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Article updated: 1/24/2013 5:14 PM

Complaints spur Naperville marathon to slash fees

By Marie Wilson

Registration opens Monday morning for the Inaugural Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon, but with fees "significantly" lower than race directors originally planned.

Runners can sign up for the $105 marathon and $75 half marathon beginning at 6 a.m. at naperville26.com.

Organizers made last-minute changes to the fee schedule Thursday in response to an online outcry against original prices for the 26.2- and 13.1-mile races, which had been set at $150 and $115, respectively.

"When we originally looked at preparations, we really wanted to bring everything we possibly could to this race," said Bob Hackett, one of five race directors planning the Nov. 10 events. "When the prices went up, the sticker shock hit everybody."

Race directors got hundreds of online comments on a Facebook page set up for the event, with many complaining about prices some called "exorbitant" or "extremely high."

"We really do appreciate the feedback," Hackett said. "We took away a lot of the things the runners said they didn't need or didn't want. We're pared the cost down significantly."

Perks removed from registration include photos and a name-brand quarter-zip running shirt valued at $65.

Hackett said race registration will include a long-sleeve technical shirt, a personalized race bib, a commemorative medal for all finishers, a race packet with sponsor coupons and giveaways, an online finisher's certificate and age group awards.

Parking and a gear check will be available free and trained pacers will be on the course along with 13 aid stations stocked with water, Gatorade, gel packs and plenty of portable toilets.

The course has not yet been finalized because race directors are awaiting approval from some of the several jurisdictions the path will cross, but Hackett said it is being designed with athletes and area residents in mind.

"We want to give everybody the best possible experience -- for the running community, the city of Naperville and the spectators," he said.

The race is set to begin and end around North Central College in downtown Naperville. From there, marathoners will head south as far as Boughton Road, while half marathoners will turn back north sooner.

Despite some initial negative feedback about pricing, Hackett said enthusiasm about the first running of the Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon has not diminished.

"There's a lot of passion for it," he said. "Our energy and attitude toward this has not waned."

Participation will be capped at 3,500 total runners. Prices will rise $10 for each race on March 1, then again on April 16 and June 1 until all slots are filled. Hackett said $10 discounts will be available through area running clubs and gold-level sponsor running stores.

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