The Shawnee Marathon was named the 5th best road race in the State of Illinois according to “Best of Illinois”

Located in the heart of rural Southern Illinois, the Shawnee Marathon is the premier Marathon in the region. The event features a Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K distance. The Marathon course is a certified Boston Marathon Qualifier course.

What is the number one outdoor recreation tourist attraction in the State of Illinois? What do runners, walkers, hunters, fishermen, bicyclists, hikers, sightseers, birdwatchers, horseback riders, campers, families and other lovers of the great outdoors know that you might want to know about?

The Shawnee National Forest is the answer to both questions!

The Shawnee Marathon is nestled in beautiful Southeastern Illinois, Saline County, near the City of Harrisburg. The area is kown as the Gateway to the Shawnee National Forest. Perhaps, it is best known as being Garden of the Gods Country!

Once you’ve seen the Shawnee National Forest, the Garden of the Gods and other Saline County area natural wonders, you’ll never see Illinois the same way again. With its jaw dropping natural beauty, the area’s landscape is one of the most scenic areas in the midwest featuring sandstone rock formations, high vistas, rolling meadows, tall trees, acres of farmland, fresh air and just a serene overall atmosphere.

After completing the Marathon, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t travel the short distance to the Garden of the Gods (starting point for the Marathon), which features 320 million year old sandstone rock formations and inspiring views that will leave you with lasting memories.

RTS Sports (Run To Succeed Sports) took over ownership of the event beginning with its 4th annual in 2016. Our goal is to improve upon previous years, continue to grow the race and provide the best marathon in the region.

Since taking over the event, we have seen participants from 26 different states as well as the country of Japan. We have had the distinct pleasure of seeing many great accomplishments including being involved in a Guiness World Record and former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway has particpated in our event.

The Marathon and Half-Marathon are located in rural Southern Illinois. Therefore, we do the best we can with traffic control and numbers of aid stations working with the resources we have.

The course was changed beginning in 2018. The Marathon begins at Garden of the Gods and finishes in downtown Harrisburg. The Half-Marathon starts at Southeastern Illinois College and finishes in downtown Harrisburg. The 10K is an out and back course from downtown Harrisburg.

The Shawnee Marathon is a rural race offering something for everyone.

Check out the drone footage from the Garden of the Gods recorded by Matt Gholson