JANUARY 2012 ISSUE
Matt Abbott --Arlington Heights, Ill.
After running at Central Michigan University, Matt Abbott gave up on the sport. He went 20 years without running, but he found his way back to the sport in his 40s. Since his return, Abbott has finished first in his age group eight times (in 2011) including at the Red Bull Trail Daze and Frozen Turkey 5K. The 44 year-old finished second in his age group on the CARA series and in the top ten overall.
"I have been pretty excited, I'm competitive by nature, running helps me find that competitive side, and it's a great release," said Abbott. "There are quite a few people in my age group that are very talented. I wanted to succeed, I'm proud that I was able to finish high in the standings. I was driven to do well, I ran quite a few races and I feel pretty good about finishing where I did."
Jennifer Goebel -- Lombard, Ill.
This Lombard native started running in junior high and continued through high school before going to UIC where she would run at the collegiate level and eventually be inducted into the UIC Hall of Fame. By 2005, she was itching to run her first marathon and, despite not being completely prepared for the Chicago Marathon, Goebel posted her current personal record in her first attempt.
Her love of marathons has taken her to 29 different states, included one trip to Arizona Marathon where she would meet her eventual fiance Adam. It was because of Adam that she would find herself in the 2011 Reggae Marathon in December. Despite the high temperature, Goebel was the first woman to cross the finish line coming at 3:07. "I didn't really train for it, but I always wanted to run in it and it was an awesome time," said Goebel.
Moving forward, the 29 year-old massage therapist hopes to run a sub 3:00 marathon and eventually run an ultra-marathon. With the aid of her fiance, Goebel has developed a vegan diet that she believes has helped her post two of her best runs in her recent races. Now living in California, Goebel plans on getting married in October, one year after getting proposed to after running the Chicago Marathon.