CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – For three days, runners and walkers were the stars of Champaign-Urbana as Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend held its 14th annual event. Nearly 9,000 people took part in the one-mile, 5K, 10K, four-person relay, and half marathon races, beginning on Thursday and culminating on Saturday in the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. This is the largest field to take part since the pandemic. Participants finished on the 50-yard line, after touring through scenic and historic destinations along the routes.
“Our theme for this year’s race was ‘We Run This Town,’ meant to showcase our event’s incredibly special setting of Champaign-Urbana,” said Jan Seeley, race director of Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend. “Participants have so many choices when they look for running events, and they choose our race because of the welcoming, friendly spirit that is so deeply rooted in our community’s culture. We offer our runners the amenities they expect from a big-city running event with the kindness and kinship you can only find in C-U! I want to thank all of our local partners, volunteers, and spectators who came together to make this an unforgettable weekend for our participants.”
Recreational and competitive entrants alike participated throughout the weekend. Johnny Crain was the victor of the men’s half marathon, breaking the tape in 1:05:05. Jane Bareikis crossed the finish line in 1:16:13, securing her spot as the champion of the women’s half marathon. Susannah Scaroni was the overall and women’s winner of the wheelchair division of the half marathon with a time of 50:22. Brian Siemann took first in the men’s wheelchair division of the half marathon with a time of 51:57.
Other top finishers in each unique event included:
● Phil Parrot-Migas in the men’s 10K with a time of 31:24
● Kate Bushue in the women’s 10K with a time of 36:48
● Farrah Scott in the women’s 5K with a time of 19:20
● Josh Mollway in the men’s 5K with a time of 15:44 and in the men’s mile with a time of 4:37
● Mikeelie Jensen in the women’s mile with a time of 6:13
Other race weekend highlights include the Health & Fitness Expo sponsored by Body n’ Sole, which featured nearly 50 local businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, and other running events for the public to engage with. Two proclamations were made in honor of the race, both spotlighting athletes with disabilities. One came from the Village of Mahomet, which honored late resident and race weekend icon Noah Lukach and Team Noah, which provides people with disabilities and their caregivers scholarships to participate in the 5K event. The entire event was honored for its inclusivity of participants with disabilities by Governor Pritzker, who proclaimed Saturday to be “We ALL Run This State Day.”
Fair weather prevailed after forecasted rain, offering clear skies and cool temps through the weekend. Live entertainment and enthusiastic spectators lined the courses. Participants in all events were treated to finisher celebrations including the Green Street Mile Post Race Party at City Center, 4th Mile Street Fest following the 5K, and the Meijer 14th-Mile Celebrate Victory Bash following the 10K, relay and half marathon. Food, drink, entertainment and more delighted runners and their families as they marked their accomplishments.
The race welcomed a special guest: history-making athlete Andrea Peet, the first person with ALS to complete 50 marathons in 50 states. Peet is currently touring the country showing the documentary, ‘Go On, Be Brave,’ which chronicles her journey to completing her endurance feet. Along the way, Peet has and continues to advocate for inclusion of participants with disabilities in running events and to fundraise for ALS research. The race hosted two screenings, where Peet and her husband, David, were able to engage with attendees and share their message.
Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend is one of the 100 largest running events in the nation. Since its inception, the Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend has donated $1.6 million to charities in the community and generated an estimated $6 million in economic impact annually. The race will return on April 25-27, 2024, offering the full marathon distance once again for the first time since 2019. Registration for next year’s event will open this summer.
About Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend
The Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend is an annual running event that takes participants through the scenic streets of Champaign-Urbana, Ill. It is one of the 100 largest races in the United States, drawing close to 15,000 runners in past years. Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend is led by award-winning Race Director Jan Seeley. The event made a triumphant post-pandemic return and remains committed to fostering a happy, healthy community in central Illinois. The 2024 edition will take place on April 25-27, 2024, and will feature a 1-mile, 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, 4-person relay, youth run, and multi-event challenges. To learn more about the Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend, visit www.IllinoisMarathon.com.