The start, the finish and all the miles in between in the Inaugural Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon have been mapped out and approved, organizers said Wednesday, as they released course maps for the first time.
Runners have eight months to prepare for their Nov. 10 distance running challenge of choice, both of which start and end at North Central College in downtown Naperville.
"We're giving people the best possible view of Naperville we can give them," race director Bob Hackett said. "Because we're starting and finishing at the college, we're incorporating downtown Naperville as much as we can."
Course maps available at naperville26.com show eight aid stations along the 13.1-mile half marathon course and 16 stations runners will pass 19 times along the 26.2-mile marathon course. Craig Bixler, who helped design the courses, said highlights include scenic sections in a forest preserve and parks as well as a northbound stretch along the DuPage River heading toward the finish line.
"The path along the river and Springbook Prairie (forest preserve) are certainly highlights, but also the start and finish downtown at North Central College," said Bixler, the race's charity program director. "I think those are going to be ideal spots."
Hackett said the Naperville City Council unanimously approved the course maps Tuesday night on assurances race organizers will notify residents of neighborhoods on the paths so they are not surprised by streams of runners and street closures on Sunday, Nov. 10.
Race organizers will post electronic message boards a week before the events and will send newsletters to residents along the course providing alternate routes, Hackett said. Organizers have worked to ensure access to Edward Hospital will remain available during the races, which are set to begin at 7 a.m.
About 40 percent of the 3,200 registered runners live in Naperville and already may be familiar with the roads and paths used by the courses, but Hackett said the routes will give newcomers and visiting athletes a feel for the area.
"It gives a different perspective of what you have here," he said.
The lowest elevation along either course is about 640 feet above sea level, while the highest point is about a 700-foot elevation. Organizers say they soon will post a spectators guide directing families and fans to some of the best spots to watch the action.
Runners unable to register before all open slots were taken in 14 hours Jan. 28 can be on the lookout for charity registration to begin Monday, March 25, Bixler said.
About 26 local and national charities including the Conservation Foundation, 360 Youth Services, the American Cancer Society and the Les Turner ALS Foundation will offer registration for a donation of between $100 and $1,000, and details will be on the marathon's website by Tuesday, March 19.
Runners looking to sign up through a charity must donate or pledge before March 25 to gain an access code for registration, Bixler said.