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Runners use Peapod Half Marathon in Batavia as training for full marathon

Lars Juhl of Chicago was the first to cross the finish line during Sunday’s Peapod Half Marathon in Batavia.
Lars Juhl of Chicago was the first to cross the finish line during Sunday’s Peapod Half Marathon in Batavia.

BATAVIA – Similar to the Kane County Cougars being a stepping stone to the major leagues, Sunday’s Peapod Half Marathon prepared competitors for a bigger challenge in running – a full marathon.

Many runners in the 13.1 mile race, won by Lars Juhl of Chicago, used the race to get ready for marathons held in October, said race director Danny Delgado.

“This race has built a reputation as a great warm-up for Chicago and Milwaukee marathons,” Delgado said. “We have runners from 10 different states and all over the Chicagoland area.”

Runners took a slightly different course than in the past few years to avoid blocking Main Street. 

“The course got faster,” said Delgado. “We eliminated the hill up Houston [Street] and the last two-and-a-half miles are all downhill.”

Surprisingly, results were higher.

Juhl, who took third in 2010, crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 14 minutes and .06 of a second, 4:30 off of last year’s top time of 1:09:36.

Joshua Stein of Forest Park came in second at 1:15:37, and Bolingbrook’s Nathan Kennedy time of 1:17:08 earned him third place.

Amanda Hooper took top honors among the female runners. The Carpentersville resident finished in 1:25:44, a minute and half slower than the best female time in 2012.

Geneva’s Elena Shemyakina took second in 1:26:17. Third place went to Ashley Molidor of Downer Grove, who finished in 1:26:41.

“It’s my personal best, so I’m happy with it,” said Shemyakina, who estimated that she has run in 25 half marathons and 34 full ones.  “It’s pretty good when you get [a personal record] at 54.”   

The average time for the 1,131 runners who crossed the finish line was 2:04:51.

Oliver Bohac, 10, of Batavia, the race’s youngest runner, finished in 2:19:54 to earn fourth place in the males 19 and younger division. It was his third half marathon.

“My time was a very big improvement over the first two,” said the fifth-grader.

Chuck Amenta of Geneva said the race was a great tuneup for a marathon.

“A bunch of my triathlon friends use this race as a long training run for the marathons,” said Amenta as he cheered his friends on from Church Street.

This year’s half marathon is the fifth time Peapod, an online grocery delivery service headquartered in Skokie, has sponsored the event.

“Peapod is a local company so we wanted to be part of the community,” said Peapod spokesman Brad Porter.  “This a good venue to become part of the community so that is why we have sponsored it.”  

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