5K Friday: Illinois 5K

Illinois 5K
Written by Charlie

In order to give more information on races of many distances, I am going to start having different races on different days of the week. Friday will be 5K Friday. I will certainly cover 5Ks on other days of the week as well, but you can always count on finding out some information about 5Ks on Friday. 

5K Friday: Illinois 5K

The actual, full name of this race is Presence Covenant Medical Center Illinois 5K Run/Walk. That certainly is a long name! It seems like you could be well on your way to completing this 5K before someone could actually get through it all. 🙂 This race is part of a multi-race weekend in Champaign, Illinois. This city hosts an amazing set of races and is really a great place to consider running. I have raced here twice and would easily go back again. The city is a large college town, but really gives across more of a small town feel with a definite family-friendly environment. This could be a great place to bring the whole family!

Illinois 5K

In addition to the 5K distance, this race weekend also many other races – marathon, half-marathon,marathon relay, wheelchair half-marathon, 10K, and a youth run. Really a something-for-everyone feel! While many races offer varying distance options, something that makes the Illinois races a bit more unique is that the 5K is held on Friday evening, the day before the rest of the races. This is because the 5K is offered as part of the I-Challenge – a combination of the various distances. You can complete the I-Challenge if you run the 5K on Friday night and then either the 10K, half-marathon, or the marathon on Saturday morning. My experience at this event was doing the I-Challenge (5K on Friday and marathon on Saturday). It was definitely a blast!

Here are some details about the Illinois 5K:

  • Registration information here
  • Located in Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • To be held on Friday, April 25, 2014
  • Start time is 7:30PM
  • Fee is $40
  • The race can be part of the I-Challenge
  • Here is the course map
Illinois 5K

Part of the 5K course

This race and the course is very beautiful and full of very friendly people. You will see a lot of families in the 5K with kids pumping a lot of excitement into the atmosphere. If you live anywhere near here (or even if you do not mind traveling), then you should definitely consider running the Illinois 5K. Probably the best thing about the Illinois 5K? The finish line is at the 50-yard line of the University of Illinois Memorial Football Stadium! That is a real thrill to run into a stadium and have so many people in there cheering you on – as well as the big screen with your video!

Getting There

The nearest airport is the Champaign, IL airport (CMI). AA flies regular flights into that airport out of Chicago (which is only 130 miles away). The closest major airport would be Indianapolis airport (IND) at 120 miles away. After that would be Chicago. Both times I went there, I flew into Indianapolis because rental cars were cheaper (than Chicago) and I did not have to deal with the traffic from Chicago. HOWEVER, if you do the same, just remember that Champaign is in the Central Time Zone while Indianapolis is in the Eastern Time Zone. So, when booking flights, ensure that you factor that missing hour into your travel plans or you will miss your flight!

Staying There

Being a college town, there is no shortage of hotel rooms. The task may be trying to find something that is the most convenient for you (and available at this point in the calendar). Trust me, the roads near the University will be packed around race time. The race starts not far from the same place where the expo, packet pickup, and pasta dinner are going on, so you will be competing with thousands of people for position before you even get to the starting line.

At this point, being so close to race weekend, point availability at hotels is rather slim. It appears that the best option would be the Wingate by Wyndham Champaign using 16,000 Wyndham points. Failing that, I would suggest using Barclay Arrival points and just booking at whatever hotel appears to be the best suited for you.


There are only a few places where I have visited again to run the same races. The Illinois race weekend is one of those events. If I had the opportunity, I would visit it yet again to run it. The 5K evening run is a fabulous event and one that can be made even better when married with a Saturday morning race to earn you the I-Challenge awards. With that, you will receive 2 t-shirts, medals (one for the 5K, one for the race on Saturday, and one for the I-Challenge itself) and a great time. I hope you are able to participate!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • My home town race!
    I’ll be running the “I-Challenge” again this year which includes this 5K+Half Marathon (you may do the full too). Feel free to contact me @palmerlaw if you plan to run and have any questions or can meet up! (We always tailgate on Saturday next to the finish line!)

    Mark Palmer