Artur Bareikis & Claudia Becque

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Artur Bareikis
 2008 April Artur Bareikis
Arturs Bareikis is a 21-year-old Oak Forest resident and cross-country runner at Robert Morris College. Bareikis is also the winner of the Frosty 5-Mile race that was held on February 10 in Channahon, IL. 
    
During that race, Bareikis was easy to spot in an impressive running field not only because was he running at a breakneck pace (28:28 finishing time), but he was also wearing shorts in sub-zero weather.  “It [the Frosty 5-Mile race] had the coldest and most brutal conditions I have ever run in,” says Bareikis. “I always wear shorts when I run, so I didn’t think to bring anything else. I ran in shorts.” 
    
Winning isn’t a novelty to Bareikis. He holds the record for the fastest 2-mile time in Tinley Park High School’s history (his 9:36:07 time bested the previous record by two second). And in 2007, he ran the fastest Ultramarathon time out of anybody in his home country of Latvia. 
    
“I do my best because I draw inspiration from my father. My father passed away last year without ever getting to see me run. Now, everything I do, I do for him,” says Bareikis.

 

 

 
Claudia Becque
 2008 April Claudia Becque
On March 2, 2008, Claudia Becque’s running dream became a reality. More than 2,000 miles from her home in Chicago, Becque qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials with a 2:44:52 finishing time in the Napa Valley Marathon. Her Napa time was an exclamation mark on an already outstanding career and a personal record. “Qualifying at Napa was one of the best moments of my life, well, besides getting engaged,” Becque said. 

Not only did she qualify, but she did it with time to spare.  “When I was running, I knew that I was ahead of pace, but when I was told late in the run that I was 90 seconds ahead, I was shocked. That’s when I realized that this was going to happen. When I crossed the finish line, I was so happy that I never wanted the moment to end,” said Becque. 

For the Olympic Trials, she hopes to notch another achievement into her belt. “I’d love to set another PR and finish top 60 or even top 50,” said Becque.