Local runners enter Chicago Marathon

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2002

A group of eight local runners are heading to the Lower 48 this week to be among the 37,500 entrants competing in the World Class LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon October 13th.

One of the runners, Steve Stenga, says that it was an idea that someone came up with this summer that they should all run in a race somewhere that would be fun and unique, "This group has been running together for a few years so we just decided that Chicago would be kind of a neat place to go and do it," said Stenga, pulling into Kaladi Bros. in Soldotna after a 12 mile training run.

The group has been training for the event since June 9th, "We've run three 20 mile runs, a couple of 17, 18, and 19 mile runs and then we started heading down to 12 mile runs, which seems easy to get up for the marathon on the 13th," said Connie Best, who will be among the group of eight local runners in the Chicago Marathon.


Kenai Running Club members who will be running this week in the Chicago Marathon, Steve Stenga, Mark Blanning, Jenni Mishler, Connie Best, Connie Tobin, Mary Stenga, Kenda Blanning and Debbie Tressler.

The average age of the Kenai team is around 40 confesses Best. "I've never run a marathon before. The farthest I have ever run is 20 miles so 26.2 is going to be real challenge for me to make it happen, but we're tuned up and barring any injuries we hopefully will see that finish line," said Stenga.

The Chicago Marathon is a certified race and the course is said to be a flat fast one that draws runners of all types and levels. Many first timers who just want to put themselves to the challenge of finishing the race, as well as a lot of people who come to qualify to run the Boston Marathon.

With almost as many people running in the race as live on the Kenai Peninsula, Best says she is looking forward to talking to folks along the way, "In this kind of run you are with people all the time, and it makes it nice because when you are running a marathon you're not running at a really fast speed so you are able to talk almost the whole way," said Best.

Some members of the Kenai team are veteran runners like Mark Blanning, who hopes to bring home some recognition for the local team, and for others like first timer Steve Stenga, it's to meet the challenge of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, "My goal is to run it in 3hours and 30 minutes. At my age, if you can run it in 3:30, you qualify for the Boston Marathon," said Stenga. "There are four of us actually that want to do it in 3 hours and 30 minutes, so we'll be sticking together," added Best.

Other members of the group include Jenni Mishler, Kenda Blanning, Mark Blanning, Mary Stenga, Connie Tobin, and Debbie Tressler.

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