Moonlight Marathon at Oak Ridge Cemetery

2015 Results

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2015 Moonlight Marathon at Oak Ridge Cemetery Commercial

Thanks to the impressive turnout from last year more awards are provided for the 5k, Quarter Marathon (6.55), and Half Marathon racers. 

All 5k participants will now receive a Finisher Medal thanks to HSHS St. John’s Hospital.

September 17th, 2016

Based on your feedback and the opportunity to make the events better we have moved the Moonlight events to September 17th.  This new date will provide more darkness for all distances, avoid city conflicts, allow us to offer cheaper hotel rates near the start line and make for a bigger and better event.

We look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Registration is now open.  To be guaranteed a shirt you must register by 11:59pm on Sept. 11th.  On-line registration will close on Sept. 15th.  There will be registration at the Friday and Race day packet pickups  but you are not guaranteed a shirt.

Looking for something different?

How about running through an historic, 160 year old cemetery at night on a fully supported, closed road course that you can run solo or with your friends and family and with the goal of finishing your adventure closest to midnight.

The evening of Sept. 17th 2016 will be the 3rd year of the Moonlight Marathon at Oak Ridge Cemetery.  On that night, you will have the option to run a Full marathon, Half marathon, Marathon Relay, Quarter Marathon (6.55 mile) or 5k courses under a crescent moon and in the shadow of Lincoln’s Tomb.

Final details are worked out and include a scenic yet challenging course, on course support, glow necklaces, custom race shirt, unique awards applicable to the venue, surprise Finisher Medals/Memento Homemade food, chocolate milk and other drink for all runners and of course the moonlight and venue.

For those 21 and over free beer is available after your event from our friends at Obed & Isaac’s.  Please be responsible after your endeavor.

Come be part of history and the Lincoln lore, run in the moonshadow of Lincoln’s tomb and through 160 years of history. Organizers want to let the public know about this exciting, first ever event occurring in 2014, 2015 and beyond so please spread the word, there is a distance for everyone.

Runners embark on their adventure from the lagoon bridge near the Lincoln Park Pavilion at  5:00 p.m. and beyond, entering the cemetery through the currently closed Original Entrance on 3rd Street where almost 150 years ago President Lincoln’s body passed en route to his final resting place in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Participants will then navigate the course while passing through the beautiful yet haunting statuary and among the astounding history of the nation’s second most visited cemetery.  Racers must wind their way back to the finish/exchange area using the moon, a headlamp, route reflectors and course volunteers.

All 5k runners start at 7:00pm and run the courses for the fastest time with overall awards going to the top 3 male and females. Awards will also be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and female in the 39 and under age group and 40 and over age group.

The Quarter Marathon (6.55-mile) racers start at 7:30pm and run the courses for the fastest time with overall awards going to the top 3 male and females. Awards will also be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and female in the 39 and under age group and 40 and over age group.

The Full marathon and Marathon Relay runners can choose to begin any time after 6pm with the goal of finishing closest to midnight but without the use of any GPS, phone or timing device.

These are both prediction runs and speed does not guarantee hardware, skill, cunning and the luck of finishing nearest to Midnight guarantees hardware.

The Half Marathon runner’s will begin at 6:30 pm so they can get one lap in twilight and one lap in darkness.  This will be a chip timed race with overall awards going to the top 3 male and females.  Awards will also be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and female in the 39 and under age group and 40  and over age group.

These unique night time road runs are being hosted as a fundraiser for the Oak Ridge Cemetery Foundation projects and to provide a unique chance to run at night in the cemetery in a controlled, safe environment with safety and race personnel on site.  The Oak Ridge Cemetery Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

On-line registration is open with the links at the top and bottom of this page. Keep an eye on the website, FB and emails from for emerging details and the latest updates.

All participants must sign waivers to be allowed on the course. Food and drink for spectators can be purchased at the park pavilion.

Fees are at their lowest now through July 31st:

Through Jul. 31st                                                           Aug.1st  through Race day

5K    –                       $28                                                                         $38

Quarter Marathon $40                                                                          $50

(1 6.55 mile loop)

Half Marathon      $60                                                                             $70

Marathon-              $75                                                                            $90

Marathon Relay    $220                                                                       $260

(2-4 runners)


Stuff We All Get (SWAG)

So Far……

Each participant in the 5k fun/run receives on-course support, a gender specific race shirt, finisher memento “to raise the dead”, food and drink in the Lincoln Park Pavilion after the race with music.

All Quarter Marathon (6.55 mile), Marathon Relay (up to 4 runners), Half Marathon and Marathon participants will each receive on-course support, a gender specific race shirt and food and drink in the Lincoln Park Pavilion after the race with music and a Finisher Medal.

The Moonlight Marathon Course is a chip timed 6.55 mile loop (4 loops) lined with reflectors, cones and route arrows to guide you along the roads of Oak Ridge Cemetery.   The course will open at 6pm for individuals and relay teams with a finish goal of 12 midnight.  The latest time a runner can begin the marathon is 9pm.  PLEASE NOTE: As this is a loop course, no participant will be allowed to start a new loop after 11:20pm.

All Marathon (4 loops), Half Marathon (2 loops) and Marathon Relay (4 loops) participants must provide their own headlamp, flashlight or knuckle light and wear the race provided glow necklace at all times.

Prediction Marathon/Relay

Beware: this may be the most challenging marathon course in the nation!  But, take whatever time you need to cover the distance because your time on this race does not matter!  Slower runners and even walkers have a chance of winning this event because all that matters is finishing closest to midnight without going over.  The majority of the race is on paved roads that wind, meander, climb and descend in one of the most beautiful venues you can imagine. However, please keep in mind that runners will be immersed in total darkness with only their headlamp, course reflectors, cones, route arrows and volunteers to guide them through the cemetery.  The only traffic on the course will be course monitors and bike safety patrol.

Marathon participants choose their own starting time based on the predicted pace with a finish time goal of midnight on Sept. 17th.  Teams of 2,3 or 4 people choose their own starting time based on the predicted pace with a finish of midnight.  The course will be open at 6pm for individuals and relay teams but the latest time a relay or marathoner can begin is 9:00pm.  Relay participants will run with a baton with the timing chip attached which will be handed to the next runner at the lagoon bridge exchange area.  The loss of the baton and timing chip means no time is recorded.

The course closes at 1:00am and anyone still on the course at that time will be directed back to the finish area.  All runners are guaranteed an official chip time until 1:00am. At that time the clock will be turned off and runners will be escorted to the Finish Line. If a marathoner or relay member has not started their last loop by 11:20pm, they will be stopped from starting it.

Fluids and fuel appropriate for a Marathon will be provided at the aid stations and will include, water, Gatorade, ice, gels, bananas, oranges, chips, pretzels, chicken broth at dusk, bacon, candy and much more.  These stations are accessed by all runners several times on the loop but all fuels will be held for Marathoners.

Overall awards to the top 3 male and female runners and awards to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and female in the 39 and under age group and 40 and over age group.

Half Marathon

The Half Marathon is a chip timed race beginning at 6:30 pm.   It consists of two loops of the 6.55 mile course and runners should expect a twilight loop and a total darkness loop.  Headlamps, flashlights or knuckle lights are required and should be used and the glow necklace must be worn while on the course.

Overall awards to the top 3 male and female runners and awards to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and female in the 39 and under age group and 40 and over age group.

Quarter Marathon (6.55 mile)

 The Quarter Marathon (6.55 mile) race is one loop of the marathon course and is chip timed with overall awards to the top 3 male and female runners and awards to the 1st place male and female finishers.  Start time is 7:30pm.  Awards will also be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and female in the 39 and under age group and 40 and over age group.

5k Fun/Run Walkers and Runners

The 5k course consists of a scenic route that is beginner friendly; it will be  chip timed.  Start time is 7:00 pm. 

Awards will be given to the top 3 male and female runners.   Awards will also be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and female in the 39 and under age group and 40 and over age group.

All entrants receive a finisher medal.  For safety reasons, any walkers are asked to line up behind the runners.

 Course Rules

This event is managed by a Road Race of America ( RRCA) Certified Race Director and thus adheres to all RRCA rules. It is your responsibility to know all the rules relative to your race.  Please visit for more information.

All participants are expected to know their course.   There will be several races occurring simultaneously so it is imperative to know your course for a enjoyable, successful night run.

Maps for both courses are provide on the website.  There will be current maps displayed at both packet pickups for your review and questions.

No IPods, MP3 players or listening devices of any kind will be allowed on the course for safety of the runners.  No watches, phones or GPS devices will be allowed on the course.  Cell phones can be carried but only for emergency purposes – not to check time.  No spectators or well-wishers will be permitted on the course. Relay runners, their families/friends are not permitted to exchange time or pace information with runners during the race.  No warming up or cooling down will be permitted on the actual race course.

Course Navigation  – Your Mantra is Run on the Left and Follow the Blue Reflectors on Your Left

You are expected to know your course.  Please review the course maps before the event.

All participants will follow the 600+ blue reflectors which will be placed on the left side of the course at approximately 3-4 foot high.  You will run on the left side of the roads which will be closed to traffic.  Orange Cones, yellow high visibility route arrows and volunteers will direct you along the course as well as the 3 inch blue reflectors.

There will be no mile markers and volunteers will not provide mileage or time of night due to nature of prediction runs.

Well lighted bicyclists will be on course traveling in the correct direction for safety, guidance and communication to Race Director.  Medical staff will also be on the course and an ambulance is on call if needed.

Your Mantra is Run on the Left and Follow the Blue Reflectors on Your Left. Do not run through cones or caution/keep out tape.   Run along reflectors, arrows, cones and tape and never go of the roads or through gravesites.   

The Courses

5K Course

Quarter Marathon (6.55 Mile Loop)  ( Marathon = 4 loops, Half Marathon = 2 loops)

Moonlight Marathon Map

Please check out the link below for Oak Ridge Cemetery Photographs

Moonlight Marathon Oak Ridge Cemetery Photo Gallery

“On May 14, 1856, an ordinance was passed forbidding the further establishment of burying grounds within the city of Springfield. A tract of land containing twenty-eight and one half acres, lying two miles north of the Capitol, was purchased by the City, for the establishment of a Cemetery, adequate to the necessities of the growing city, and sufficiently remote from the business center and every – day life to render a fitting abode to the dead.”  (Oak Ridge Cemetery Records)

Since 1865, the cemetery has grown to be the largest Municipal cemetery in the state of Illinois, encompassing 365 acres of beautiful rolling prairie land, thousands of hardwoods and conifers, and over 75,000 interments. Oak Ridge Cemetery has the distinction of being the second most visited cemetery in the nation, second only to Arlington National Cemetery.  Almost one million visitors enter these gates annually not only to pay respects to their deceased families and ancestors, but to also visit the final resting place and pay homage to our distinguished sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln.  However, none of them have the opportunity to visit the cemetery at night…

Overall Awards & Finisher Medals

Overall Awards will be given to the top 3 male and 3 female individuals in the Marathon finishing closest to midnight.

Overall team awards in the  Marathon Relay will be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams with each team member receiving an award.   Since the winning teams are determined by those finishing closest to midnight, there is only one team category.  Teams can be all one gender or unisex.

Overall Awards will be given to the top 3 male and 3 female individuals in the Ultra Marathon based on fastest time.

The top 3 male and female finishers in the 5k, 6.55 mile run and Half Marathon will receive Overall Awards based on fastest times.

A finishers medal will be provided to all those in the Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay,  Quarter Marathon (6.55 mile) run and 5k.



Finisher Medal for the Moonlight Marathon at Oak Ridge – yes it Glows in the Dark

 Award Ceremony Times

Here are the proposed award ceremony times for all distances. These are approximate times and subject to many on the spot influences that may alter the proposed time.  Bottom line be flexible, have some food and a beer and don’t remind the Race Director about stated time.

Be aware, many races are occurring simultaneousy and we try to wait for all the runners in their race/distance to finish out of respect to their efforts and no awards will be given out early or mailed.   We value the fastest and slowest runners the same amount.

5k –  8:00pm

6.55 – 8:30pm

Half Marathon  – 8:45pm

Marathon and Marathon Relay – Midnight

Ultra Marathon – Midnight to 1:00am

Packet Picket and Start Location

Race Day packet pickup and race headquarters are located in the Lincoln Park Pavilion at 1601 N. 5th 62703.  The runs take place in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield Illinois. 1441 Monument, Springfield, IL 62702

There will be a packet pickup on Friday May 8th at Sports Authority on 3211 S. Veterans Drive 62704, in Springfield from 4:00pm – 6:30pm.  Come visit the store and get all your last minute run needs.  Sports Authority will be providing coupons and many surprises.

Packet Pickup will also be on Saturday May 9th.   You can pick up your packet at the Pavilion beginning at 3:00pm – 7:00pm.   5k and 6.55 milers are encourage to arrive early for packet pickup.


Parking is available at the  Nelson Recreation Center lots and along the park roads. If you park in the roads please place half of the vehicle on the grass and half on the road. You can also park at the picnic shelter which has restrooms.


Chip timing will be provided for all Ultra, Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, 6.55 mile and 5k runners.


All ultra, marathon, marathon relay, half marathon and 5K Dark participants are required to wear a headlamp, carry a flashlight or use a knuckle light while they run.  Glow stick necklaces will be provided to all runners for safety and identification purposes and must be worn at all times.

You will be running or walking in a 160 year old cemetery with limited ambient lighting.  This should not be an issue for the 5k Early and 6.55 mile participants.

This will be an issue for all 5K Dark, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Full Marathon and Ultra runners. Therefore, you will not be permitted to enter the course without a lighting device provided by you  and glow necklace provided by the race.  There is no exception to this rule.

First Aid and Course Patrol:

First aid and course security will be provided on course until 1:00am.  At that time all remaining runners will be escorted to the park pavilion.

Aid Stations:

Water and sports drink ( Gatorade) will be provided at all 3 aid stations.  Chicken broth will be provided at night and gels, candy, potatoes in salt, bacon, mini sandwiches, pretzels and chips will be available for the longer distance runners.  Due to the course layout two of the aid stations can be accessed several times.  Runners will hit the aid stations at the start/finish and approximately miles 1, 2, 4, 4.5 and 5.


Restrooms are located at the Park Pavilion and the start/finish area. A on course porta john is located at mile 4, 4.5 and 5.  Restrooms are also located in the picnic shelter parking area and inside Nelson Center.

Post Race Refreshments:

Post race food and drinks will be free to all ultra, marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 6.55 and 5k runners. You must present your bib to receive food and drink.  Food will be available until 2:00am. There will be limited amounts of food and drink for sale at the park pavilion for non-paying youths and spectators.



Race Policies

You must have and present a photo id to register in person and to pick up your packet. NO ID, NO RACE PACKET, NO EXCEPTIONS.

No listening devices of any type will be permitted on the course.  If you choose to sneak a listening device onto the course and it is discovered your chip will be removed and you will be disqualified from the event.  This policy is not to interfere with your performance but is in place to ensure safety for you and all racers and event staff.  Many accidents are occurring due to racers not hearing other racers or verbal instructions. Safety for all racers, event staff and spectators is our number 1 priority.

No strollers or pets will be allowed on the courses, however, they are allowed in Lincoln Park and around the Start/Finish area.   Only racers and volunteers will be allowed in the cemetery.  All spectators can watch their runner cross the timing mats at the lagoons and are encouraged to hang out and make noise for the runners when they pass the lagoons.

Refund and Transfer Policy
There will be no refunds.  At the discretion of the Race Director a transfer for the same person to the next year might be possible. This is on a case by case basis and the RD decision is final. Please contact RD via email if a request is needed well in advance of race day.

All decisions by the Race Director are final.


We have a block of rooms at the Howard Johnson at 1701 J. David Jones Parkway in Springfield 62702 and the property is less than 5 minutes from race headquarters in the Lincoln Park Pavilion.   Use Group Code MN15 to get a room for $54 plus tax.   The phone number is 217-541-8762.

Please use this sponsor for your lodging needs.  They are very accommodating and the property is so close it’s a win – win for all.   Their email is

Contingency Plans

Communication Plan

All key personnel will be provided with relevant phone numbers, the Race Director will initiate calls and discuss options and final decisions with race and safety staffs they develop.

In addition, all spectators will be informed of the weather situation and decisions affecting the race by pa system and bullhorn along course.

A white big box truck will be on course to remove runners and transport them back to the pavilion if lightning is present.   Be smart and take the truck, a finish time is not worth the risk.

This procedure will be discussed at the volunteer briefing and pre-race meetings.


Since lightning is perhaps the most common and dangerous weather condition encountered by a Race Director, the recommendations by the NCAA and NSSL will be followed during events. Both agencies strongly recommend terminating activity when the lightning is six miles away since there is a strong probability that the next strike will be within a six mile radius of the previous strike to ground.

Flash to Bang Method

Since it is unsafe to begin an event if lightning if present, the race will be delayed until the lightning is passed and area is safe. The National Athletic Trainer’s Association recommends the flash to bang method for determining the distance strikes are near to your area.

This method states that one should begin counting on the lightning flash and one should stop counting when the associated clap of thunder is heard. Then divide the time to thunder (in seconds) by 5 to determine the distance (in miles) to the lightning flash. For example, an observer obtains a count of 30 seconds from the time he spots the flash to when the thunder is heard. Thus, that lightning flash was 6 miles from the observer. The 30 second flash to bang count is recommended as the shortest allowable time to consider resumption of activity. As the count approaches 30 all activities should be postponed and all persons should be seeking a safe location.

Another recommendation is that one uses the 30-30 rule which states that if an event is suspended due to the 30 second flash to bang method, one should wait at least 30 minutes from the sounds of the most recent thunder to resume activities.

Heavy Rains

While heavy rains are a real possibility there is no standard on how much rain is too much rain; the RD must rely on instincts, racer skill levels, communications from course monitors, and law enforcement input to make the decision to as to when the course is no longer safe.

Heavy Winds/ Tornadoes

There is no set rule regarding on much wind is too much; the RD must work with the race staff, law enforcement and local weather to determine if the course if safe.

In the event of heavy winds the RD should secure all equipment from falls and communicate with all involved that a tornado warning has been issued. All parties should be instructed to move to a safe structure and take shelter. If a shelter is not available all parties are instructed to stay out of their cars and move into a shelter or lie flat on the ground in a ditch or depression and cover their heads or wear helmet.

Extreme Heat

Many events are held in hot and humid conditions and it is the Rd’s responsibility to prepare for heat related issues. The best way to prepare is to follow these steps:

1) Alert athletes before event of the possibility of extreme heat

2) Provide adequate hydration options via water coolers, bottled water, sports drinks, wet towel, fruit and electrolyte capsules before during and after the event.



Email with any additional questions.  Bring chairs, pop up tents, picnics and games to set up near the lagoon to pass the time and serve as your headquarters and cheering station during the race.  Please have fun and enjoy the setting and your runners goals.    The runners love the encouragement and it makes the event so much more worth it for everyone.

Online Registration