County, the estimated annual economic impact of race weekend is $7M. The race has about 70 race sponsors, all but one of which is local. Especially coming out of the pandemic, our business community will benefit tremendously from the return of our signature race weekend.

Through improving the health of our citizens: Driving around town, we all see the evidence — our streets and sidewalks are full of people moving. When we started CCIM, one of our goals was to “change lives.” Thirteen years later, we know we are moving the bar. Local physician Janet Welch shares this: “The Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon has contributed to the general health of the community. It has helped move people along the curve of more physical activity. As a physician, I’ve seen people in my practice who were regular exercisers become marathoners for the first time, and people who were sedentary start to walk or jog more to participate in the 5K.”

Through DEI initiatives that bring the community together. For 2022, those include:

  • A program that will bring and support vision-impaired athletes and their guides to our race.
  • A program called Walk, Run & Roll with Team Noah that will enable people with disabilities to complete the 5K with their caregivers and/or family and friends. illinoismarathon.com/races/5k/team-noah/
  • A program supporting the Busey Bank Illinois Youth Run, in which each elementary school in C-U will receive 20 comp registrations to enable a diverse and underserved group of students to be able to participate.

Better Together in 2022

Now more than ever, in this time of uncertainty, division and pain in our community, we believe the Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend will bring people together and help us take a giant healing step forward. The event has been a powerful force of good for our local community since 2009. Better Together. That’s our official theme for our 2022 race weekend.

With a ton of hard work and the support of our local community, sponsors, and city partners, we will make this happen in 2022.