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Half marathon brings some interesting names

Column J VorvaThere were 1,023 runners who finished the seventh First Midwest Bank Half Marathon on Sunday.

There were some notable names and some noticeable names.

Among the noticeable, the race featured hope, pain and joy. And it featured Curtis Hope, Sherese and Samira Payne and Tracy Joy.

It featured Jacklyn Boekeloo and Monika Sestakauskaite, who probably could have loaned a vowel to help out the last name of Kenneth Yff.

It featured Genevieve Gravel, who ran on the asphalt,

Those who were thirsty could talk to Jordan Earlywine or Mark Boozell.

Finishing less than a second apart were Paul Sager and Jamie Seger and later on Kelly Ciger crossed the finish line.

When the sun came out, you would figure that Shady El-Zayaty would keep his cool as he cruised to 239th place.

A few other names that caught my eye were Thomas Tomas, Josafat Javier Roman, Sky Legge, Thomas Fortune, Kristi Rude and Jeremy Boat.

And someone signed up as J. Race, whose name is almost as perfect as Lisa Chase or Kelly Ran, who also ran the race.

Among the notable names, state Sen., Bill Cunningham, was one of the 1,023, finishing 195th. Congressman Dan Lipinski signed up but for the second time in five years had to scratch because of an injury. District 135 School Board President Joe La Margo finished 866th.

Something to cheer about

Since 1,023 finished the race, that means there were 1,023 pretty good stories to tell.

I wish I could have interviewed them all, but that’s impossible.

There was one story I heard that I got a kick out of.

Stagg cheerleader Brittany Klimas of Palos Hills, who said she had never run a race of this distance, finished 643rd with a time of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 21 seconds.

Kilimas crossed the finish line with her father, David.

“My goal was to just finish the race,” she said.

Mission accomplished.

What’s fun about this story is that Brittany is recovering from her second right knee surgery in three years. She messed it up in cheerleading and messed it up again playing tennis. She had to wear a leg brace during the race but still got through the 13.1 miles without reinjuring the knee.

Her twin sister, Danielle, decided not to stick around with her family and ran ahead to finish 335th.

Best part of the day

My favorite part of the half marathon festivities is the Walk, Run or Roll race, which is put on by the South West Special Recreation Association.

Adults and children with disabilities have a chance to participate in a half-mile race shortly after the 1,000-plus runners in the half marathon take off. That leaves plenty of fans sticking around and cheering on these athletes.

The smiles from these folks can’t get any bigger as evidenced by Alsip’s Shante Berry, whose photo appears above.

And you see things that you might not have seen before.

One young runner was wearing a jacket and about 200 or 300 yards before the finish line, he decided to stop and take his jacket off. Some of the fans were yelling and encouraging him to finish the race. When he realized how close he was to the line, he put the jacket back on and sped to the finish line with his arms raised and he and his friends had a good laugh as he picked up his medal.

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