Men’s and women’s winners post convincing victories at XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon.
Written by: Mario Fraioli
CHICAGO — The sky opened up after most of the assembled field of 21,000 runners crossed the finish line of the XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, but Josh Glaab of Superior, Colorado opened up a big lead by the race’s 5-mile mark to win in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 3 seconds on an overcast, 60-degree Sunday morning in the Windy City.
Glaab, a high school science teacher and cross country coach at Fairview High School in Boulder, separated himself from fellow Coloradoan, and friend, Curtis Begley of Boulder by mile 4 and stayed clear of the field all the way to the finish line.
“The goal was to try and run a little faster than we ran,” said Glaab, who was hoping to be under the Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying time of 65 minutes. “I tried to find a nice pace and tried to stay as smooth as I could.”
Running side-by-side with Begley through downtown Chicago, the duo hit 2 miles in 9:46. The third mile passed in 5:07 (14:53) before Glaab put his foot down on the accelerator and opened up a lead.
“Every time I would turn a corner someone would be yelling,” Glaab said. “That really kept me going. My buddy and I have been training together so we took it out together and tried to go after it.”
Coming through 5 miles in 25:04 and 10K in 31:17, Glaab maintained a low 5-minute pace through the 10-mile mark in 51:30. He slowed over the final 5K as the course snaked out of downtown and came along the city’s windblown lakefront, but still held on for a 53-second victory over second-place finisher Brendon Moody of Van Wert, Ohio. Begley held on for third in 1:10:46.
Glaab, who ran collegiately at Colorado State, spent the past few years pursuing his Masters degree while teaching part-time and running “a bunch.” He’s scaled his training back since he started teaching and coaching full-time last year, but is hoping to find a way to keep his current momentum going when he returns to school in a few weeks.
“I’ve been running a bunch, so right before school started I had to do some kind of race,” said Glaab, who ran 65:01 in Houston in 2009. “My plan right now is to start running to and from school. It’s about 8 miles each way.”
In the women’s race, Great Britain’s Claire Hallissey ran away from the field, crossing the finish line in 1:14:34 to win in dominating fashion. Kristin Fryburg Zaitz of Broomfield, Colorado finished second in 1:19:07, while Suzanne Ryan of Chicago was third in 1:19:51.
“My plan was to go out there, see how I feel and get to the finish,” Hallissey said after the race. “[The time] was around what I thought what I’d run.”
Hallissey, who has a personal best of 1:12:02 for 13.1 miles, is in the midst of training for October’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She was making her first trip to the Windy City this weekend and using Sunday’s race mainly as a scouting mission for a 2:30 attempt at the full marathon distance this fall.
“I wanted to come out and get a look at what it was like,” said Hallissey, who ran 2:36:13 at the ING New York City Marathon last fall and spent the earlier part of this year rehabbing from injury. “The atmosphere was great and the music was very helpful as well.”
There was a large celebrity presence amongst the 21,000 entrants in the third XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. The fastest was 3x Super Bowl champion Roger Craig, who crossed the finish line in 1:48:49. The Today Show’s Al Roker ran here for the second year in a row, finishing in 3:02:06. John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting crossed the line in 2:06:42 and was followed closely by the Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams in 2:09 flat. Jayde Donavan from Access Hollywood rounded out the celebrity finishers in 2:55:48.