The waters of the Fox River flowing by will be your constant companion along all of the 13.1 miles of the Aurora Half Marathon, 5K & 1-Mile Kids Fun Run, which makes its inaugural running in the mid-fall season here in this city that lies just a short drive from the nearby "Windy City."
Runners will follow an out-and-back route for the half marathon that takes them almost entirely along the Fox River Trail, a more than 30-mile system of paved biking, walking, running, cycling and inline skating trails that wind along the river between Algonquin at the northernmost point all the way south to Oswego at the southernmost point of the trail.
In between those two points, the trail offers plenty of riverside scenery between a number of small towns, as well as six bridge crossings over the river. Built on what was once the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin railroad line, the trail also is home today to plenty of wildlife, and runners may encounter anything from woodpeckers and herons to perhaps even a bald eagle if they're lucky.
As for the race itself, the half marathon -- like the 5K and the kids fun run -- starts and finishes next to the river along Galena Boulevard, just to the east of Aurora's downtown. From there, runners head across the river to its eastern bank and follow the Illinois Prairie Path trail for a little over a mile along the eastern side of the river; once runners reach the bridge at West Illinois Avenue, they make a left turn and cross back over to the western side, where they meet up with the Fox River Trail.
Once on the western side, the next stretch of the course unfolds along a long straightaway that winds along with the bends in the river, taking runners northward all the way up to the turnaround point at Quarry Park, near Batavia. Then, runners turn around and head back southward along the route they've just run, all the way back down along the river to the finish line area back on Galena.
Runners in the two competitive races will start 15 minutes apart from each other -- those running the half marathon start their race at 7:30 AM, while those in the 5K start at 7:45 AM. The Kids Fun Run starts at 9:20 AM, followed by the race awards ceremony at 10:30 AM.
Weather & Climate
Nestled in the northeastern corner of the state, just over 40 miles west of downtown Chicago, Aurora typically sees moderately cool to sometimes quite cold weather in November, when the city's average monthly temperatures range between 47°F and 28°F. On the day of the race (Nov. 6), the average high is 55°F and the average low is 33°F, while precipitation amounts average just under 3.2 inches for the month.
$60 for the half marathon, if registered by August 17, 2011
$70 between Aug. 18 - October 18
$80 between Oct. 19 - November 5
To reserve your spot in the fall 2011 running of Illinois's Alton Half Marathon, register online at Active.com.
Half Marathon Course Map
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