Issue Date: November/ December Winter Sports Issue, Posted On: 12/27/2010
Jean Marinangeli & Michael Straza
In 2008 Michael Straza staged a comeback of sorts. After taking a 16-year break, Straza burst back onto the running scene, finishing the 2009 Shamrock Shuffle in a time of 33:10, a time that he improved by almost six minutes the following year.
Straza has had a long career spanning from high school and college (cross-country at Illinois State University) to his recent overall victory at the 2010 Fleet Feet Sports Pumpkins in the Park 5K.
In addition to his Pumpkins in the Park first-place finish, Straza has broken the tape at the St. Jude 5K, come in second place at the Park Ridge Classic and the Peoria Firecracker.
"I'm competitive by nature, so running is the perfect outlet," says Straza. "Setting personal goals and then training to reach them is something I enjoy."
Jean Marinangeli knew early on in her life that she loved running. In middle school she
picked up the sport and ran on the school team. By high school, she was a full-on running addict. Today, Marinangeli is a member of the Fast Track Racing Team and a winning talent in races around the Chicago area.
Marinangeli is the current CARA women's points leader (through the Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K. Her at the Park Ridge race helped solidify her position as the current leader over a surging Columba Montes.
Helping her push forward in the CARA rankings is a history of top finishes and hard
work. This year, Marinangeli placed first in DeKalb's Corn Fest races, took second at
the Park Forest Scenic 5 and even placed 59 overall in the Bank of America Chicago
Her secret? "The physically training is necessary, of course, but going into a race the main thing I try to focus on is being positive, says Marinangeli. "I think everything comes down to whether or not I can be positive."