BELLEVILLE – HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital will be the main medical support provider and a major sponsor for the inaugural Belleville Main Street Marathon. The marathon will be held at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, and is presented by the Belleville Running Club and Toolen’s Running Start.
“We are very excited about St. Elizabeth’s sponsorship,” said race co-director Sarah West. “They are providing major support, not only by being a key sponsor, but also by donating major medical and marketing support. Their involvement will boost this event to another level, especially with the top-notch medical support we’ll have on the course.”
The 26.2-mile, Boston Marathon qualifying race will be held in downtown Belleville and feature America’s longest Main Street. The marathon course has been certified by USA Track & Field, which makes it a qualifying course for the prestigious Boston Marathon. The course will start around West Main and First streets in downtown Belleville. Half of the course will be along America’s longest Main Street and the other half will be on portions of the paved Richland Creek Greenway Trail and MetroLink Bike Trial. Hydration and fueling stations will also be located throughout the race course.
Clinical staff from St. Elizabeth’s will be volunteering the day of the race, providing medical attention to runners with minor injuries and assistance in stabilizing and transferring runners with more serious conditions to the nearest hospital.
According to Bob Farmer, MD, “Runners can experience dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion, along with a multitude of other injuries on a 26-mile race. As the medical providers for the marathon, St. Elizabeth’s will have a full complement of clinical specialists on-site including physicians, nurses, athletic trainers and physical therapists to assist runners that may need medical attention. There will be additional coordination with area EMS agencies and city of Belleville first responders.”
Marathon co-director Mike Toolen notes, “We want to show off the great city of Belleville to the running community, and the excitement is building. The marathon course is fairly flat, containing only a few hills on the scenic course running along Main Street. There will be plenty of water stops, medical assistance and cheering volunteers and spectators.”
Race organizers have received strong support from the throughout the local community, including Underwood Chiropractic and Robert “Chick” Fritz Inc., the other top tier sponsors of the marathon.
“We also have received a tremendous amount of support from the city of Belleville, and we are just so very grateful for all the other numerous businesses, city leaders, and individuals who are getting on board to make this a great event,” added Sarah West, marathon co-director with Toolen.
About 70 people have registered for the race, and organizers hope to see that number grow to about 150 by race day, especially now that the course has been certified.
Race organizers also are seeking major support from individuals to volunteer at street closures and to line the course to cheer on the runners.
“The amount of crowd support can make or break a course,” West said. “We have a strong running community in the Belleville area, and the residents of Belleville and surrounding communities are fantastic about getting behind and supporting community events, such as Art on the Square, Belleville200, and Tour de Belleville, to name a few.
“That type of support makes Belleville an ideal place to hold a marathon, both for the runners and the organizers. Runners love a course filled with spectators, and we are going to need a lot of volunteers.”
Divisions for the marathon are: Top Overall Male & Female; Masters (Male & Female). Age groups for the marathon are separated by male and female and are 19 & under, 20 – 24, 25 – 29, 30 – 34, 35 – 39, 40 – 44, 45 – 49, 50 – 54, 55 – 59, 60 – 64; 65 – 69, 70 & over. All participants will receive a participant’s medal and the top three overall winners and top 3 finishers in each age division will receive awards.
Following the race, there will be a post-race party, and at 1:00 p.m. an awards ceremony will be held.
The Belleville Main Street Marathon will also hold a Packet Pickup and Expo at the United Methodist Church on Friday, Sept. 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. United Methodist Church is located at 721 E. Main St., Belleville IL, 62220.
To register or volunteer for the marathon visit bellevillemarathon.com. Entry fee is $65 before Aug. 31; late entries and race day entries will cost $75. Entry fees are nonrefundable. The race will be held rain or shine. All proceeds will benefit the Belleville Parks and Recreation and the Backstoppers, a local organization assisting families of fallen police officers and firefighters.
To participate or volunteer for Belleville’s first Main Street Marathon please visit their website at http://www.bellevillemarathon.com/ or like them on Facebook and follow them at https://www.facebook.com/bellevillemarathon/ or follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bvillemarathon.
— From the Illinois Business Journal