As the Naperville Marathon quickly approaches, runners are in the full swing of training, and the older age groups are preparing to cross the finish line in full force this year.
“Senior enrollment for us is right on par with what it’s always been,” said Race Co-Director and Co-Founder Dave Sheble.
Right now, there are 136 people over the age of 60 registered for the half marathon, and 35 for the marathon.
Dennis Yoch is one of those seniors who has his eyes on the prize, but not the golden kind.
“I’m not fast. I just do it for-do it to finish the race, that’s my goal, to finish the race rather than win prizes,” explained Yoch.
Yoch did not start running until he retired. Now at age 72, this year’s Naperville Half Marathon will be his fourth 13.1 mile race.
“Naperville just sounded good because it’d be around people, just a different environment completely. And it is a lot more fun running you know when you can see the city, the people cheering you on rather than just trees,” said Yoch.
While the distance is the same no matter your age, the training process may look a little different.
“They have to be able to complete the distance like anyone else, so the most important is to get your long runs in. Probably the thing that would be more different for a senior runner is they can’t necessarily run everyday, they have to make sure that they break it up with cross training,” said Kris Hartner, owner of the Naperville Running Company.
In line with Hartner’s advice, Yoch runs at Springbrook Prairie roughly every other day to prepare for the big race.
Yoch explains, “I never ran until I was 66 years old, I thought it was dumb to tell the truth, but I’m grateful I did.”
Even though he may not be running for awards, Yoch has won the bronze medal for his age division in the last two Naperville Half Marathons.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.