No matter where she lives, Tera Moody always makes an effort to come back to her home city for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
The elite athlete grew up in St. Charles, but moved out to Colorado in 2004 for training. A decade later, though, Moody felt homesick, and now lives in Chicago, three blocks from the Lakefront Path. “I can go for a run any morning and see people I know there,” she says. “I’ve met so many people and everyone is so open, and I really like that about Chicago.”
In fact, one of her favorite parts about running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the recognition; although her bib says “Moody,” she often hears spectators cheer for her by her first name. “That’s how I know people know me, I feel so much support from everyone,” she adds.
Moody ran her first marathon in Chicago in 2005, and exceeded her goal of breaking three hours and came in at 2:50:08. She continued competing over the next few years,
and placed in the top 10 in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Also at the 2010 race, Moody earned her current personal best at 2:30:53.
Going into last year’s race, Moody set a goal of running under 2:37, but due to a year and a half of injuries and time off, she did not meet that goal. Then, this year during the Olympic Trials, Moody got a cramp in her hamstring and couldn’t finish the race. Now, her attitude about racing is more about personal accomplishment than the time on the clock.
“[At the 2016 Chicago Marathon] I’d like to push my body very hard doing what I love and give my best effort,” Moody says. “I’m not focused on time or place, I’m focused on effort and laying it out there because I didn’t get to do that at the trials.”
So far, Moody feels confident she can do just that. After taking a week off in July, Moody has been going for longer runs and feels really good with no pain. She averages about 100 miles a week, but also finds great importance in cross training.
As an elite athlete, Moody admits they are spoiled. Not only do they get rides to the start and from the finish, a special bathroom and dressing rooms, but they get their own water bottles at every 5K mark and don’t have to juggle the little paper cups.
“The Chicago Marathon really takes care of its athletes,” Moody says. “When I do smaller races, I forget there’s nobody to take my car keys, and I realize how spoiled I am.”
The downside, though, is elite athletes don’t get the chance to explore the city the days before the race like other runners. Instead, they are interviewing with the media and attend press conferences.
“It’s amazing and incredible to be in the elite field, but there’s definitely the pressure we put on ourselves to perform,” she adds.
“I love, love, love the Chicago Marathon; it was the first marathon I ever did, I qualified for the Olympic trials here, had my PR here and also had one of my worst marathons here,” Moody says. “I have so many great memories of Chicago and running, and the marathon has always just been really special to me.”
TWO MORE LOCAL ELITES to watch out for are Kristen Heckert, last years female winner from Bolingbrook and Kevin Havel from Arlington Heights who took 25th in last years Bank of America Chicago Marathon race.