Two and half years after his reintroduction to the sport, Braulio Benitez has risen to the top of the local running scene. A former track and cross country runner at Maine West High School and Lewis University, Benitez quit the sport entirely after graduation. After turning 30, he came back to running and has continued to improve. This year, he finished fifth at the F^3 Lake Half Marathon in January and second at the challenging March Madness Half Marathon in Cary.
While Benitez runs races of all distances, he gravitates towards half marathons and marathons. He ran the Boston Marathon in April and plans to run both the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon this fall.
A Category 2 cyclist for seven years, Kimberly Gialdini recently decided she’d like to transition into duathlons and took up 5Ks to improve her running. Despite her lack of running experience, Gialdini has had great success at local 5Ks, winning the Lisle Spring Sprint in March and taking sixth at the Egg Shell Shuffle in April.
Gialdini trains under professional triathlete Guy Petruzzelli with the Intent Elite Race Team, based in Woodridge. She credits teammate Kelly Phauh as one of the people that encouraged her to take up running and inspired her to compete. Gialdini plans to compete in duathlons throughout the coming months, including the USAT Duathlon National Championships on June 6 in St. Paul, Minnesota.