PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria’s history merged with its runners for the annual Whiskeydaddle races this past weekend.
“At one point, I forget how many distilleries and everything were along the riverfront, but Peoria was the whiskey capital. At one point if it plays in Peoria you could play anywhere and Peoria’s got a big rich history,” said Shazam Races co-owner and Whiskeydaddle organizer, Brad Henz.
The Whiskeydaddle races welcomed runners with all skill levels. From a marathon, marathon relay, half-marathon, and 5k every year. Organizers said after the pandemic, runner turnout is low.
“There are about 1000 to 1100 [runners] between both days. Numbers are down, but that’s partly due to COVID-19 nationwide. Most races are down 30-40 percent, which is hard but is the same thing everyone is facing right now,” said Henz.
Organizers said with fewer runners and higher prices due to the pandemic, the Whiskeydaddle marathon is not returning next year.
“This is the last year for the marathon right… numbers have just been weighing down after COVID quite a bit. Costs of everything have gone up, costs of shirts have gone up, the metals have gone up COVID has spiked the costs of the infrastructure of everything,” said Shazam Races co-owner and Whiskeydaddle organizer, Adam White.
The co-owners of Shazam Races host the Whiskeydaddle marathon and said instead they will focus on smaller mile races throughout Central Illinois. The next race will be in November, The Chocolate Turkey 3 mile.
“We are going to continue to focus on our clients that we have here who are putting on a lot of other races,” said White.
Since it was the last year, White said he wanted to run in the marathon himself.
“Get out there and run with the community… have a good time. I wanted to experience what everyone else has been experiencing for the last 8 years. I wanted to say I’ve been there done that… mark it off the bucket list. I had to run with the phone and the ear set to make sure I could take calls from the police department and our team,” said White.