Community

Monica Nieves getting revved for first Cedar Rapids to Iowa City marathon

What they're thinking: April 29 race will go from NewBo to Kinnick Stadium

Monica Nieves, director of special events for the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, is race director for the first Run CRANDIC marathon, half-marathon and 5K race scheduled for April 29. (Submitted photo)
Monica Nieves, director of special events for the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, is race director for the first Run CRANDIC marathon, half-marathon and 5K race scheduled for April 29. (Submitted photo)

Back in September, officials from Linn and Johnson counties announced the Run CRANDIC marathon, half-marathon and 5K race between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Scheduled to take place April 29, the race is now just eight weeks away.

The marathon starts at the NewBo City Market, the half-marathon starts in North Liberty, and the 5K starts in Coralville. All of the routes end at Kinnick Stadium, with on-field access to the south end zone.

Monica Nieves, director of special events for the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, is serving as race director for Run CRANDIC.

She is working closely with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, Corridor Running Club and GO Cedar Rapids to bring the inaugural race weekend to fruition.

Q The race is less than 60 days away. What’s your level of excitement right now?

A We are really excited. We’ve had a huge response. As of this morning, we’re at almost 2,000 total people registered between the three distances. Our response has been huge. Our communities are really excited about it.

Q Where are the runners from?

A I think one of the most exciting things is there’s one person from France, one person from Spain and people from 29 states represented. That is one of the most exciting things to me, that all of these people are coming to run our first ever marathon. They’ll get to see some of the greatest places in the Corridor that Sunday evening.

Q What kind of work goes into planning a marathon?

A First of all, we’ve worked really closely with the public safety officials everywhere. Without the support of the Cedar Rapids police and fire departments, Swisher Fire Department, Johnson County Sheriff ... this really wouldn’t be happening.

This has been talked about, I believe, for 15 years. This is the first year the stars aligned and there was no construction on Highway 965 because that’s the only route you can take safely. We also have great partners in the Corridor Running Club that have given us their expertise.

Between the five runners we have on our committee, they have run 1,900 races.

So we have some real experts telling us and informing us what we need at our aid stations, what the best flavor of Gatorade is and what’s going to set us apart from every other marathon weekend to draw runners to our communities.

Q What should participants and spectators be looking forward to?

A I think they should look forward to a real celebration of the Corridor. We’re really excited because we’ve had such a great response from the surrounding communities.

Swisher is getting really involved. North Liberty is really involved. Coralville is really involved. We’re really looking closely with everyone along the route to make it a great experience.

Q What kind of events are happening marathon weekend?

A So, Saturday at NewBo in Cedar Rapids, we’ll have a huge party. We’ll have bands. There will be some kids’ activities. There will be an expo for runners. We want everyone to come. Everyone in town should be there.

Sunday, we’ll kick off the run in Cedar Rapids and end in Kinnick Stadium, which should be really exciting.

We’ll have another huge celebration at Big Grove in Iowa City on Sunday afternoon. Everyone is invited to come celebrate this huge event.

Q Can people still sign up?

A Yes! Registration officially closes on April 25. You can register, and get more information, at runcrandic.com.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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