St. Charles High School graduate Tera Moody finished ninth Sunday in a personal-best 2:32:59.
Mark Black | Staff Photographer
A familiar face from the local running scene powered to the front of the pack in the early going of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
Much to her own surprise, Tera Moody - a standout runner at St. Charles High School in the late 1990s - took command early and led through the first seven miles. She finished ninth with personal-best 2:32:59.
"I was kind of shocked - where is everybody?" said Moody about pulling into the lead. "It was kind of cool getting to lead the Chicago Marathon for a while. I had fun with it. I ran pretty even and wanted to run my own race and go for a PR (personal record)."
Moody, who won back-to-back 1,600-meter IHSA state track championships for the Saints in 1998 and '99, beat her best marathon time by nearly a minute. Her fastest marathon had come at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Boston, where she was fifth in 2:33:54.
What made Moody's performance even more impressive is that she ran at the World Championships on Aug. 23, where she finished 28th. Running two marathons that close together can definitely tax a runner's body.
"There was a time where I doubted my decision," Moody said. "The race was a gamble. I was pleased with my effort. My goal: I wanted to finish, leaving everything out there. I felt I pushed it to my maximum. I am feeling good."
Moody said she planned to take two weeks off and wasn't sure if she will run a spring marathon. She said she would love to run in the 2010 Chicago Marathon.
"I love the marathon, it is so much fun," Moody said. "This is the distance I like to run the most."
Moody, a top finisher at the Illinois cross country championships all four years of high school, competed at the University of Colorado.
Seeking some rabbits: The men at the Chicago Marathon have always benefited from having pacers help them keep their times on track. For winner Sammy Wanjiru on Sunday, he was helped by 2007 Chicago Marathon winner Patrick Ivuti.
But the women had to rely upon themselves. Had they had some pacesetters, the times in the first half may have been faster in the chilly conditions.
"It wouldn't be so boring if we would have pacemakers and would add some excitement to the race," said World Marathon Majors champion Irina Mikitenko of Germany and race runner-up through a translator. "It would be good to have some."
Hot wheels: Kurt Fearnley of Australia won his third consecutive Chicago Marathon wheelchair championship with a time of1:29:09. He set the course record of 1:28:06 in 2007. Fearnley will vie for his fourth consecutive New York Marathon wheelchair title Nov. 1.
"The cold made it a bit tougher, but I was happy with result," Fearnley said. " I had a few extra layers on. I started nice and relaxed and focused on my technique.
Tatyana McFadden, a sophomore at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, won the women's competition in 1:50:47 in her first marathon. She edged Canada's Diane Roy by two seconds.
"I was extremely nervous out there, but it was a lot of fun," McFadden said. "It is new and very exciting. It was a great day."
By the numbers: Of the 45,000 who registered for the Chicago Marathon, 34,792 made it to the starting line - and 33,419 completed the 26.2-mile course. The starting temperature of 33 degrees was not the lowest in marathon history. The lowest race-day temperature was 21 in 1988, the hottest 89 in 2007.