James Akita & Allie Walters

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James Akita
 2014 Aug Sept James Akita

James Akita began his running career in sixth grade and he continues to grow in the sport. After running track in college, Akita turned his focus to marathons in his mid-20s. This year, he added the CARA Runners Choice Circuit to his marathon training, and it couldn’t be going any better.

Adding many races to his calendar makes things tricky at times, but Akita welcomes the challenge. Through the Elmhurst Running Club 4 on the 4th, Akita had a 26-point lead in the circuit, thanks to dominating performances at the Roselle Run for the Roses and the Downers Grove 5 Mile in June.

With eight races left on the circuit, Akita says he knows he will have to keep up the strong finishes. While he will still keep racing the CARA Circuit, the 33-year-old hasn’t lost track of his main focus, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, where he hopes to run a sub-2:26.

Allie Walters
2014 Aug Sept Jennifer Garrison 

Separately, training for a triathlon and raising young children take a significant amount of time. Finding time to do both may sould like a challenging balancing act, but you wouldn’t know it by Jennifer Garrison’s race results.


Since mid-May, Garrison has won two triathlons and had a third place finish in the Age Group Olympic-Distance race at the ITU World Triathlon Chicago. Even with these impressive accomplishments, Garrison says that she has had to tone down her training and competing now that she has three young children.

The 36-year-old won the Galena Triathlon and her hometown race, the Athleta Espirit De She Naperville Triathlon. The Naperville Triathlon was her first multisport race Garrison ever competed in when she was 18.

Garrison still has two big races on her immediate horizon this year. She plans to compete in the usa triathlon age group nationals in Milwaukee and later will take on the Chicago Triathlon.