Friday, August 31, 2012

Spain, Lifka Win Peapod Half Madness 13.1

It's back to half-marathon season (does it ever end?), and things got rolling in the Chicago area on Aug. 26 at the Peapod Half Madness 13.1 in Batavia. It was a strong field as alweays for this well-organized race, and leading the way were Mike Spain and Tammy Lifka. Spain, 23, of Normal, is no stranger to me. He won the 2011 4 on the 4th in Elmhurst. In Batavia, he ran a 1:09:37 to easily win over runner-up Nick Hird, 28, of Naperville, who came across in 1:11:57. Hird had run the rugged DeKalb Corn Classic 10K the day before. Third went to Daniel Woldesilassi, 20, of Wheaton, in 1:15:15. In the women's field, Lifka, 42, of Glen Ellyn, had a battle on her hands, but won in 1:24:20. She's also no stranger, having run very well at the 4 on the 4th more thyan once. Second place was taken by Angie Fiese, 35, of Mableton, GA, in 1:24:38, and third went to Jacqui Aubert, 26, of Crystal Lake, IL, in 1:26:51. Special kudos go out to Dave Walters, 57, of Lisle, who finished fifth overall in 1:18:09! There were 986 finishers, and in a somewhat rarity these daysd, there were more men than women, 512-474. Next up on the half "circuit" is the Oak Brook Half Marathon on Monday morning. Registration is still open. Good luck to you, whatever you've got planned this weekend.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kremske, Todd Best at DeKalb Cornfest

It's been a year for bad corn, but it wasn't for good runners on Saturday at the 31st DeKalb Cornfest 10K, the farthest stop west on the Chicago Area Runners Association Runners' Choice Circuit. Temperunners in the finishing field of 564. Temperatures were tolerable with the mercury in the mid to high 70s, but humidity made it a tough go for many of the well-seasoned competitors in the field. Winning the battle from a strong lead pack was Dan Kremske, 23, of Woodstock, in 31:07.8. Second went to Patrick Geoghegan, 22, of Oak Park, in 31:40.35; and third went to Nick Hird, 28, of Naperville, in 32:05.65. Out-of-state women dominated as Melissa Todd, 37, of Timnath, CO, won in 35:51.8, followed by Megan Herrick, 26, of Flagstaff, AZ, in 36:25.25. Third was local standout Kristen Heckert, 25, of Lisle, who is gearing up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She ran a 37:17.08. Age-group competition was fierce and deep up and down the results. I can't remember a Cornfest ever not having a top-tier field. I got to the finish line, but boy, was I spent. It was rough for me, and I think a lot of others. No one said it would be easy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shobukhova, Dibaba in Chicago Marathon Field

Press Release
Liliya Shobukhova Aims for Unprecedented Fourth Consecutive Victory at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Shobukhova Joins Kenya's Lucy Kabuu and Ethiopia's Ejegayehu Dibaba to Headline Talented Women's Field
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that Liliya Shobukhova of Russia will go for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the event's 35th running on October 7. After she was unable to finish the Olympic Games Marathon on August 5 due to stomach cramps, Shobukhova, a pre-race gold medal favorite, will look to get back to her winning ways in Chicago where she is undefeated in three appearances.
"It was heartbreaking to withdraw from the Olympic Marathon after I had trained so hard and my preparation had gone so well," said Shobukhova. "But I am still very fit and in good health, and I am going to focus all my energy on a great performance at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. There is no place that I feel more comfortable than when I am competing in Chicago. I love the course and appreciate the support from the fans. I am especially motivated to win for the fourth time in a row, which has never been done before in Chicago."
Shobukhova, who ran the third-fastest time in history (2:18:20) to win last year's race, will face her stiffest competition yet in the bid for her fourth title. Sub-2:20 performer Lucy Kabuu of Kenya (2:19:34) stands in her way, as does Ethiopia's Ejegayehu Dibaba, who ran 2:22:09 in a runner-up finish to Shobukhova last year. These three athletes have the potential to put Paula Radcliffe's 10-year-old course record of 2:17:18 in jeopardy. Kenya's Florence Kiplagat was forced to withdraw from the field due to an injury.
"Liliya has already made history at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with three victories in a row, and this year she has a chance to join the great Khalid Khannouchi with four total victories," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "She is truly one of the great champions of the sport, and while her race at the Olympics was not what she had wished for, she has a chance to return to the top of the world in Chicago."
Last year, Shobukhova became the first runner to win three consecutive Chicago Marathon titles, and a fourth victory would tie her for the most ever in Chicago. Khalid Khannouchi won four times in the span of six years (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002).