The First Rend Lake Marathon Will Help Celebrate Rend Lake’s 50th Year

St. Louis District
Published March 23, 2022

Benton, IL - Bringing together runners from twenty different states is no easy task! Many partners and running organizations have teamed up to host the River to River Runners Rend Lake Marathon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake in partnership with the River to River Runners, the Road Runners Club of America, Rend Lake Conservancy District, and Ashworth Awards will host the race on Saturday, March 26. The River to River Runners Rend Lake Marathon event is excited to bring back the Southern Illinois favorite running tradition to the backroads, trails, and through beautiful Rend Lake. The event will include races and festivities for everyone in the family.

According to the Vice President of the River to River Runners Stephanie Page, this is the first club marathon in more than 30 years and there has been no detail left out in planning.

“We are so excited to welcome runners from over twenty different states to our race! We hope to make this an annual event with families coming back year after year. We want to make everyone feel welcome and help them achieve their goals of running a marathon or half marathon. We want you to feel like family from the very beginning of arriving at Rend Lake all the way through to when you cross the finish line of the race,” Page said.

Runners can sign-up for one of three races: 9 a.m. marathon, 9:30 a.m. half-marathon, or the 10 a.m. quarter-marathon. In addition to being the first marathon ever held at Rend Lake, this race will coincide with the Rend Lake 50th Anniversary, be a Boston Marathon 2023 qualifier, and is pending an official USA Track and Field certificate. USA Track and Field is the United States national governing body for the sports of track and field, cross country running, road running, and racewalking.

Runners will enjoy many unique experiences at this marathon.

“Rend Lake is located in the heart of southern Illinois, acts as a natural haven for wildlife and a recreation haven for visitors. We hope to showcase all that Rend Lake and the surrounding area has to offer and make this a destination race for many families. The central location of Rend Lake helps bring people from Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky and farther to our area. We are so happy to host it at Rend Lake, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the lake. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been so welcoming to us.  We could not be happier to form this relationship and bring over 300 people to the region. We hope to continue the marathon for years to come,” Page said.

In its 50-year history, this is the first marathon Rend Lake has hosted, and one of the only Boston Marathon qualifying races in Southern Illinois. Participants in this historic race will be treated to a one-of-a-kind course that takes athletes across Rend Lake where they will enjoy one of the best panoramic views in Illinois. The course then connects to the bike path, which passes South Sandusky Beach, the Marina, Rend Lake Visitor Center, the amazing spillway and dozens of other spectacular views of Rend Lake. From there, athletes will continue on country roads winding through beautiful vistas including both Lake Hamilton and Lake Benton.

Finally, runners will get back on the bike path at the stunning North Marcum Beach area and pass through the new Rend Lake Mountain Bike Trails and North Marcum Archery Complex before returning to the Rend Lake Golf Course for the spectacular finish. 

“Having a Boston Marathon certified course guarantees that the marathon course has been properly measured by an experienced measurer. This in turn gives local runners the opportunity to qualify for and run the coveted Boston Marathon. Previously, runners would have to travel to Cape Girardeau, Belleville, or St. Louis to find a Boston Marathon qualifier,” Page stated.

With the excitement building, everyone involved with this event is looking forward to a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. Watching this event evolve from an idea into reality has proven to be ultimately very gratifying. We look forward to the race on March 26th and to many more partnerships supporting public health and well-being.

For more information or to register for the River to River Runners Rend Lake Marathon, please visit

Jackie Taylor

Release no. 22-026