When it was announced back in January that Naperville would have its first marathon in decades, registration maxed out in a matter of hours.
Over the course of the year, the 3,500 entrants prepared themselves mentally and physically for the 26.2 mile and 13 mile events until race day would finally come.
With a time of 2:34:25, Yonatan Mascote was the first runner to cross the finish line for the Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon.
“I took a very conservative approach and I knew that because it’s such a long race and can be very grueling,” said Mascote. “If you attack it at the beginning, you’ll pay for it and I almost did pay for it.”
To his advantage, Mascote had ran much of the race route many times before while training with the north central college men’s cross country team.
During his running career, he helped the team earn a second national division iii championship last year.
After graduating in June, he continued long distance running, completing the Chicago Marathon just a month before winning Naperville’s marathon.
“The way I felt in Chicago, I felt a little bit better than Naperville cause for the last six miles of Naperville, I was hanging on for dear life. I think I said to one of the bikers, ‘How far is second place?’ Cause if he had come up on me, it’d be a little bit different story.”
Much like Yonatan’s story, Amanda Mirochna too had a happy ending to her race, finishing the full marathon as the top female with a time of 2:50:14.
“It was just a neat experience because I’ve won other races before in college and high school but to have done all that hard work and have it pay off, it was pretty cool,” said Mirochna.
Mirochna is a lifelong Naperville resident and runner. The 2006 Neuqua Valley High School graduate went on to run cross-country for Miami of Ohio and now teaches and coaches runners at Metea Valley High School.
Mirochna says when she headed to the starting line, she never anticipated winning.
‘My goal was for time and for me and then if I won, that would be a plus,” she said.
Whether first or last, all the runners who crossed the finish line achieved something that day, and many later went to Dick Ponds Athletics in Lisle so they would forever have a memento to prove it.
“A lot of times when you accomplish something this big in your life, you get a marathon medal so you want to have some kind of keepsake on it so we did the medal engraving,” said Denise Hefferin,
Manager at Dick Ponds of Lisle. “It’s something that all of our Dick Pond locations are offering but we decided to wait until after the Naperville marathon.”
Also celebrating, are the race directors who say the event went off without a hitch and raised more than $280,000 and counting to be split against 26 local and national not-for-profits.
Organizers plan to double the number of runners for the 2014 Naperville marathon but that will require a new venue for the start and finish.
For next year’s race, they’ve already picked November 9th as a likely date.
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