Author Archives: runtosucceed

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2017 Shawnee Marathon Recap

Team RWB Aid Station at mile 6.55

As many of you know by now, this was our second year of ownership of the Shawnee Marathon and we took away many unforgettable memories of the 2017 edition. Here is a recap of this year’s Shawnee Marathon. 

As before, we have the full Marathon and Half-Marathon option. We decided to add a 10K option as well this year in an effort to boost the turnout numbers. I thought the 10K went well and we will likely return that distance in 2018. This year’s event featured runners from multiple states including Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Washington, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Ohio, Colorado and New Mexico. We have had participants from other countries in the past, but not in 2017.

We will be running a series of poll questions in the near future on the Shawnee Marathon Facebook page. We are considering making some minor changes to a few things and would love participant feedback.  If you have the time, please respond to those poll questions as that will allow us to make a more informed decision.

As you know, we are a certified Boston Qualification course. It was exciting to see several qualifying times were posted this year. Congrats to those of you that qualified if you wish to pursue entry into the Boston Marathon. The qualifying times and registration process can be found by clicking here.

The 2017 Shawnee Marathon photos have been posted on the “Photos” page of the website. We have posted photos that we took, some that others took and have shared and also the link to the event photographer Jeff Jones’ gallery. If you haven’t already seen the official results, they are posted on the “Results” page. 

I was able to witness the joyful tears on the face of a participant who completed her very first Marathon followed by a hug from her friend who waited at the finish line. We saw the emotional moment of proud young children hanging a finisher’s medal around their Dad’s neck as he crossed the finish. As the Race Director, I was thrilled to see one of my employees, Michelle Pearl, complete the Half-Marathon that she had worked hard to achieve. We were able to witness Elizabeth Morgan and her rescue dog Bella complete the Marathon together at a great time of 4:03:20! You can find more about Bella’s story in previous blog posts on this site. 

One of the most exciting things that happened at this year’s Marathon was watching Dave Jones finish the race as he inches closer to setting a world record in the Guinness World Record history books. I was able to spend some time with Dave post race and learn more about his story. Dave is going for the “50 + 7” record. What does that mean you might ask? Dave is attempting to complete a Marathon in all fifty states as well as on all seven continents in a years time. In late January 2017, Dave became 1 of only 4 people in history to ever run official, public marathons on all 7 continents in less than 7 consecutive days (166 hours, 54 minutes, and 11 seconds to be exact)! Dave had to catch a flight out of St. Louis after the race because he was competing in another Marathon in Cape Cod, MA. the next day (10/29/17). You can read about Dave’s story by visiting his website at this link – Click Here.

The course records for the Marathon, both male and female, and Half-Marathon, both male and female, were broke this year. Congrats to the four of you on that accomplishment!

The 2018 edition of the race will be October 27th. Log it in your calendars now! We will soon be releasing the registration for 2018 and providing a discount code for this year’s participants. The Shawnee Marathon was named the fifth best road race in the State of Illinois in 2017. Together, we can grow it bigger and better in 2018 and maybe climb up that list a little further.

Elizabeth and Bella pre-race

Elizabeth and Bella post-race


Dave Jones finishing the Shawnee Marathon

Dave Jones and friends post-race

First Place Female Marathon – Hannah Erickson

First Place Male Half-Marathon – Janis Pastars, First Place Female Half-Marathon – Jane Bareikis, First Place Male Marathon – Arturs Bareikis (Pictured Left to Right)

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Packet Pickup info & Race Day App

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Packet Pickup info & Race Day App:

1. We have secured PawPaw’s Pizza in Harrisburg for the Friday evening packet pickup. Come check-in for the race and avoid the lines on Saturday morning and while you are there, enjoy a “carb up” meal on us. 
2. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure and download the “Athlinks Race Day” app on your smartphone. There you will find the course map, results live as they happen, event schedule, event announcements and more.
Other general information: We will have pizzas brought in throughout the race day for the participants like we did last year. We keep then coming at different times so that there is always a hot slice waiting for you when you finish.

“The heavy breathing will subside. The burn in your legs will fade. The blisters will heal. The pain you endured to reach the finish line is temporary—but your race results are forever.”

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Bella Morgan Running The Shawnee Marathon

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There are a lot things to be excited about for the 2017 version of the Shawnee Marathon. For me, being a second year owner of the Marathon race, what I am most excited about is Evansville, Indiana’s own Bella Morgan will be competing in the 26.2 mile Boston Qualifier course on October 28th.

Bella and her owner Elizabeth ran in the Shawnee Half-Marathon in 2016 with an amazing course time of 1:43:42. Definitely an achievement to be excited about. This year, Elizabeth and Bella decided to tackle the full Marathon distance and as the Race Director, my staff and I will do everything we can to make sure they are successful. The biggest feel good story with Bella is that she is a rescue dog. Bella’s story has been published in multiple different media outlets, but the one that best summarizes who Elizabeth and Bella are is from the article posted in Women’s Running magazine in May of 2017. This is the content of that article:


“My name is Elizabeth Morgan and I am an avid runner. I began running about 15 years ago as an effort to change my workout routine. Over time the time spent training increased and so did the racing distances. As more time was spent and as my confidence grew I started to focus on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The last four years were dedicated to this goal but after several failed qualifiers and numerous injuries I became somewhat tired and disillusioned. I struggled with what to do next. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon had been a major goal and as a very goal-driven person I needed to refocus. My passion for running had not burned out, but I needed to find a way to make it just for fun again.

All of my long training runs over the years took me out at odd hours and on country roads by myself. I enjoyed the runs but I never felt truly safe. I had sometimes thought it might be nice to have some sort of protection. A dog seemed a reasonable solution but my training schedule and intensity made it implausible at the time. With the longer training runs behind me and the need to find something new I started to research the best dog breeds to have as a training partner.

The amount of information available about dogs and running was daunting. The general theme was mid-to-large bodied dogs with lots of energy were the best fit. Of these, the labrador retriever seemed the best option. I had two young children and a lab’s temperament was generally good. Their energy level was high and they needed large amounts of exercise. They were large enough to scare away strangers but not so large they were uncontrollable. My dad had always wanted one so maybe that was a sign as well. With the decision seemingly made I needed to figure out where to get one.

It just so happened that on my very first online search the local Humane Society had just posted a picture of a black lab named Bella, up for adoption. I gathered up my kids and rushed downtown to meet her. Upon arriving and having her brought out I could tell she would be a good fit. She was full of energy and excitement, but we were second in line to adopt her. However, after three days we got some good news. The previous application had fallen through; after filling out some paperwork and waiting a few days for her to get fixed, we took her home.

She was only about six months old when we got her home. When she hit one I began to run her. I started out at a half-mile. I would go on a morning long run and after I was done I would come home, put her on a leash and run her for a half-mile cool-down. I slowly increased her mileage, using the rule for runners to only increase about 10 percent each week, and before too long she was running three, four, and five miles. As she built up her mileage I learned what she preferred and warning signs that she was getting tired. She ran in the grass on the side of the road to protect her paws. If her paws did get sore she would get time off or I would put a special ointment on them. I had to get a retractable leash to let her get to the grassy spots while I stayed on the road. After getting several ticks I had to add tick prevention to her flea medicine. She started runs in front of me and as she got tired would move to my side. When she started to fall behind I knew she was wearing down. Sometimes I could get a little boost of speed from her when I plead, “Run, Bella, Run!” Her black fur really soaked up the sun so I needed to run early in the morning or late in the evening, especially in summer. On longer runs I placed water bottles along the route so we could stop and have a drink.

It has been more than a year since our training began, and now I cannot imagine running without my loyal partner. She trains for races with me and when I can get permission she even runs the races with me as a participant. We train 35 to 40 miles per week and, to date, she has run five half marathons, one 10-mile race, one 8K, and four 5Ks. She loves the race atmosphere and likes to greet all the runners. When the race nears she sits patiently until the National Anthem plays and then she barks and starts jumping. She knows the race is getting ready to start. During the races she loves to have the volunteers hold the cups of water so she can get a drink. She helps me up hills when I yell, “Get me up the hill, Bella.” Most runners smile when they see her and many make statements that they are amazed she can run more than 13 miles. I have become accustomed to her, but I guess she is pretty amazing. Her best 5K was timed at 22:01 and her best half marathon is a 1:43.42.

When Bella is not running races or training with me she is a wonderful family dog. We consider her when we schedule events, let her have free reign of the house and probably pamper her too much. She plays with the kids, enjoys spending time with her cocker spaniel brother, Luke, and is always running around with something in her mouth.

To most people she seems like a normal family dog. Every morning she wakes me up, eager to go for a run. This keeps me motivated because I know she needs me. If I don’t run with her I pay for it later with some pretty mischievous behavior. We train in all seasons and in all weather conditions. Her favorite is to run in the rain and splash through the puddles. I think it keeps her cool. You can tell she really truly loves to run and because of this she has taught me how to love it again too. We keep in contact with the Humane Society and they have told me that due to her energy level, Bella would have most likely been adopted out a few times before being surrendered permanently and ultimately euthanized. So this story is one of a rescue and delivering lives from low points. I look back on that day I met her in the Humane Society and I am so thankful Bella and I rescued each other.”


Elizabeth is currently leading the “RUN Bella Run to the Rescue!” Campaign that has raised $2,500 for the Vanderburgh Humane Society. She hopes to raise $5,000 total before the Shawnee Marathon, which is Oct. 28, and present a check to the Humane Society on Oct. 26. On that same day, Bella will receive a proclamation from the City of Evansville to recognize her running and the money raised for the shelter.

Those wishing to donate can visit here.


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Uphill Climb

uphill-climbThe path to acquiring the Shawnee Marathon was an uphill climb to say the very least. 

As you have probably heard by now, the Shawnee Marathon is under new management for 2016 and moving forward. Run To Succeed Race Management and Timing Company and River to River Runners Timing Services have jointly taken over the race. In the interest of transparency with our participants, we want to share the journey that began during the Shawnee Marathon in 2015.

Both timing companies previously mentioned were booked to time the 2015 Marathon. We upheld our end of the deal. It was the first time out of the events three year history that either company was hired for timing services. It was instantly noticeable that the organization and management of the race was lackluster at best. Rebecca, who had been the race director from the beginning was difficult to find throughout the day when questions and/or needs arose. Several comments were made during the event that it was speculated she had left and went home.

We also learned that it was Rebecca’s intent to end her tenure as the Shawnee Marathon race director effective that day at the race conclusion. Rebecca was planning to move out of Illinois all together and inquired as to whether either timing company had an interest in taking over the marathon.

Once the race had concluded, Rebecca began providing us with all of the course marking signs, several cases of water, paper cups, several jugs of energy drink powder and more. At this point in time, neither company had agreed to take over the marathon, but it was blatantly obvious that she was finished with it and had no intent of a 2016 return.

After a few weeks had passed, we had still not received any form of payment for our timing services. The race was chip timed and there were multiple costs involved. I was able to make contact with Rebecca via telephone who had already moved to Texas by this time. She assured me that the payment would be placed in the mail the next time she went into town, which she stated would be the following Monday. Payment never arrived.

I again made contact with Rebecca who then informed me that she needed me to send a Paypal request for payment so that she could pay via credit card. I did as she requested and still never received payment. I sent the paypal request multiple times and invoiced her multiple times with past due notices all without response. After a combination of phone conversations, text messages and Facebook Messenger conversations, it became very clear that we were not ever going to get paid for our timing services.

During these same phone calls, Rebecca continued to mention the possibilities of one of our timing companies taking over the marathon for 2016. She even suggested that if we take over the management of the event, that she should receive gratuities moving forward for all of the hard work she put into the event over the years. Obviously, not going to happen!

After much deliberation, we strongly believe the region deserves a marathon and elected to jointly take it over and restore the integrity that the event and all of its participants deserve. We had heard stories about her mismanagement of the event money, multiple unpaid bills from the marathon, participants not receiving finishers medals they were promised and cash awards not getting paid, but decided that even though we were going to have some challenges, the race was worth moving forward on.

During our transition, we had discovered that Rebecca ran a marathon registration promotional discount for $26.20 and a half-marathon promotional discount for $13.10 in 2015 for the 2016 marathon race. We were informed that nearly 100 participants had taken advantage of that opportunity. When I asked Rebecca where the money was at from those registrations, she became angry and told me that she didn’t want us to take over the marathon any longer. Luckily, I was able to get the Shawnee Marathon domain name transferred over to my account before this occurred. We had also requested the list of participants multiple times, but were never provided with it. We were later able to acquire the list in full from Active, which is the platform she had used for the registration process.

Even now, as we are planning and organizing this years marathon, we are still learning of unpaid bills from last year. The porta potty provider was never paid; the Saline County Sheriff’s Department was never paid for traffic control; The Burg Cafe was never paid for the meals they provided the day before the race; several pieces of apparel, merchandise and giveaways were designed and never paid for; and the list goes on.

Despite all of the challenges we have faced, we are excited about the possibilities and looking forward to growing the marathon to new levels making it a nationally recognized destination race. We realize that we are not perfect and there will be some mistakes made. This is a transition year for us as we look forward to a fresh start in 2017 with no remnants of the previous race director and her lack of integrity remaining.  

We ask that you be patient and understand the hand that we were dealt. We are making every effort to make the Shawnee Marathon the premier marathon in the region.

Thank you! 

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Registration Information

We are only 4 days away from the 4th Annual Shawnee Marathon in beautiful Saline County! I hope you are as excited about it as we are. We wanted to pass along some registration information, locations and times so that the participants come prepared.

The half-marathon will begin promptly at 7:30 a.m. The full marathon will begin within a few minutes of the half. The start location is at Southeastern Illinois College located at 3575 College Road, Harrisburg, IL 62946. The college has indicated that they will have changing facilities available. There is plenty of parking at the college.

There will be two separate opportunities to pick up your shirt and bib number. We will have a table set up at the Burg Cafe on Friday night from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Burg Cafe is located at 9 E. Poplar St., Harrisburg, IL 62946. This is a perfect opportunity for you to “carb up” before the event! Did I mention the meal is on us?

You may also pick up your shirt and bib the morning of the race beginning at 6:00 a.m. It is important to remind you that the deadline to be guaranteed a shirt was October 12th. If you registered after this date, you will not be guaranteed a shirt. Extras were ordered, but again – no guarantees.

We will be offering donuts from Krispy Kreme in the morning. We will also have multiple rounds of pizza delivered beginning at 10:00 a.m. so that there will be fresh hot pizza throughout the late morning and afternoon for the participants. 

We are currently contending with a road closure issue that we were recently made aware of. There is a construction crew tearing out a bridge just before the half-marathon turn around point. This bridge is the only way across and the road is currently completely closed to all traffic. We are working diligently on resolving the issue and have been in contact with the engineer overseeing the construction. The hope is to be able to at least allow foot traffic across the bridge. 

We will have very nice participant medals being handed out as you cross the finish line. There are also cash prizes for the top 3 in the Marathon and top 3 in the Half-Marathon. Certificates will be handed out and payments will be made at a later time. The awards are as follows:

1st place Marathon – $500

2nd place Marathon – $300

3rd place Marathon – $200

1st place Half-Marathon – $250

2nd place Half-Marathon – $150

3rd place Half-Marathon – $100

As many of you know, the Shawnee Marathon is under new management for 2016. Run To Succeed Race Management and Timing Company and River to River Runners Timing Services have jointly taken over the race. We are excited about the possibilities and looking forward to growing the marathon to new levels making it a nationally recognized destination race.

There will be a follow up message about the route we had to take in acquiring the marathon as we feel it is necessary to be completely transparent with you the participants.

Good luck on Saturday!


We would like to thank all of our sponsors for making this happen. We cannot do it without you. They are Southeastern Illinois College, Saline County Tourism, Harrisburg Medical Center, Banterra Bank, Legence Bank, WalMart of Harrisburg, Krispy Kreme, Dominos Pizza, Southern Illinois Healthcare, SIH Rehab Unlimited, SIH Medical Group, Road Runners Club of America, Maier’s Tidy Bowl, Durham Hardware Store and the Burg Cafe.

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Marathon Update for 2016

The Shawnee Marathon is now under new management for 2016. Run To Succeed, LLC and River to River Timing Services have jointly taken over the event. Please be patient as we are working hard in making the transition as smooth as possible.

The path that was provided for us has been an uphill challenge, but we strongly feel that the Marathon is worth resurrecting and we will do whatever it takes to make it one of the premier events in the region and restore a positive image to the region.

This years event will take place on October 22nd!

Thank you for your patience and understanding! – Tim J.

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