Saturday temperatures dipped slightly from warmer weather, but that didn’t stop hundreds of excited runners from participating in the Annual Alton Half Marathon.
The event began at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater, where runners competed for best time, crossing the Clark Bridge twice before trekking alongside Berm Highway and then rounding back to the finish line.
Runners enjoyed panoramic views by the scenic river and by the middle of the run, the clouds had completely disappeared.
The race also featured a 5K run/walk that was open to family members of all ages.
Amber Simpson attended with her nieces and nephews.
“I’ve run about 15 or 20 of these,” she said. “It’s a fun way to exercise. I usually do them with family and friends. While many participants found the marathon to be a great way to help stay in shape, some of the runners were preparing for the future.”
Justin Lochmann, of Alhambra, placed first in the 5k at 23:19.
“I’m training for a half marathon in May in Indianapolis,” he said. “It’s one of the largest half-marathon events in the nation. But the Alton Half Marathon is starting to become fairly well known too, in its own right.”
Jason Chapman, Assistant Race Director, is a long-time supporter.
“This is our 6th year and it’s our biggest crowd ever,” he said. “We’re close to 500 runners combined in both the 5K and the half marathon. We have people coming from all over the country today – Tennessee, Iowa, even a few people from Puerto Rico.”
And even though this track is fairly flat, Chapman conceded it can still be challenging.
“The biggest challenge for this track is crossing the bridge, which is the only hill going back and forth,” he said.
Alton resident Dave Janet didn’t mind the bridge so much. He participated in the race last year but can’t remember running in such perfect conditions.
“I really like this track,” he says, still trying to catch his breath.
He placed first in the half marathon at 1:13:09 — beating his 2015 first place time by 46 seconds. “It was a little windy, but you really couldn’t ask for a better day.”