Jacqui Aubert & Raymond Pelelas

Jacqui Aubert
 2011 July Jacqui Aubert

Crystal Lake, Ill. resident Jacqui Aubert was raised to be a runner. Her avid were runners, partaking in marathons throughout her childhood, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when she warmed to the sport.  “My first race was the Brookfield Zoo Goody Bag Gallup when I was in preschool,” says Aubert. “I only did it to try to beat my brother, (18 months younger) we were very competitive.”

Today, Aubert claims a list of top finishes, including a sub-18 minute (17:58.3) LaGrange Rocks for Youth. ” I PR’d in the half marathon when I won •March Madness’ in March (1:24:50.22). It [the race] is put on by my dad’s running club, the Cary Hillstriders, so I really was proud of that moment since I’ve been volunteering at the race for years.”

“My main goal this year is to try to qualify for the [Olympic Marathon] Trials. My current personal record is a 2:56, but that was while training for Duathlon Worlds, so my coach is helping me focus just on running and just see where I can get. If I qualify, amazing! If not, I start training for Duathlons again.”

Raymond Pelelas
 2011 July Raymond Pelelas

Chicagoan Raymond Pelelas recently finished something only a few people have been able to accomplish — a rim to rim run of the Grand Canyon in a single day. A 47.5-mile run with a total elevation of 11,000 feet, Pelelas started running at 5:15 a.m. and finished using a headlamp at 9:50 p.m. 

“After 20 plus marathons, four ultras [marathons] and many Ironman races, I found this, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Pelelas. “The difficulties increased as the day wore on. My toes were very sore from jamming into my shoes while descending for so many hours. The added weight of my 15 lb. pack was tiring my shoulders and arms out, general fatigue from being on my feet for so long  and loneliness.  After 2 p.m., I didn’t see anyone for almost five hours.”

Pelelas adds the Grand Canyon run to a list of accomplishments that includes: 11 Chicago Marathons in a row, three Boston Marathons (3:03 at this year’s event), and five completed Ironman races.