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Dreaming Our Way to Chicago

Each year, the Chicago Marathon draws over 45,000 runners to the Windy City. With a rich history and thousands of spectators, the race’s electric energy inspires people throughout the world. Working their way through 29 city neighborhoods, the runner’s attempt the course for their individual reasons and inspiration. Some are running for charity, some are hoping to beat personal records, some are completing their first marathon ever. At rabbit, we believe in running and dreaming — on your own terms. Our RADrabbits are a diverse team of athletes from all walks of life, ages, and abilities — many of whom are training for Chicago 2022. Read about three RADs who are preparing for this year’s race. 

Jennifer Brayboy-Locklear

Is this your first Chicago Marathon?
This is my second Chicago Marathon. My husband and I were fortunate enough to get selected to run it in 2013 (before the lottery started in 2014). This will most likely be my last marathon. My training has been grueling. This is not an excuse. The weather in North Carolina (and across the nation to be honest) has been brutal since the spring. I don't feel like we even got a spring season. The humidity really took its toll on my training. I got a training plan from Chicago Endurance Sports. Because I am in North Carolina, of course, it was a virtual plan. I adhered to the plan for the most part. There were some days that I switched around the daily training. I am a charity runner for the Chicago Marathon representing the American Diabetes Association. 

How has your training been? Do you have a specific goal you hope to achieve?
As far as goals are concerned, I just want to finish in the required time frame of 6:30. My first Chicago was 5:45 so anything less would be great but I truly just want to finish it. I will never qualify for Boston and that isn't my goal. My goal is to finish and to create an awareness for the prevention of diabetes for all people, especially indigenous people.

What are you most nervous about?
I am most nervous about comparing myself to others. I am not an elite runner or a fast runner. I am an endurance runner. Although I know I am an endurance runner, I always look at others' pace and compare mine. I know I shouldn't do this but it is a daily struggle.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to being in Chicago again. I lived there from 2014-2016 and I loved every minute of it. I am also looking forward to accomplishing my goal of representing the American Diabetes Association to create an awareness of this dreadful disease that affects most people in some way or another.

Mandy Perry 

Is this your first Chicago Marathon?
Yes. This is my first Chicago, and first marathon EVER!

How has your training been? 
Do you have a specific goal you hope to achieve?
I was somewhat following the Galloway plan of two 30 to 45 minute runs two days a week and building up the long runs on weekends for a while but started mostly following the Nike plan shared by Chicago Marathon around mid-July. My hope was to do it in 4.5 hours or less, and I think I was on track until testing positive for Covid and having to scale back at the beginning of September, which leads to the answer for question number 4.

What are you most nervous about?
We’re less than a month out, and I haven’t been able to get that big 20 miler in. I know that I was on track before and want to be at peace and trust the training. I’m just nervous that my body will still be struggling with some of the post-Covid issues as I try to wrap up training and then take on the beast on game day.

What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to rocking that sweet rabbit Chicago kit! Clothing aside, I’ve heard so many good things about this race from women in my local running group and am excited to take it all in. That’s why I don’t want to defer despite Covid derailing training so close to the big day. Even if I don’t get that goal time, I put the work in and just want to enjoy the sights and race environment if nothing else. Is there really a better way to experience the city?!?

Stefanie Moore

Is this your first Chicago Marathon?
Yes, and my first World Marathon Major!

How has your training been? Do you have a specific goal you hope to achieve?
Training has been going great! It’s now peak week and then taper and I’m ready for the taper. This has been my most consistent training cycle. I am training to Boston Qualify! My goal is a sub-3:30 to get that unicorn.

What are you most nervous about?
I would say the weather. It’s a major factor in a marathon that can’t be predicted and weather has definitely been a challenge in three of the five marathons I’ve run. I’m also a little nervous to see what the Boston cutoff might be.

What are you most looking forward to?
The atmosphere, crowd support, energy and hopefully meeting some fellow rads there. Also, that deep dish pizza I’m going to enjoy post marathon.

The Community That Makes Us Who We Are

We can’t wait to celebrate Jennifer, Mandy, and Stefanie (and so many other RADs) in Chicago. Supporting one another’s individual running practice is one of the greatest privileges of being part of the rabbit family. See you next month!

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