Illinois Marathon 2019

Last weekend, runners took to our local streets in the 11th running of the Illinois Marathon.

Since its inaugural events in 2009, I've run the following Illinois Marathon races - 2 Half Marathons, 3 Full Marathons (including my First Full Marathon), 1 5Ks, 1 Relay Marathon and now I can add the last race - the 10K. I've participated 8 out of the 11 years. One year (2012), I was recovering from ACL replacement surgery, so no running that year. I recall avoiding the race events one year (then regretting it), and two years ago I was out of town attending to family business. I am so very thankful for what the Illinois Marathon has done for our community - people come together to train, to run, to volunteer, to cheer and encourage; to achieve goals, to push physical and mental limits and to discover more about themselves in the process.
I doubt I would have endeavored to run a full marathon had it not been for this local race.

Through this event, I connected with other local runners and in the process, expanded my circle of friends. I can always find a person to slog through numerous miles, in good conditions and bad, in the wee morning hours, in the rain, snow, cold, heat and humidity. Crazy begets crazy!

I even managed to rub this crazy running habit off on my family. Last year, we teamed up and completed the 4 person marathon relay. This year, my daughter trained for and completed her first half marathon! I am so proud of her! She signed up for the local training program my Run Club executes, managed to get to the Saturday 8am group runs (not easy for a 21 year old college student) and met her goal of finishing her first Half Marathon. In contrast, I didn't run my first half marathon until I was in my 40's!

Congrats to My Daughter on Her first Half Marathon!! Way to go. Super proud of how hard you’ve worked and trained!

I ran the 10K with two of my dear Book Club friends, one who is a beginner runner. I helped Nancy train for this, her first 10K race. She trained using a walk-run couch to 10K program but ran the entire race. I had a blast accompanying her the entire 6.2 miles

Our group - pre race. One of my friend's 9 year old, Nancy's husband, me, Heather and Nancy.
Getting Ready to Run! #shirleyruns #illinoismarathon #10k #getoutsideandrun
During the course of our training, we developed a running mantra - "For the Fellowship" and I was the running group's Coach - you can see those elements in our race bibs, along with Nancy's husband's encouragement for her race.

I spotted a course photographer at mile 5, so posed for this shot:

Our Finish line photos were crappy, but we managed to finish strong, holding our hand together in the air in victory. I hope Nancy and Heather continue to run through the summer. We will meet up in late July at our Lake retreat and I already have plans for us to run together.

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