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posted: 11/10/2013 5:30 AM

Race day greets Naperville marathoners

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  • Runners in the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon are ready to race beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday at North Central College after picking up their packets and bibs at the race expo Friday and Saturday.

       Runners in the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon are ready to race beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday at North Central College after picking up their packets and bibs at the race expo Friday and Saturday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Racers who picked up their packets and last-minute gear at the race expo Friday and Saturday now are ready to run the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon. The race steps off at 7 a.m. Sunday from North Central College in downtown.

       Racers who picked up their packets and last-minute gear at the race expo Friday and Saturday now are ready to run the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon. The race steps off at 7 a.m. Sunday from North Central College in downtown.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

There's a special something about the atmosphere on race day.

Runners say a certain nervous excitement, coupled with camaraderie and anticipation, brings them to starting line after starting line in search of the thrill that comes with pushing themselves to their limits.

Nearly 3,500 runners will experience that sensation Sunday when the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon steps off at 7 a.m. from North Central College downtown.

Nearly 1,400 of those competitors plan to run the full 26.2 miles of the marathon; the rest will tackle the half.

Peppered by endorphins and the community spirit of tackling the same tough task -- alone, yet together -- these runners are the lucky (or crazy) few who get to experience the race as competitors.

"The camaraderie between runners is so supportive, even on race day," said Terri Hayes, who owns Artistic Creations Salon in downtown Naperville and is running the half marathon. "Everyone is out there doing the event and trying to complete something for themselves, and people are just encouraging you the entire way."

It's race day, Naperville, and that means crowds of cheering fans in parks, hordes of hungry runners in downtown restaurants, sweaty backs and burning muscles and, of course, finishers' medals.

It's a day race organizers have been planning for years, and that runners have been anticipating through months of training.

"It's a beautiful course. I think the runners will really enjoy it. I think spectators will enjoy it," Race Director Bob Hackett said. "It's a great event, and not just for the runners."

Live coverage of the marathon is available beginning at 6:50 a.m. at nctv17.com.

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