Frequently Asked Questions

When is it? Sunday March 17, 2019


What time does the race start? 8:35 AM


What is the distance? Half Marathon is 13.1 miles


Where does the race start/end? Cary Grove High School 2208 Three Oaks Road Cary, Il 60013


Where do I park? There is very limited parking at the High School & the adjoining Park District facility and both fill up FAST! Parking in the Church parking lot across the street is FORBIDDEN!!!! Don't even try, as you will be towed! There is also parking at the Cary Public Library further east on Three Oaks Road and is easily within walking distance from the start.


Where and what time does packet pick up open? Saturday, March 16th 10 AM – 4 PM at The Running Depot.. 30 North Williams St, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Sunday, March 17th (Race day) 6:30 - 8:00AM in the Cary-Grove Gym on race day. Packet pickup is in the High School Gym. Entrance is on the north side of the School across from the football field.


Is there Race Day Registration?? NO!!! Registration must be done in advance online.


What's the weather going to be like? This race has a 40 year history of weather being totally unpredictable! We have had bright sunshine and deep snow. Pack accordingly. The race has NEVER BEEN CANCELED due to weather so don't call.


Can I bring any of the following: Dog, Cat, Running or other strollers, rollerblades, bicycles, scooters or motorcycles? NO! Sorry these items are prohibited by our insurance carrier.


How many water stations will there be and where are they? We have 5 water stations. They will be located approximately every 2.5 miles over the entire course. Lemon Lime Gatorade followed by water at each station will be provided. Water will also be at the start and finish.


How quickly does the race fill up? In recent years, the race has filled very quickly. Registration could be closed in just a couple of hours. Do not delay registering at 6 AM on December 31! *What is the scholarship fund? To honor a former member, the Hillstriders Running Club sponsors the Distance Running Scholarship in memory of Fritz Kauffman for McHenry County High School Senior distance runners. In previous years, six $ 2,000 awards were awarded. A panel of judges are chosen from the Hillstriders Running Club membership to select our scholarship winners each year. These scholarships are designed to encourage excellence in our local youth athletes.


Who will get a trophy? Male and Female winners will receive a very cool trophy. The remaining Top Ten winners will receive a very cool plaque and Age Group winners (3 deep) will receive very cool medals.


Are there restrooms and showers available? There are very limited indoor restrooms in the school. There are also 'Porta-Pottys' in the school parking lot. Arrive early as they fill up fast. Sorry, no showers are available at the school.


Who are the Hillstriders? The Hillstriders Running Club was founded roughly 40 years ago. The Club consists of nearly 150 members, runners from around the McHenry County area. Our Club sponsors two events annually: March Madness and the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5k at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake. The Club encourages new members.


What can I drink? Anything but alcohol. Water and coffee will be available at the school before and after the race. CONSUMPTION OF ALCHOLIC BEVERAGES ON OR AROUND SCHOOL GROUNDS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. NO EXCEPTIONS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS WILL BE RELENTLESSLY ENFORCED. YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE OR REPORTED TO THE CARY P.D. OR BOTH.


What can I smoke? NOTHING!!!! You're a runner what are you thinking????? School District #155 has a strict SMOKE-FREE policy on school grounds. No smoking, of any kind, is allowed on District 155 property. This applies to all those in attendance including spectators. This means everyone. This will be aggressively enforced with fire extinguishers.


How will the results be tabulated? March Madness will use Lakeshore Athletics . You will be directed through a chute at the finish to be counted. Do not forget to pick up your results card in the gym after you finish. A link to results will be found HERE


What is a 'Bandit'? A 'Bandit' is someone or something that competes in a race without registering. People (?) that do this ruin the race for everyone else. If you are compelled to run without registering (paying), DO NOT RUN ANYWHERE NEAR THE FINISH LINE CHUTE!!! There will be a course clock for you to memorize your 'Bandit' time. We provide quality timing and scoring for the race and we don't want the actions of a few to screw results up for everyone else.


Will there be a Gear Check?? YES!! Gear check will be located in the school cafeteria and staffed by our friendly and ultra-efficient volunteers and it's FREE so be nice to our volunteers!!!!


Where are the Start and Finish lines? The starting line is on Three Oaks Road in front of the High School. The start is at 8:35AM sharp. Be there or be square. The finish is in the High School Parking lot adjacent to the football field. Runners will turn right (north) on First Street and then left into the school parking lot where the finish line is located.


How hard is the course? The course is 'world-renowned' for its hills. The March Madness Marathon Course has been dubbed the most challenging in Northern Illinois and an excellent training race for spring marathons. Difficulty will be determined by the individual runner's pace and threshold for pain. We strongly recommend that you train for this race on hills, both uphill and downhill. On a scale of 1 to 10, we rate this 8. This means the course is not flat!


In summary: Please do not smoke anything or drink alcoholic beverages on or around school grounds. This is of paramount importance as we enjoy the privilege of using Cary-Grove High School and their cooperation is essential to our being able to continue the race tradition. Please do bring your 'race-face' and pack for ANY WEATHER! Have a great race!