For local race directors, Phil Young and Brandon Bartz, greenlighting the first race event in the area since late February was no small task. But after lots of planning and help from Mike Peterson at Illiniwek Forest Preserve, the Illiniwek Race the Night 7K, half & full marathon will take place next Saturday in Hampton, IL.

“We’ve been kind of waiting and waiting and watching on what’s everyone else doing,” said Fleet Feet owner and Race Director, Phil Young. “Are numbers going up or down or staying the same, or kind of what seems responsible, what are the rules, can we even do it and it kind of got to a place where we were two and a half weeks out and it was like, ok, I think we can do this.”

As this event has grown each year, both Young and Bartz talked about how they see this race being one of the premiere running events in the near future. And that was a big reason they were happy to find a way to put this on during a time where it just didn’t seem possible. “This race has had such good momentum,” said Foundation owner and Race Director Brandon Bartz. “And we really do want to do whatever we can to keep the momentum going in the right direction. We want people to get used to the Illiniwek Trail Race being a thing, and I think that it has great potential long term, it’s the only night trail race around and it’s the only trail marathon around.”

With any event going on right now, there are going to be questions about safety and numbers. Young and Bartz have made sure that they did everything they could to ensure the safety of everyone running. “150 is going to be the most we’ll take and that depends on where the demands are for which sections and heats,” said Young. “We’ll have hand sanitizer and we are strongly encouraging people to wear masks before and after the race. All our volunteers will be in masks and there’s not going to be a lot of proximal intimacy. There won’t be high fives or putting medals around your neck or anything like that. We’ll be responsible but we want to make it fun.”

For more information or to register for the Illiniwek Race the Night event visit,

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