QC Marathon reaches 25th anniversary milepost

BETTENDORF – A new bridge. A new course. A new logo.

The TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon celebrated its 25th anniversary by making everything old seem new again Thursday, May 19, during a kickoff event at Bettendorf’s Crawford Brew Works.

However, with a renewed sense of vigor after COVID-19 impacted the last two events, founding Race Director Joe Moreno promised the same great time participants had prior to the pandemic during this fall’s festivities, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 24-25.

“It’s been a long winding road,” Mr. Moreno said after addressing those in attendance, including volunteers, sponsors, and the mayors of the four cities the race runs through annually. “But we’re still here to hit a great milepost.”

John DeDoncker, president of Midwest Division of TBK Bank, announces the bank’s commitment to be the Quad Cities Marathon’s title sponsorship for another five years at a news conference Thursday, May 19. CREDIT STEVE TAPPA

Along with unveiling details for this year’s event, Mr. Moreno and John DeDoncker, president of the Midwest Division of TBK Bank, also jointly announced the title sponsor had already renewed support for the five years following this fall’s festival of running. 

The current sponsorship deal was due to run out after the 2022 event. Financial details were not disclosed.

“We love this race,” Mr. DeDoncker said. “This is the 21st year for us as sponsor – and we continued to sponsor during the pandemic. So why would I in a million years want somebody else to step in our shoes? We’ve got a fabulous thing going.” 

Added Mr. Moreno, “The support we continue to get shows we’re still in it for the long run.” 

Thursday’s kickoff event also marked the official beginning of registration for the QC Marathon’s seven associated races:

  • The 26.2-mile marathon.
  • The Rock Valley Physical Therapy-sponsored marathon relay, which divides the full marathon course into varying lengths for a five-person team to tackle.
  • The 13.1-mile Mel Foster Company Half Marathon.
  • The Palmer Chiropractic Clinics 5K run/walk.
  • The Rudy’s Tacos 1-mile run/walk for prostate cancer.
  • The Happy Joe’s Kids’ Micro-Marathon, a non-competitive event for children.
  • The Orthopaedic Specialists Pump-N-Run, a side competition mixing weightlifting with one of the running events.

The 1-mile run/walk, Kids’ Micro-Marathon and the weightlifting portion of the Pump-N-Run are part of the events offered during packet pickup at the Active Endeavors Health & Fitness Expo on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Moline’s TaxSlayer Center. The other events are on Sunday, Sept. 25, with the marathon’s start/finish line on River Drive outside the arena at John Deere Commons.

Online registration is available at qcmarathon.org.

Because of the anniversary celebration, Mr. Moreno said, participants in the Sunday races will be rewarded with a post-race party and six perks – with the addition of a race beanie, race socks and race gloves along with the traditional mixture of a long-sleeve race shirt, finisher’s medal, and event poster.

The new logo – inspired by the new I-74 bridge – also is stamped on all sorts of other special merchandise, from leggings to bike jerseys, marking the event anniversary. 

Marathoners will be treated to a new racecourse, also thanks in part to the new Interstate 74 bridge crossing the Mississippi River to carry participants from Illinois to Iowa.

The biggest change is the traditional finishing kick of the marathon course on Moline’s River Drive – along Ben Butterworth Parkway — is now the first six miles of the race. 

That will allow marathoners to finish the same as half-marathoners – taking a right hand turn west toward the finish line for a short closing sprint when exiting Arsenal Island in downtown Moline – rather than turning east and away from the clamor of the biggest crowd for a punishing out-and-back finish.

“We used to tease them by showing them the finish and making them run more,” Mr. Moreno said. “Now, they get that big finish. I’m really excited about that because we’ve never done that for the marathoners.”

The Cornbelt Running Club and Davenport’s Fleet Feet store both offer marathon training programs that will begin in early June for different levels of runners. Registration begins soon at qcmarathon.org/training-programs.

Businesses also still have time to join a record number of sponsors for this year’s event, said assistant race director Laura Wittnebel.

Sponsorship starts as low as $100 for a specific mile marker, which she said is available up until the week of the race. However, the deadline is looming for more significant sponsors to be included on the 25th anniversary race shirt.

Businesses also can reach thousands of participants on race weekend, Ms. Wittnebel added, by registering to display their products and services at the Expo/packet pickup.

Mr. Moreno said businesses also can get into the action by sponsoring a team in the Necker’s Jewelers Corporate Challenge – or helping raise money for a worthy cause through the Charity Bib program.

The challenge is determined by the participation number in three categories – companies with 75+ employees; businesses with less than 75 employees; and non-profit organizations.

Eight local charities are currently involved, but Mr. Moreno said the “Run for a Reason” program needs to be better utilized and hopes it will grow this fall and in future years.

The revamped charity program offers a refunded registration fee to runners raising a minimum $400, with all of the money going to the charity of their choice. 

“There’s a lot of charities in the Quad Cities region that should be using us as a vehicle to raise money for themselves,” Mr. Moreno said.

More than 1,400 volunteers are needed throughout race weekend, so help is always necessary and appreciated, he added.

For more information, call 309-751-9800 or visit the event’s contact page at qcmarathon.org/contact

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