Serving the Goreville & Lake of Egypt areas since 1977

 

River to River Relay returns Saturday

Posted April 17, 2013 by Joe Rehana in News

Security to increase after attacks in Boston

Goreville will once again host exchange station number 12 on the River to River Relay racecourse as an estimated 257 teams pass through town Saturday to compete in the 80-mile trek that stretches from the Mississippi River to its finish in Golconda near the Ohio River.

Saturday’s race will see an increase in security measures after an attack at the Boston Marathon Monday killed three and injured 176 others in what law enforcement sources say was the worst attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.

“I think it’s completely appropriate that we recognize our running brothers and sisters,” River to River Relay Race Director Brad Dillard said.

Dillard said he and law enforcement agencies have already spoken about the safety concerns in light of the “tragic events” in Boston and additional precautions will be taken.

“We always have tremendous support from local law enforcements, both the Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police and I have been in touch … and we will take some additional precautions,” Dillard said.  “We are looking at some additional measures to make sure we have a safe and successful event on Saturday.”

The popularity of Southern Illinois’ River to River Relay provides for nation-wide attraction as its registration quickly fills within days of opening each year.  Runners from nearly every state in the Union are represented and Dillard said he would be surprised if there were no runners hailing from the Boston area this year.

“We know of one woman who was in the marathon, but we don’t know where she was in relationship to the finish line or the attacks,” Dillard said.  “We are always concerned with the safety of our athletes on the road and this year will be no exception.”

Dillard said the weather outlook for the weekend should provide for “good” running weather that may be “a bit warm.”  Thunderstorms are in the forecast for Thursday evening and that may cause some trouble at the starting line.

“We’ll have to keep an eye on that because across 80 miles of terrain, especially in the start and pre-start areas in the Pine Hills off of Route 3, those are on forest service roads that are completely surrounded by trees and at any given moment those trees are already leaning and they’ve been broken from previous storms,” Dillard said of keeping the course clear for Saturday.

Goreville Freedom Fest coordinators Tara Peas and Jason Beckmann welcome River to River Relay runners to Goreville with complimentary water and snacks during last years race to help promote Goreville’s July 4th 5K Freedom Run.  Beckmann said the table will return once again this year as more than 2,000 athletes are expected to travel through Goreville Saturday.

Goreville Freedom Fest coordinators Tara Peas and Jason Beckmann welcome River to River Relay runners to Goreville with complimentary water and snacks during last years race to help promote Goreville’s July 4th 5K Freedom Run. Beckmann said the table will return once again this year as more than 2,000 athletes are expected to travel through Goreville Saturday.

Goreville Freedom Fest committee said it will again host a table at the exchange to welcome athletes and help promote its 5K Freedom Run as they hand out water and snacks.  The exchange at the park will require motorists in the area to allow for extra time and extra precautions as runners make their way through town.

“Goreville always does an outstanding job of supporting the relay and we feel so fortunate to have it on the course and in the middle,” Dillard said.  “And they are always so welcoming to the runners and teams. It’s a great little city and a great exchange zone.”  Dillard added that most exchange zones are cramped and difficult to get support vehicles in and out.  “But to get to Goreville runners have to climb some of the toughest hills on the racecourse coming into Goreville,” Dillard said.

Dillard said he posted pictures of the climbs into Goreville on the River to River Relay’s Facebook page and they received responses varying from “Bring it on” to others joking about “dropping out.”

“It’s definitely a challenge going into Goreville,” Dillard said, adding that it is a beautiful part of Southern Illinois and that once runners complete the climbs into town they are met with a warm welcome from the people of Goreville.

“We’re all looking forward to it.”