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New Naperville Marathon to be qualifying race for Boston Marathon

Runners take off 15th annual Naperville Turkey Trot Thursday Nov. 22 2012. | Mike Mantucc~ For Sun-Times Media

Runners take off in the 15th annual Naperville Turkey Trot on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 15, 2013 11:30AM

They’ll be running through the streets of West suburban Naperville.

The 2013 inaugural Naperville Marathon is scheduled for next fall on Nov. 10, and will be a qualifying race for the famous Boston Marathon. While Naperville enthusiasts have kicked around the idea for years, Kris Hartner, owner of the Naperville Running Company, said “somebody needed to come forward and take charge.”

“The guys running this have organized the Fox Valley Marathon, which runs through St. Charles, Batavia and Geneva, and they know what they’re doing,” Hartner said. “I met with them this week as we plan to be one of the sponsors. A lot of people have talked about this for years, and it’s going to be exciting.”

Hartner said one of the challenges of hosting a marathon involves “creating a course that works” and also holding the race within the framework of the city, given traffic issues and existing schedules.

Bob Hackett, 57, of St. Charles, is one of a five-member team representing Naper Events LLC, which is putting together the race, which will be capped at 4,000 runners. Hackett agreed that scheduling conflicts within the city’s agenda is a major obstacle.

“We tried to do this in 2012 and got involved a little too late,” he said. “The city of Naperville has just a crazy calendar of events, and we had to sit down and coordinate something that worked. The special events group there and the City Council were just outstanding and went out of their way to work with us.”

The race will feature both a full and half marathon and take place on the south end of the city. The course will start near 95th Street and Book Road and continue through streets into the Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve before returning to the streets and neighborhood paths to finish near the starting point.

Hackett promises the race will provide a “fast course.”

“Given that it will be fall, there won’t be heat issues to contend with, and the course will be relatively flat with a good surface,” he said. “Those things make for a fast time, and people can use this race as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.”

Hackett said the Fox Valley Marathon has attracted runners from all over the country in the past and believes the Naperville race will do the same.

“These races add to the local economy as participants visit the hotels and restaurants, and we find that Realtors love them, too,” he said. “People will get to see the community and all the things Naperville has to offer. Realtors tell us people see these places and some decide they’d like to move there.”

Mayor A. George Pradel said the city is excited about hosting the event and agreed it will provide an economic boost for local hotels and restaurants.

“Naperville is the ‘the city that runs,’ and you see people running everywhere you go,” Pradel said. “You look at the participation we have here for something as small as the ‘Turkey Trot’ and it’s just incredible. Chicago has its own marathon, and we can definitely handle one here in Naperville as well. We’re thrilled to host this, and it’s going to entice people to visit our community and its businesses.”

Hartner said a few of his staff are primed to compete.

“One of our staff was the No. 2 runner from Illinois in the Chicago Marathon,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of pretty good guys that work here.”

Registration for the race will open on Jan. 28, 2013.

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