|Craig Virgin at the Springfield Marathon starting line.|
Some days it just feels great to have a close community connection. Yesterday was one of them.
The first Springfield Marathon attracted 1,550 runners yesterday. In chilly but sunny 40-degree weather, they began near Founders Residence Hall and headed south across Lake Springfield and into the countryside. I wandered into TRAC to warm up and then strolled to the finish line, which was east of Kiwanis Stadium. Meanwhile, runners were logging hundreds and hundreds of miles.
I was in awe. A few finished very confidently, looking as if they had run only two blocks. Many more shared various looks of pain and determination, trying to keep their legs going and get enough oxygen. Most were not "racing." I think they heard competing internal voices: one telling them to stop and another cheering for them to complete the course they had vowed to finish. They competed against themselves and won, checking to see if they set Personal Records.
My personal tip of the cap to two people you've never heard of -- Matt Panich, who runs our Recreation and Athletic Center
and was our liaison to the marathon; and UIS Police Sergeant Brad Strickler, who coordinated the multi-agency law enforcement detail that required months of planning, much more than you'll ever realize.
In the end everyone was safe and the atmosphere was electric. I am so pleased that Bill Stokes of the Springfield Road Runners Club
chose UIS for this first Springfield Marathon. May there be more.
|The finish line was on the road east of Kiwanis Stadium|