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updated: 6/20/2013 3:46 PM

Naperville marathon route changes course

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Course changes approved this week mean the Inaugural Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon on Nov. 10 will be run exclusively inside the city.

The Naperville City Council on Tuesday approved changes to the marathon route east of the DuPage River that keep the course entirely in the city without crossing into Bolingbrook.

The half marathon course was unaffected by the change, which organizers made to promote safety and address concerns raised by Bolingbrook officials, said Craig Bixler, who helped design the courses.

"They were concerned, as were we, about runner safety and traffic inconvenience, resident inconvenience," Bixler said. "So we decided to move it all to Naperville."

Organizers said they will post an updated course map next week at naperville26.com.

Bixler said the marathon still starts and finishes at North Central College, then heads south and west to Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve. The course then crosses Washington Street and uses other Naperville roads -- instead of sections of Bolingbrook or Will County Forest Preserve land -- to get to Greene Valley Forest Preserve.

After curving around paths in the forest preserve, marathoners will head west and back north along Washington to the big finish.

With the races less than five months away, some Naperville-area running stores are beginning to offer training programs for competitors.

"Marathoners are a funny breed," race director Bob Hackett said. "You just mention the word 'training' and they say, 'Oh yeah, I'm ready.'"

Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle will offer four training sessions on different sections of the course beginning next month so runners can learn where water stations will be and plan their race day nutrition and hydration, manager Eric Brechtel said. The runs will take place at 7 a.m. one Saturday a month, beginning July 27 at the race's start/finish line at North Central College.

Road Runner Sports on 75th Street in Naperville is partnering with Life Time Fitness to host twice weekly marathon training runs beginning Tuesday, July 23, and half marathon training runs beginning Tuesday, Aug. 20. Runners can sign up at lifetimerun.com, and discounts are available for the store's VIP customers and Life Time Fitness members, said Matt Malabanan, a spokesman for Road Runner Sports.

A marathon training program offered by Naperville Running Company is already full, mostly with runners preparing to be part of the first 26.2-mile race in town. But others can view the same training plan the store will be using online at runningcompany.com.

"So many people want to be part of the first one and kind of wear that as a badge of honor," said Kris Hartner, the store's owner. "People are really excited about it."

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