Illinois Marathon draws in participants from around the world

Thousands of runners and supporters “flooded”: the Champaign-Urbana area Saturday for the third annual Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon.

The event drew athletes from 44 states and 9 countries, said Marsha Osterbur, media coordinator for Christie Clinic.

Each race wound a different way in Champaign and Urbana after a run in the heart of Campustown down Green Street.

Earlier Saturday morning, crowds of supporters cheered on the participants of the 10K, half marathon and marathon races.

Urbana resident Micki Mannino said she watches the race every year. She and Champaign resident Holly Yan were watching from the corner of Sixth and Green streets.

“We come because it’s an inspiration for us,” Mannino said. “It’s just beautiful and beautiful to see the community coming together.”

About 3,000 volunteers from the community and surrounding areas helped to make the “event”: possible. Some woke up at 3:30 a.m. to direct traffic into parking lots or prepare Gatorade for the runners.

Illini EMS, or IEMS, assistant director of operations Kevin Chang, volunteered at the event with other IEMS team members. IEMS assisted doctors and nurses in the medical tent.

“It’s nice to see how the community gets together to support something like this,“ said Chang, senior in LAS.

The first half marathon finishers started to make their way into Memorial Stadium around 8:40 a.m. The 50-yard line served as the finish line for every race.

Mark Rode from Indianapolis, Ind., won the half marathon with a time of 1:10:14. Ronald Revord, Champaign resident, finished second and Arturs Bareikis from Oak Forest, Ill., took third place.

The women runners were only minutes behind. Shannon Ring from Belvidere, Ill., placed first in the women’s category with a time of 1:20:46. Jackie Rzepecki from Rochester, Mich., finished second and Kayla Brown from Petersburg, Ill., took third place.

The winner of the marathon was Jose Munoz from San Antonio, Texas, who ran the 26.2 miles in 2:26:21. Behind Munoz was Paul Howarth, resident of Charleston, Ill. Jeffrey McClellan from Henderson, Nev., finished third.

The marathon champion from the women’s category was Lucie Mays-Sulewski from Westfield, Ind. Mays-Sulewski finished in 2:52:54, followed by Loryn Kromrey from Oak Park, Ill., and Holly Fearing from Madison, Wisc., came in third place among the women runners.

Rain was forecasted for Saturday morning but the skies remained clear. Runners did, however, encounter a lot of wind on their runs.

“I felt pretty good about my run,” Sulewski said. “Mentally it’s hard to keep pushing through it especially with wind. I wanted to run a lot faster but considering conditions, I’m happy I won.”

Second-place marathon finisher Howarth ran and won the GO! St. Louis Marathon on April 10. Saturday’s time was only 17 seconds behind Howarth’s St. Louis time.

“I was really pleased with my run today,” Howarth said. “I’m still a little sore from St. Louis.”

Howarth runs about 100 miles per week but drops down to 60 in the weeks before a race. He also does triathlons in the summer months which he will begin training for this month.

Osterbur said the marathon is a testament to the Champaign-Urbana community’s dedication to its health and wellness. She explained since the expansion of the former Christie Clinic Run for the Health of It 5K and 10K races into the Illinois Marathon, she has seen an increase in health and wellness “campaigns”: in the Champaign-Urbana area.

“Christie Clinic is of course devoted to health, but (this race) indicates that it’s not just a saying, but it’s how we live,” Osterbur said.