Smile Politely

Five great local races of 2013

2013 has been a great year for local running. There was, of course, the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in its 5th year. It is hard to believe that so many years have passed since C-U got it’s own marathon. There were many other races in east central Illinois worth a shoutout. Here’s a list of some of this year’s greats.

Siberian Express

There is something crazy about runners who run a race in January. That’s the attraction of the Siberian Express put on by the Kennekuk Road Runners. The race is 7.45 miles, it offers no aid on the course, and the weather is as predictable as you’d expect in January in Illinois.

One runner wrote, “The fact that I fell on ice and hurt my shoulder so bad it hurt for most of 2013, and plan on running it again in 2014 is a testament to its awesomeness (and popularity). Or that there’s something terribly wrong with me. Probably both.”

The race takes place on January 4, 2014, and you can register for the race here.

Shoreline Classic

The Shoreline Classic is the only race around that I know draws a number of elite runners from across the country. There are so many fast runners at this race, they give awards to the first 10 runners male and female just to give us non-elites some hope.

“Really like Shoreline Classic 15K in Decatur in September,” said one local runner on Facebook. “It’s got some hills, draws lots of really fast runners, and there’s a nice post-race feed.”

The race website is here

Savoy Orchard Days 5k

I hadn’t heard of the Savoy Orchard Days 5k in September before, but over 100 runners took part in what one runner said was a great run.

“I really enjoy the race in September in Savoy. It is only a 5k but it is a very challenging, fun race!”

The race finishes on the hill in Dana Colbert Park in Savoy. Wait, there is a hill in Savoy?

Kirby Derby

The Kirby Derby in Monticello in May is a personal favorite. It seems that 10ks are making a comeback around town. There’s been the really successful Countryside 10k in Sidney, and in July the Run for the Bagel in Mattoon. The Kirby Derby is another great race. They have awesome finisher medals, a flat course, and PR quality runs. They’ve also been very open about how they can make the race better each year. That says something about the race organizers.

A Facebook friend said, “I liked Kirby Derby a lot. It’s in May, so the weather was great, it had chip timing at the beginning and end, good shirts, nice community support, and a fast course.”

Mahomet Half Marathon

This year, the Mahomet Half Marathon (MHM) in August benefitted from superb weather. Frankly, they lucked out. Some years, the MHM is so hot, you look like you’ve taken a shower after the race. Unfortunately, you don’t smell very good. This year, temps at the start were in the 60s. It could not have been a better day for a great race.

2014 is setting itself up to be another great year of running. Keep at it!

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