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Druley: St. Charles man ‘accepts the pain’ at marathon

Joe Gongaware of St. Charles finished Sunday’s Advocate Dreyer Fox Valley Marathon in 4 hours, 27 minutes, 31 seconds.

For the 49-year old sales engineering manager, his time wasn’t necessarily of the essence. After running half-marathons in years past – including 2011 and 2012 at Fox Valley – the key words above are “finished” and “marathon” as Gongaware took his first career crack at 26.2 miles.

“You just have to make the personal commitment. It’s a lot of long, hard training during the summer. Saturday mornings for long runs and a few nights a week for short to medium runs,” Gongaware said. “I don’t like to use the term ‘bucket list,’ but it was just something that I would like to personally conquer.”

Gongaware went for his final training run Sept. 19, a three-mile workout in which he “felt like I was melting out there” in the warm, muggy weather that preceded Sunday’s all but ideal conditions.

A St. Charles resident since 1991, Gongaware took up running only three years ago for the sport’s health benefits. The marathon was always the proverbial carrot that “puts you in a different category as far as running goes.”

Along the way, he encountered another threshold, too.

“The first about 19½ or 20 miles, I felt great, and then, like everybody says, the race starts at mile 20 because oh, man did my body say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” Gongaware said. “To be pressing on for basically another 10K run, that’s really when you’ve got to dig deep and accept the pain.”

Does that mean another marathon is on Gongaware’s horizon?

“I’ll probably do another one,” he said, “but certainly not this year.”

Pun with football: With apologies to St. Charles East PA man Neil Currie, consider this a special shout-out to Kevin Harrington, who mans the mic for home football games at St. Charles North.

With North driving against Elgin in its eventual 49-0 homecoming win on Sept. 20, Maroons defensive back Clay White, wearing No. 5, stopped North Stars tight end Garrett Johnson near the right sideline after a completion from quarterback Erik Miller.

Cue Harrington and the ad-lib heard ’round Red Gate Road:

“Tackled by Maroon 5, Adam Levine,” Harrington said.

While Levine’s bandmates might not have been as amused, they were well out of earshot. Judging by the laughter and chatter, many in the crowd understood or appreciated the reference.

Heisman striking pose in Batavia: Those in attendance at tonight’s Batavia home football game against West Chicago will have the chance to be photographed with the Heisman Trophy.

The opportunity is presented by Nissan, the trophy’s official sponsor. The trophy will be in the Nissan tent located in the north end of Bulldog Stadium during both football games tonight. The sophomore game starts at 5 p.m., to be followed by the varsity. Fans are responsible for their own pictures and are encouraged to bring a camera phone or digital camera.

The Batavia Athletic Department is requesting a minimum of $3 a person to take the pictures. All proceeds from the event will go to the Batavia Bulldog Booster Club.

• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

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