After running cross country and track in high school, Brian Wakefield took an extended break from running until 2010, and in the time since he has already found himself on the podium.
The Vernon Hills resident started slow, training in gyms and pools to prevent starting too fast and injuring himself while running. His strength came back and soon enough Wakefield was competing in triathlons, but his heart was still in running. “My true love is running, the pure competition, no extra gimmicks or special equipment,” Wakefield says.
This year, the 37 year old is training with Jenny Spangler Racing, and his work has paid off. Wakefield posted an eight place finish at the Cary March Madness Half Marathon and a few weeks later finished third at the Wisconsin Half Marathon with a 1:15:09 — a personal record by more than a minute for Wakefield.
Wakefield plans to keep the pressure low through the hot summer months. Instead, he is training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Two words describe Patty Shafer’s training for thriathlons: prepared and stubborn. Shafer always finds time to train for her next triathlon, whether that means waking up at 4:do a.m. because that is “her time” and the rest of the family isn’t up yet, or keeping her equipment in her car at all times just in case there is some free time to get a ride in or jump in the pool. Shafer’s determination has paid off. At 56, she has already finished a number of Ironman competitions including the 2012 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nevada.
As she has grown older, the Springfield resident has found that her greatest strength isn’t her cycling or running, but her determination to keep fighting. So far this year Shafer has a top three age group finish at the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, and a first place overall at the Abe’s Mini Triathlon. All of this has been done without Shafer feeling like she has hit her training peak this year. She plans on competing in the Ironman 70.3 Kansas and the ironman Canada in Whistler.
“I’m going to have to admit this, I’m not as fast as I used to be,” Shafer says. “My stubbornness pays off. I don’t know if it’s a pain threshold or a get it done type thinking, but there are a lot of moments of, •Jeez this is fun.'”