Downstate’s largest running event has been postponed until later this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Organizers of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon announced Thursday that they’re postponing their events scheduled for April 23-25.
Co-director Mike Lindemann said when the University of Illinois announced restrictions on gatherings of large groups, organizers knew the races would likely be postponed.
“When they came out last (Wednesday) night and said there’s no group gatherings over 50, things like that, we probably knew our fate was kind of sealed then,” Lindemann said. “But we just think it’s the right thing to do for volunteers and runners.”
Organizers say they hope to announce a new weekend for the Illinois Marathon events in the next seven to ten days, and it will be “several months” from now.
Co-Director Jan Seeley said organizers hope to hold events for all distances, including the full marathon. She said they’ll have to change the marathon course to lessen the burden on Champaign-Urbana public safety personnel because the fall is a much busier time for them with football games and other campus events.
“It would be impossible for them to support that, so pulling back and trying to make the footprint, basically, with the exception of the start and finish, which are in Champaign, making the majority of the race in Urbana made it possible for them to say ‘yes, we’re behind this new plan,’” Seeley said.
About 86-hundred people are currently registered for this year’s Illinois Marathon events. Organizers say they’ll have options for transfers, deferrals, and refunds if the new dates don’t work for them.
Seeley said she is thankful that the University of Illinois and the cities of Champaign and Urbana were willing to work with organizers to postpone, rather than cancel the event.
“It speaks to how cooperative this event is, that there wasn’t any digging of heels, it was more like, ‘what can we do to make this happen?'” Seeley said.