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CRANDIC on the run

Inaugural marathon supports Corridor school districts
Kids offer motivation during the RUN CRANDIC marathon on Sunday, April 29, in North Liberty. The city hosted the half marathon and designated its own cheer zone to boost runners’ spirits as they made their way along North Ridge Trail. The full marathon spanned from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City, with the proceeds going to Corridor school districts. (photo courtesy of RUN CRANDIC)

NORTH LIBERTY– In the calm morning hours of Sunday, April 29, a sea of over 1,200 people gathered on Landon Road in North Liberty, tightening their shoelaces and warming up in preparation for the journey ahead. The city served as host not only to residents of the Corridor area but also to people from across the U.S. as the RUN CRANDIC half marathon began.
Sponsored by the University of Iowa Community Credit Union (UICCU), RUN CRANDIC was conceived as an athletic and social event to bring the Corridor together. With the entire event spanning Cedar Rapids to Iowa City, North Liberty had the honor of hosting the half marathon kick-off, which began at 8:15 a.m. and attracted by the far the greatest amount of participants of the entire RUN CRANDIC event.
“This has definitely brought, in one day, the most diverse range of people through North Liberty,” said Jillian Miller, community engagement coordinator for the City of North Liberty.
“Between Think Iowa City, Go Cedar Rapids and Corridor Running, those partners created an event that could not only benefit Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and the beneficiaries of the school districts, but also help the town coming through just in awareness about who we are.”
The half marathon began at the UICCU Financial Center at 2355 Landon Rd. It took runners east on 270th Street NE, north on Jones Boulevard and around Liberty Center Pond, where Tin Roost had a special brunch for guests to cheer on runners as they passed. Participants merged with full marathon runners from Cedar Rapids as they ran the hills of North Liberty and Coralville before being greeted at the finish line by the Nile Kinnick statue at Iowa City’s historic Kinnick Stadium.
A hundred and forty-three North Liberty residents participated in the half marathon. North Johnson County was further represented by 27 Solon, 14 Swisher, eight Tiffin, seven Ely and three Oxford residents. The event saw participants from all over the U.S. gather in North Liberty, featuring runners from as far as Nevada, Texas, Florida and New York. An international presence also brought runners from as far as Canada, France and Italy to RUN CRANDIC.
Three North Liberty residents cracked the top 10 fastest times for their hometown half marathon: Timothy Doyle, 41, finished third; Matt Kuster, 29, was sixth and Eric Monahan, 32, finished tenth.
Cheer zone
The City of North Liberty readily embraced the inaugural marathon, designating a cheer zone north of Cherry Street on the lawn of the North Liberty Community Center. Participants were provided pom-poms, horns and noisemakers as well as supplies to make motivational posters in an effort to boost runners’ spirits as they made their way along the North Ridge Trail. North Liberty Fire Department (NLFD) Chief Brian Platz was also on hand for emergency medical needs while Lt. Tyson Landsgard of the North Liberty Police Department (NLPD) helped map the route and make sure there were appropriate police escorts.
“To have that many people from so many different areas all passing through North Liberty in a short period of time, in one day, we definitely have our name more known to people farther out from just around this Corridor area,” Miller said. “We were very proud to have the half marathon starting here and having it take such a fun route throughout North Liberty.”
Several hundred locals came out to the cheer zone, greeting about 2,200 runners.
“It was just a fun atmosphere, and the runners really appreciate that extra boost of energy, especially after coming from a very unpopulated Highway 965 coming south,” Miller said.
Reception to the city’s role in the marathon has been overwhelmingly appreciative.
“We couldn’t have been more proud of North Liberty in this event,” praised Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. He went on to credit the city’s Communications Department, police department and fire department for their roles. “There have just been rave reviews over the way North Liberty turned out to champion all the runners in the half and the full marathon.”
Runs and results
RUN CRANDIC consisted of three runs total. In addition to North Liberty’s half marathon, a full marathon began at 6:30 a.m. at the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids. It followed the CRANDIC train line along Highway 965 through Swisher and joined the North Liberty run into Coralville. Forty-one North Liberty residents ran the full marathon.
For those seeking a more merciful challenge, a 5K began at 9:30 a.m. at Northwest Junior High in Coralville. All three runs concluded at Kinnick Stadium with a post-party at Big Grove Brewery & Taproom in Iowa City, presented by Corridor Business Journal.
“I think it exceeded expectations in just about every area,” said Shamberger, noting the long road that made RUN CRANDIC possible. Discussions lasted well over a decade until things finally aligned last year between Secondary Roads, Linn and Johnson counties and local police departments to make the event a reality.
For its first year, organizers estimated only about 300 participants for the full marathon and 500 for the half marathon. However, RUN CRANDIC featured 740 marathon runners, 1,255 half marathon runners and 692 5K runners, for a total of 2,687 participants who completed their respective runs, according to its website.
“Being a first-time event, we weren’t sure what to expect,” Schamberger confessed. “So to have it end up with over 3,400 registrations that represented people from over 31 states and three countries, that’s a big success.” 
Schamberger noted the rising national popularity of marathons as a driving force.
“A lot folks around the country just love to run in inaugural marathons and see a new race, a different part of the country,” he remarked, citing a group from Burlington, North Carolina that placed RUN CRANDIC at No. 47 on their list of marathons to run in all 50 states.
All proceeds from RUN CRANDIC will be split between the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) and Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) in support of health and wellness programs. While the total proceeds have not been released yet, they are anticipated to have far exceeded expectations.
“We originally budgeted, and it was our hope that this entire event would generate about $20,000 in its first year. I’m pretty confident that we’ll be far surpassing that, and I think we’ll be more than doubling that, possibly even tripling those contributions,” Schamberger said, citing the UICCU and the City of North Liberty’s support as essential to the success.
“I think the attendance here is evident to it being far more popular than we thought, and certainly all of the runners in the area that we aligned ourselves to plan this race, it exceeded their expectations as well,” he added.
High-quality photography from the event is available for free download on the event’s website, runcrandic.com and video footage shot throughout the races has also been posted on social media.
Looking ahead, the plan is to alternate the RUN CRANDIC course each year. While a date has yet to be pinned down, 2019 is expected to see the marathon start in Iowa City and head north to Cedar Rapids. The half marathon and 5K will take place in Cedar Rapids.