I have the privilege next year of having the Illinois Marathon running through my backyard here in Champaign Urbana. The inaugural run of the marathon will be on April 25 and I will certainly take part as long as I'm healthy. The marathon website is not very informative at this point. Registration opens on June 1st and that's about the only info they're giving out so far unless you want to give them money and be a sponsor. They have plenty of info on that. Which brings me to the point.
The Illinois Marathon is a for-profit race that is owned by the same company that owns the legendary Fargo Marathon (sarcasm). Despite this, I expect this to be one of the finest marathons around. The people of Champaign Urbana are some of the nicest you'll ever meet. The local students support all the athletic events and will certainly show up to watch, volunteer, and run. Local businesses are also supporting the event. Body and Sole, the local running store, will make sure that all runners within 100 miles know about the event. This race could soon be in competition with Indianapolis, Chicago, and St. Louis to become the biggest spring marathon in the Midwest after Grandma's.
A few highlights of the course: flat as a pancake because we don't even have a hill in Champaign Urbana. The only way you'll see a hill is if they make you run a parking garage. You'll also get to finish at the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium. Not quite the Speedway of Indy or running the bases at Wrigley but still going to be a great finish.