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Thousands descend on Champaign Urbana for weekend of running

Gym 1 in the University of Illinois' Activities and Recreation Center filled up with runners registering for the Christie Clinic Race Weekend on April 27.

CHAMPAIGN – The annual Christie Clinic Race Weekend kicked off on April 27 with the Health and Fitness Expo. Runners gathered from all over the country to join in on the races happening over the next few days.

“You’re getting it with that hometown feel of being in C-U and being welcomed in a totally different way,” said Meg Treat, the public relations director for this year’s Illinois Marathon Race Weekend.

She said that people still get the high-quality experience that comes with the bigger races like the Boston Marathon. 

The Christie Clinic Race Weekend is in the Top 100 largest races in the United States, Treat said. Click here for a list of street closures because of the races.

Runners start their weekend at The Activities and Recreation Center where attendees check in, receive race packets, and see vendors. 

“They’re going to be able to come here and pick it up in advance of everything this weekend so that they’re ready to rock and roll when they get to the start line,” said Treat.

Over the years, the event has become a safe haven for those with disabilities. 

Licia Lukach started a mini “event” within the 5k in honor of her son, Noah, who passed away three years ago. He used a wheelchair and lived with an undiagnosed disability until his death at the age of 29-years-old. There weren’t many things they could do together as a family with Noah but Lukach said Race Weekend was the exception.

“This is something we could participate in as a family… and so we enjoyed that,” said Lukach. “And we really want everyone to be able to do that.”

Lukach started the event and has a booth so they sponsor 80 other people with disabilities and their caregivers to experience the same. 

“We want everyone to enjoy the memory Noah had of being like a normal person being able to run and feel the breeze,” said Lukach.

Jan Seeley is the Director of the Christie Clinic Race Weekend. She said that this weekend is all about health and wellness, but also happiness and she is happy to bring that opportunity to others this weekend. 

“No event shines a brighter light on who we are here in the community, and we’re just excited to show everybody what a great town we are in the Twin Cities,” said Seeley.

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