Great Western Half Marathon

Sunday, May 5, 2019 • St. Charles, IL • Course Map

Set to mark its 22nd anniversary — and its 14th annual running with the 13.1-mile half marathon distance — in the late spring of 2019, the Great Western Half Marathon takes runners on a USATF-certified point-to-point course (out and back before 2016) along the local trail that shares the same name, St. Charles’s Great Western Trail.

Mostly flat, and with a mixture of paved surfaces and crushed limestone, the course runs along what was once a railroad and features a panorama of views along the way, from developed residential and commercial areas to wide open fields, marshes and wetland areas.

Formerly a 30K road race, the Great Western was changed to a half-marathon in 2005 by the local running club that organizes it each year, the Fox River Trail Runners club.

Its starting area lies at the Great Western Trail at Sycamore Speedway. After taking off from the starting line, runners follow the winding park road along the Great Western Trail, a mostly flat, asphalt course, with support stations and forest views along the way.

The event’s finish line lies at St. Charles’s Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve, a 264-acre park that was once a working farm and now is home to plentiful hiking, biking and horseback riding trails among its acres and acres of woods, wetlands and prairie lands.

The race, which is run in part to benefit the Special Olympics, is open to a maximum of 1,200 entrants to ensure that the trail doesn’t get too crowded during the event and to allow every participant, volunteer and spectator an enjoyable race experience.

It’s also open to runners only, and they are expected to keep at least a 13-minute, 44-second pace in order to finish by the time the race course closes at 11:00 AM.

A stretch of the Great Western Trail in Kane County, Illinois. (Photo by Ryan Afflerbaugh/flickr)

A stretch of the Great Western Trail in Kane County, Illinois. (Photo by Ryan Afflerbaugh/flickr)

Race Weather & Climate

Nestled in the outer metro area suburbs almost due west of downtown Chicago, St. Charles enjoys early spring weather that tends to be mild to moderately cool and sometimes quite chilly in May, a month that has brought record temperatures here as low as 28 degrees (in 2004) and as high as 92 degrees (in 2006).

On race day (May 5), the average low is 44°F and the average high is 66°F.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Great Western Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

8:00 AM


  • $40 – $100


To reserve your spot in the late spring 2019 running of St. Charles’s Great Western Half Marathon, register online at here.

Official Race Website

Facebook Conversations

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See more races in: May, Illinois

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