Yesterday, Six Flags Great America hosted the first ever Coaster Challenge marathon event. The event allowed coaster lovers the opportunity to ride a 5k, 10k, or marathon instead of run it. Over the last few months participants raised money and the amount that they raised determined the length of the “race” that they participated in. According to the Daily Herald, $49,000 was raised by over 200 participants. All monies raised benefits the Special Olympics of Illinois. Jennifer Marcello, director of young athletes for Special Olympics Illinois, said about the overwhelming response to the event, "You can't really ask for a better first-time event.” Participants from around the region flocked to the park to get their “race” on. One such rider was Jennifer Miller, from West Bend, Wisconsin who stated "It's my kind of marathon. No running involved. And believe it or not, I work in fitness. I just don't like running.”
The day started off on two hours of exclusive ride time on the Great America classic, Raging Bull. After each trip ride participants had their tally cards checked off to get credit for the length of the ride they just rode. Once the park opened at 11 AM, participants were given front of the line access at every coaster in the park. Just as with Raging Bull, riders had their cards checked at the exit after riding. Once a participant met the distance requirement, he or she took their tally card to be officially counted and participated in a medal presentation ceremony. However, for participants the day was not over at that point. The riders could continue to get front of the line access for the rest of the day. As Christian Warren, of Cary stated, "It's a ton of fun. It's different...and it's for a great cause."