The Chicago Area Runners Association revealed both the winners of its 2014 Runners’ Choice Circuit and the races on its 2015 circuit over the past two weeks. Pamela Staton and James Akita, both pictured, won Runner of the Year honors, each collecting over 140 points in their respective gender divisions.
Staton, who finished second in the 2013 CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit, finished 2014 with 146 points: the most of any competitor in this year’s circuit. Staton earned points in 13 different circuit races and had first place finishes at the Ravenswood Run 5K, Roselle Run for the Roses, Michelob ULTRA 13.1, Run for Walk, Park Ridge Charity Classic and the Evanston Trick or Treat Trot.
Akita earned 142 points this year, edging out last year’s Runner of the Year, Emisael Favela. Akita also scored points at 13 different races on this year’s circuit with victories at the Race That’s Good For Life, Roselle Run for the Roses, Downers Grove 5 Mile, Run for Walk and the Red Eye 8K.
In addition to Runners of the Year, CARA also announced other divisional champions:
Junior Runner of the Year (Female): Lauren Garriques
Junior Runner of the Year (Male): Riley Spankowski
Masters Runner of the Year (Female): Angelica Guerrero
Masters Runner of the Year (Male): Rob Chenoweth
Athena Runner of the Year (Female): Sarah Peterson
Clydesdale Runner of the Year (Male): Chris Stephenitch
CARA will recognize all of its winners, in addition to 2014 Hall of Fame inductees Chenoweth and Frank Nicholson and the first CARA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Warren Utes, at the CARA Awards Banquet on Jan. 31.
The 2015 CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit, featuring races rated by CARA members, area runners and the CARA Race Committee that meet or exceed CARA Race Certification and Best Practice Guidelines, includes 18 events of various distances throughout Chicagoland. This year’s competition will begin in March and includes the following races:
Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, Chicago, March 29
The Good Life Race (formerly The Race That’s Good for Life), Oak Park, April 12
Live Grit Lakefront 10 Miler, Chicago, April 18
Ravenswood Run 5K, Chicago, April 16
Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile, Lemont, May 9
Soldier Field 10 Mile, Chicago, May 23
Roselle Run for the Roses 5K, Roselle, June 7
Downers Grove 5 Mile, Downers Grove, June 28
Elmhurst 4 on the 4th, Elmhurst, July 4
Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 Mile, Darien, July 11
Run for Walk, Evanston, July 26
Windrunner 10K, Lisle, Aug. 23
Buffalo Grove Stampede 10K, Buffalo Grove, Sept. 6
Alpine Races Half Marathon, Lake Zurich, Sept. 13
Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K, Park Ridge, Sept. 26
Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Chicago, Oct. 11
Trick or Treat 5K, Palatine, Oct. 31
Naperville Half Marathon, Naperville, Nov. 8
All CARA members and Illinois runners score automatically and receive points in the overall and age group individual competition for finishing within the top 15 of their age group, the top 15 overall in their gender and those with the top 15 age-graded finishes. Runners must finish at least seven races on the circuit to qualify for awards at the end of the year.