What began as a bucket list item turned into a lifestyle for Bob LaRue. After completing his first Bank of America Chicago Marathon with his siblings in 2009 and his first Chicago Triathlon the same year, LaRue continued competing, increasing his distance in triathlon in particular to the full Ironman. In September, LaRue finished fifth at Ironman Wisconsin, taking second in the 30-34 age group with a 9:34:59 time that qualified him for the Ironman World Championships in Kona next year. Nine days later, he defended his title in the Conway Park Autumn Classic, winning the race for the sixth consecutive year with a blistering 15:30 5K.
LaRue ran the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1, which he says is his favorite marathon, and plans to focus on triathlons next year in preparation for competing in Kona.
Columba Montes came to the United States from Mexico when she was 20 years old and began running the following year at the prompting of her brother, who told her she’d become overweight if she didn’t run. She started running for 12 minutes and eventually worked up to 40 minutes. After having her daughters, she began to suffer from depression and founding running with her oldest daughter in a stroller along the lakefront helped alleviate her symptoms. Friends she met through Chicago United Running invited her to sign up for a half marathon, which she finished in 1:35. She began to train with coach Roberto Alverez five months later and since then has gone on to become one of the top female runners in the area. She won the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit in 2012 and had a solid lead in this year’s competition through mid-October.
Montes aimed to break one hour in the 10 miler this year, but a rock in her shoe caused a blister and kept her from achieving that by 45 seconds. Next year, she wants to improve her 5K time and continue her coaching role with the Mini Chicago Road Runners.