The sixth running of the First Midwest Half Marathon had a McHenry County and University of Illinois feel attached to it.
The men’s winner on Sunday was Woodstock’s Dan Kremske, who covered the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 6 minutes, 16 seconds a week after turning 24. His pace-setting time was 17 seconds ahead of runner-up Elly Sang of Kenya.
The women’s champion was 26-year-old Jacqui Giuliano of Oakwood Hills, whose 1:20:49 clocking was close to a minute better than that of Lisle’s Kristen Heckert. Giuliano was 19th overall.
Both Kremske and Giuliano live in McHenry County and graduated from Illinois. Each of them ran track in college.
“This was my first race here and it felt good,” Kremske said. “I wasn’t sure how well I would do. I was in the [McHenry County] Shamrock Shuffle recently and felt good.”
Kremske said he was a late bloomer in the sport and started to blossom his senior year at Woodstock High School. He walked on at Illinois and ran both cross country and distance events in track.
Giuliano is a Crystal Lake South graduate who was chosen as an Athlete of the Year by one local publication a decade ago. She won seven prep letters in cross country and track, and was all-state runner three years in a row.
Giuliano didn’t enjoy a stellar collegiate career, however, because she said she “was the queen of the stress fractures.”
Giuliano wasn’t very confident about winning the half marathon. She had been on the Palos course before, taking fifth in 2011 and third in 2012, but climbing up two more spots to the top didn’t seem to be in the cards.
“I just ran in a half marathon in Champaign [and finished second among more than 3,000 women on April 26], so I didn’t know how I would feel [Sunday],” Giuliano said. “I was nervous, but I’m happy I could go from fifth to third to first in three years here.”
Darryl Bingham, 43, of Oak Forest won the walk, run and roll race sponsored by the South West Recreation Association. Sandburg High School’s Eagle won the mascot race.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski finished 107th in the main race with a 1:37:28, ABC-7 TV reporter John Garcia claimed 147th with a 1:40:32 and state Sen. Bill Cunningham was 457th with a 1:56:51. There were 1,465 runners who finished the race in at least 3 hours, 32 minutes, and a few hundred who were taken back in vans because of time limits.
Area runners enjoyed some success at their respective age levels.
On the men’s side Hickory Hills’ Mark Schall won the 50-54 age group, Orland Park’s John Hanley was first in the 55-59 division, Orland Park’s Larry McDonough claimed the 60-64 age-group title, Palos Park’s Jurgen Daartz won the 70-plus division and Palos Park’s Mike Yuhasz won the veterans’ competition.
On the woman’s side, the Nelligans of Orland Park dominated the younger divisions as Kara won the 1-14 group and Caitlin was tops in the 15-19 group. Palos Park’s Ashley Shares won at 20-24, Palos Heights’ Cassidy Wall took the 35-39, Evergreen Park’s Phyllis Hansen was first in the 70-plus division and Palos Park’s Mary Rosner won the veteran’s division.
Other area runners in the top 100 were Oak Lawn’s Daniel Regalado (21st), Orland Park’s Jose Amador (34th), Orland Park’s Dimitri Dimizas, Oak Lawn’s Elizabeth Lemrise (47th), Hickory Hills’ Grzegorz Dziubek (53rd), Palos Hills’ Dariusz Lisowski (65th), Palos Heights’ Annabelle Winters (68th), Palos Heights’ Keith Budinger (69th), Hickory Hills’ Alex Tarasiewicz (71st), Evergreen Park’s Chris Ward (74th), Palos Hills’ Phil Culbertson (75th), Oak Lawn’s Steve Rice (82nd), Palos Heights’ Nadine Antonini (83rd) and Oak Lawn’s Dan Krasich (93rd).