FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Inaugural Fox Valley Marathon a success
The sun started tiptoeing shyly over the horizon early Sunday morning and
with it came potential-the start of something new.
The inaugural Fox Valley Marathon kicked off Sunday Sept. 19 on First St.
in St. Charles and the buzz could be felt around the world.
One thousand, one hundred runners from 30 different states and three
different countries (Sri Lanka and Japan) congregated at the corner of
First and Illinois Streets to partake in one of the three races the event
had to offer.
There were runners ranging from 11 years old to 79. First-time runners and
seasoned veterans, including world-class distance runner Tera Moody. Some
chose to walk most of the way in the marathon while another runner held on
to a volunteer the whole time.
David Kuhn, a resident of Dekalb, Ill., may be blind, but he was not to be
denied the chance to be a part of the first race of its kind in the
Chicagoland suburbs in 30 years.
Michael Iacofano wasn't going to be denied, either, cruising to the top
finish in the Dick Pond Athletics Fox Valley Marathon with a time of
2:41:44, more than eight minutes ahead of the next marathon finisher.
"It feels good," said Iacofano, a native of Medina, Ohio, who set a
personal record by three minutes. "I didn't know who would be here, so I
figured I was just going to go out and with any luck, I could win the
Masters race. I didn't think I'd be able to win the whole thing."
Trey Howell of St. Petersburg, Fla., crossed the finish line second in the
marathon with a time of 2:49:51. Chicago's own Lorne Litwora came in third
at 2:50:53. Anna Siliciano of Madison, Wis., paced the Female Overall with
a time of 3:06:27 while Jennifer Benitez of Carol Stream, Ill., came in
just nine seconds behind Siliciano at 3:06:27. Karen Meraw (3:06:50)
rounded out the Female Overall winners of the marathon.
Kirk Samples (2:57:35) headed up the Male Masters while Gail Stevens
(3:22:55) claimed the Female Masters title.
Tera Moody highlighted the Dreyer Medical Clinic Fall Final 20 with a time
of 1:59:47. She also served as the event's celebrity, a St. Charles native
who has made a name for herself in the running community over the past
decade with accomplishments ranging from winning the Big 12 title in the
10,000 meter race as a freshman at Colorado to finishing fifth in the
Olympic Marathon trials in 2008 at Boston coming in a mere second behind
the fourth-place runner.
"It was so great to be back," said Moody, who attended and graduated from
St. Charles High School. "I have a lot of memories of running on the path
from when I was in high school and even junior high. I don't run here
hardly ever. Usually when I come back, I come to the city [Chicago]. So, to
be back on the bike path, it's just really cool. It brought back a lot of
"A lot of people at the aid stations and then the marathon runners as I was
coming back, they were yelling my name and saying 'good job.' It made me
feel really good and it helped kind of keep me going. It was really nice.
Especially people who are running their own marathon to take the time out
to cheer for me as I ran by, it just really meant a lot to me."
Kendra Castelloni (2:00:16) and Wendy Rogers (2:12:59) rounded out the top
finishers in Female Overall for the 20-miler. Steve Breese took home the
crown with a time of 1:57:02 while James Akita (1:59:52) and Brian Cagney
(2:00:43) also placed in the Fall Final 20, a race designed to prepare
runners like Moody for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10.
Jennifer Wilfong (2:12:59) topped the Female Masters in the 20 while James
Hard (2:15:51) led the Male Masters category.
Brian Grudowski took home the distinct honor of being the first runner to
cross the finish line in the inaugural race, finishing the Half Marathon in
"It feels great," Grudowski said of the win. "This is great. I felt really
good about representing Dick Ponds, my employer. It was a good course and a
really, really promising race for the future. Hopefully, it will grow
The Buffalo Grove, Ill., native who assistant manages the Dick Ponds store
in Schaumburg, Ill., said crossing the line as the first-ever finisher of
the event was a motivating factor in his effort.
"I was thinking about [being the first finisher] the last half of the
race," he said. "It was kind of my goal in mind. I was really out in front
by a lot, so I had to have something to keep me going other than just my
Chris Bosworth (1:12:16) and Brad Wheeler (1:17:53) crossed behind
Grudowski in the Half Marathon while Joan Vitro (1:39:24) claimed the
Female Overall title. Allison Bixler, daughter of Co-Race Director Craig
Bixler, finished second in Female Overall with a time of 1:39:38 while
Nancy Hunt crossed at 1:39:52.
Jennifer Emmert (1:39:56) won the Female Masters and Christopher Cook
(1:26:33) topped the Male Masters.
The inaugural Fox Valley Marathon began in St. Charles and dipped through
Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora and Aurora and received help from hundreds of
volunteers. The race closed at 1,100 runners, providing a small-town appeal
with a scenic route.
"I live in Naperville, so the event's right here and I don't have to go way
down into the city," Renay Pokora, who finished second in the Women's
Masters of the Half Marathon, said. "I do like the [small time appeal].
It's nice, especially not dipping in and out of people and tripping on
people. Everybody was really friendly."
Pokora, 45, has been running competitively for years, including seven
marathons. Brendan Beadsley, however, is as new to the racing scene as they
Beadsley, an 11-year-old sixth grader at Wredling Middle School in St.
Charles, was just going to run the first three miles of the marathon with
his father, but felt so good that he just ran the rest of the 23.2 miles
for good measure.
Many runners' children ran the final stretch down Illinois St. with them
and countless tears were shed as racers crossed the finish line with their
arms raised in triumph.
"We made 1,000 runners very happy today," Bixler said. "The only runner I
saw unhappy was the one who didn't realize the race was sold out and tried
to register just before the race. At its best, race day is filled with
first time marathons, tears of joy, inspirational stories, personal bests
and Boston qualifiers. We had all of those.
"It was a day to remember for our runners, and because it was our inaugural
event, it will be a day to remember for everyone in the Fox Valley
community who helped make it happen."