Damon King & Marisa Hird

Damon King
2015 January Damon King

Damon King, a new face to the Chicago racing scene, has posted top 10 finishes in each of his past four races. King, originally from Michigan, started running with the cross country club at Michigan State. After nearly two full years of recovery from a stress fracture, the 25-year-old returned to racing at the Pumpkins in the Park 5K. He took second place with a 16:27 finish, and followed that with a seventh place finish at the Hot Chocolate 15K, a distance King said was much more difficult for him because he lacked experience. He returned to his favorite distance, the 5K, at the Fifth Third Bank Turkey Trot in Detroit on Thanksgiving. He finished second at that race as well, but dropped more than 20 seconds from his previous time. Most recently, King posted another second place finish at the Rudolph Ramble 8K.

King said he isn’t sure what’s next for him in the Chicago racing scene. He plans to train indoors for the time being as winter sets in and will eventually begin to prepare for early spring races like the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle.
Marisa Hird
2015 January Marisa Hird

Marisa Hird capped off her racing season in peak form and will ride that momentum into 2015. In her last two races, both marathons only seven weeks apart, she took the top prize. After finishing first at the Fox Valley Marathon in late September, Hird kept up her training for the Naperville Marathon. Hird finished first again in her city’s race with a time of 2:50:57.

Hird’s mother introduced her to running, and she kept up the sport through high school and college. Over time, she has learned that longer distances like a marathon fit both her abilities and preferences the best. With her strong finish to marathon season, Hird says she will take some time off and maintain her base until spring. When the weather warms, she plans to start the process all over again, targeting another fall marathon.