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updated: 9/11/2012 5:35 PM

Running on the river: Fox Valley Marathon

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  • Runners start to gather near the finish line before last year's Fox Valley Marathon Races in St. Charles. More than 2,000 competitors ran a half marathon, a 20 mile race, and a full 26.2 mile marathon, as well as a kid's race. Eventual marathon winner Tim Cunningham of Virginia is at lower left, partly obscured by the sign. He ran the entire race in bare feet.

       Runners start to gather near the finish line before last year's Fox Valley Marathon Races in St. Charles. More than 2,000 competitors ran a half marathon, a 20 mile race, and a full 26.2 mile marathon, as well as a kid's race. Eventual marathon winner Tim Cunningham of Virginia is at lower left, partly obscured by the sign. He ran the entire race in bare feet.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2011

  • Tim Cunningham looks at the soles of his feet shortly after crossing the finish line to win last year's 26.2 mile Fox Valley Marathon. He ran the entire race without shoes. .

       Tim Cunningham looks at the soles of his feet shortly after crossing the finish line to win last year's 26.2 mile Fox Valley Marathon. He ran the entire race without shoes. .
    John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2011

  • Runners are a colorful blur of motion as they start the Fox Valley Marathon in St. Charles.

       Runners are a colorful blur of motion as they start the Fox Valley Marathon in St. Charles.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2011

 
 

Although registration is closed for the Fox Valley Marathon, Half Marathon and Fall Final 20, spectators are encouraged to come and cheer for their favorite runners.

"Last year we had over 1,000 spectators, mostly family and friends (of the runners)," said Tony Andracki, media relations coordinator for the event, which starts at 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 in St. Charles.

This well-organized marathon offers a guide for spectators, which can be downloaded from the website, fv26.com. The guide suggests several different viewing spots for spectators, along with the times that runners are likely to pass.

The course -- the majority of which is on paths along the Fox River and passes through St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Aurora and North Aurora -- begins and ends at First and Illinois streets in St. Charles.

Suggested viewing spots include Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, Clark Island in Batavia, Red Oak Nature Center in North Aurora, the Fox River Trail at Route 25 in North Aurora, and McCullough Park in Aurora.

"The Marathon, the Half Marathon, and the Fall Final 20 runners will all

start together," reads the guide. "The runners will be divided into waves, each with about 100 people, starting every 30 seconds. This helps reduce congestion in the first few miles of the race. Runners wear electronic tags on their shoes that detect when they cross the starting line, so that their finish times will account for when they actually start".

Andracki said registration reached its limit of 2,900 participants at least a month ago.

"It's been filled in quicker each year," Andracki said of the Boston qualifier. "It's really convenient for a lot of runners."

The Fox Valley Marathon has the big race amenities with a small race feel, according to Andracki. And the registration limit keeps the race from feeling too crowded.

"You're not tripping over everyone," Andracki said.

Although this is only the third year for the race, it's already become well known in the area.

"In terms of single-day sporting events, we've been told we're the biggest in the Fox Valley," Andracki said.

If you're a runner who missed signing up for this year's race, Andracki said registration should be open in a few months for the 2013 event.

"Registration usually opens around the end of December or early January," Andracki said. "Keep watching the website for updates."

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