At ClassPass, we have some pretty amazing studios – and incredible instructors. In addition to teaching class (and motivating you to give your best) – these teachers in Chicago have been training for a marathon! From first-timers to runners celebrating their 10th marathon (wow!) – get to know your super-inspiring instructors who will log 26.2 miles on Sunday at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon!
Betina Gozo from Crosstown Fitness
Why are you running? Running is something I have never liked nor was very good at. When Nike approached me with the opportunity to run and be one of the trainers for the crew, I couldn’t say no, but I was terrified. I never in a million years thought I would run a marathon, but I’m always about challenging myself and doing something that scares me, so here I am!
What was your favorite moment from training? I have been running with the Nike crew, and we have dubbed our selves the #2sixpoints2 crew. This has been such a great experience with an amazing team, that there have been too many great moments to highlight! I don’t know if this counts, but my favorite moments from training involve being able to eat a lot of food.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? I remind myself of how blessed I am to be able bodied and able to run.
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? JT, Pharrell, and Chromeo! …but Fire Starts To Burn by Disclosure really gets me pumped right now!
What class helped you cross-train? All the Total Body classes at CTF!
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I’m most looking forward to mile 13 because it goes right past my place, and all my friends and my fiancé will be there cheering me on!
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? Oh man. This is a tough one. I’m sure it will involved cinnamon rolls or donuts … maybe a hot dog, burger, wings, steak, … or maybe all of those combined!
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: Pace yourself and listen to your body, but push yourself mentally to believe you can finish strong.
Eduardo “Tedoboro” Pedrero from WRKNYC
Why are you running? I’m a firm believer in ‘practice what you teach!’ After helping many others achieve their goals from the non-runner, to the runner who goes from a half-marathon to a marathon, I asked myself, “why aren’t you crossing that finish line too? After all, it’s only a workout!”
What was your favorite moment from training? Seeing my body adapt to the long runs and not cramping up nor having to stop. Also learning to improve my mental thoughts over physical. e.g..mentally i wanna stop but physically my body is not tired.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? I keep looking for the next runner in front of me and say, get ’em!!!
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? I listen to hip hop, R&B and pop.
What class helped you cross-train? Strength training, period!
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I’m least looking forward to mile 23. That’s when I think it’s really going to kick in. Mental thoughts will start like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ Then I’ll tell myself, “It’s only a workout.”
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? I eat about six meals a day consisting of some variation of grilled chicken, vegetables, protein shakes, egg whites and lots of water!
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: Live the 5 Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!
Jenna Fletcher from Barre Code Gold Coast and River North
Why are you running? I am running to raise money for a local non-profit organization, Harley Helping Hands. Founded in 2009, Harley Helping Hands provides financial assistance to Chicagoland families battling brain cancer. This allows the brain cancer fighter to focus on their health – and not their medical bills. I have had the pleasure of volunteering with the organization for two years now – and seeing and hearing from those who receive a grant from Harley Helping Hands continues to push me to do more and help more. These are real people with a very real need – and I am so blessed to be able to help.
What was your favorite moment from training? My husband and I were running along the lake front. After a somewhat grueling pace (it was a speed day), we turned around to see the beautiful skyline of Chicago, right at dusk. It gave me such a sense of accomplishment and amazement at the great city I get to live in.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? With each mile that I run, I think how lucky I am to be healthy enough to do this. And with each mile that I run, I know I am helping someone – which is such a great feeling!
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? While it’s not “new” music, I can always get pumped listening to the Jay-Z/Linkin Park compilation. The mix is so strong – and can keep me going for miles!
What class helped you cross-train? All of our classes has helped! I love the Interval training to get my speed and agility up. The Barre Code has significantly increased my muscle strength. And Baryasa is great for stretching and refocusing mentally.
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I ran the marathon last year – so I would say I am most looking forward to the first 13 miles. There are people lining the street the entire way, and it’s really inspiring to see so many people cheering on all of the runners. The mile I am least looking forward to are miles 18 – 22. Those are a bit more grueling because you feel like you have been running forever. However, once you get past mile 22, you realize you only have four more miles. It’s a great feeling!
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? Honestly – something pretty light. After that much running, food doesn’t sound that good. However, on Monday – a HUGE burger with french fries is on my menu!
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: You CAN do it!
Kiley Hearn from Amplified Pilates Center
Why are you running? This is my third marathon, but first time running it in Chicago. For the experience of running with 40,000 other runners, the sight seeing and to improve my time from my last marathon (hopefully to Boston qualify!).
What was your favorite moment from training? My friend Leanna rode a bike along with me during a 20-mile run, and having good company and conversation made it go by a lot faster
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? It’s all mind over matter for those long distance runs, I think about how it will pay off on race day. I’m a big musical dork and will listen to musical soundtracks start to finish while running, so I get lost in the story of the musical, which distracts me from how tired my legs are
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? Shake It Off – Taylor Swift is currently a guilty pleasure of mine.
What class helped you cross-train? Flywheel! It’s great endurance and interval training, without the impact of running, which has made me run faster. I also take Pilates classes and treadmill classes at Trainology and Shred 415.
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I’m most nervous for the crowds at the starting line and the first few miles which might make it difficult to run at pace. Miles 19-22 are the most challenging for me, and finishing is definitely the best part!
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? A black and bleu cheese burger, truffle fries, and a glass of red wine!
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: “I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind: a state of mind that says anything is possible.”-John Hang. Do it, it will change your life!
Lindsey Duggan from AIR Aerial Fitness
Why are you running? I am running because I can’t forget how awesome it is crossing the finish line! The adrenaline rush is crazy and is like no other feeling in the world. Its addicting (seeing as this will be my 4th marathon!). I have personally worked with the Common Threads organization in Chicago and think that the food/health education programs they run are so beneficial for children. The underprivileged youth have little background in food, cooking and healthy habits, so it is a very rewarding feeling to give back to them – just like running a marathon.
What was your favorite moment from training? My favorite moment from training is zoning out coming back from a 20-mile run to gaze out at beautiful lake Michigan. Training on the Lake Shore path is the best.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? I keep motivated by having great music! I am a spin instructor as well so I know how crucial upbeat, fun, exciting music is when your sweating it out.
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? The new David Guetta song “Dangerous.” So clutch.
What class helped you cross-train? AIR classes helped a ton. It good to work out the upper body and especially the core when your not constantly hitting the payment. Moving the body is different ways confuses the body and makes your muscles work even harder!
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I’m most looking forward to mile 8! We run right through Boystown/Lakeview ,which is where I live so its like I’m representing my ‘hood! Love seeing my fiance, my dog and all my friends there! I’m least looking forward to mile 20. Its that push to the finish where you know your close but not close enough. Its where you dig deep. That’s where you earn your medal and build that extra strength.
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? Lots and lots of pizza and champagne!
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: Do it- you won’t regret it.
Nadia Porter from Yoga Six
Why are you running? I never intended to run a marathon; however, this year I was inspired by Team World Vision to raise money to bring clean water to communities in Africa.
What was your favorite moment from training? My favorite moment from training was when I finished my 20 mile training run – it was the longest I’ve ever run and reaching the finish was exhilarating!
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? I try to find a friend to run with. Time flies by when I’m able to chat and get to know someone better.
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? I typically don’t listen to music when I run. I love to hear the sound of my feet, the rhythm of my breath and the breeze blowing through the trees. However, when I break my earphones out U2’s Beautiful Day is always on my playlist.
What class helped you cross-train? Yoga Six’s Deep Stretch saved me throughout marathon training. I honestly don’t think I would have survived without it!
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I’m most looking forward to running the last 6.2 miles – after my body hits “the wall.” William James says “Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never pushed through the obstruction.” I want to see what lies deeper within me and know what I am capable of.
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? Oh man. It’s a toss up between Eggy’s french toast or Ricobene’s pizza. I guess it will depend if I’m in the mood for breakfast food or not.
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: Relax, be patient and stay calm…you’ll reach the finish.
Maggie Johnson from Pure Barre Bucktown and Evanston
Why are you running? I am running for fun! This will be my fifth Chicago marathon and I have a blast every time I do it. The course and the spectators help to make the morning special for all the runners. I also wouldn’t mind a PR, so here’s to hoping I feel good come Sunday morning!
What was your favorite moment from training? My least favorite moments during training are all the runs before September. I hate running in the heat and question myself why I sign up for fall races since it means I have to train during the summer. Once September hits, though, I remember why I fell in love with running and really do enjoy each run – from the short weeknight runs to double-digit training runs on the weekends.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? The crowd at the Chicago Marathon is definitely a huge motivator and one of my favorite parts of this race! When I am on long training runs, though, I try and stay very positive and tell myself motivating things – once your mind starts saying negative things, your body will react to that and start hurting. It really is “mind over matter” so I just try and encourage myself the entire time.
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? Anything by Pitbull (a.k.a Mr. Worldwide!) I always listen to my iPod when I run.
What class helped you cross-train? Pure Barre! I have been doing Pure Barre consistently for almost a year now and my core has never been stronger. I can definitely feel my strong core when I am getting into longer runs and feeling tired towards the end. I have also done a few yoga classes, probably not as much as I should have, and the stretching is obviously very beneficial for my tight hamstrings and hips.
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? The mile 27 after party! Just kidding (kind of). My favorite part of the race is probably the beginning where we get to run through the Loop and River North. I am guilty of sometimes getting so caught up in the crowd and excitement that I run my first few miles way ahead of pace and then feel it towards the end. My least favorite miles are all the ones after 20…they go by so slow!
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? I will definitely rehydrate right away with a cold beer (or a few)! I haven’t decided yet on whether or not I’m going out for burgers or pizza – it will probably be a game time decision on Sunday. The good news is I have 26.2 miles of running to think about it…
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: Start with smaller races first (10Ks and half marathons), you will feel like you are achieving mini-goals on the path to the big goal.
Lauren Vollinger from Power Sculpt Fitness
Why are you running? I cheered on marathon runners while on my college dance team for a few years. Those finishers walking around with medals and foil capes were essentially superheroes in my eyes. (I almost felt starstruck when riding next to them on the train because I was so impressed by them!) A family friend convinced me to run and I figured it was now or never! Since I didn’t know how much longer I’d be living in the city I thought it would be a nice homage to my city- living.
What was your favorite moment from training? The 20- miler. The race-day simulation obviously helped SO much but it was the camaraderie the other runners had towards each other that was really my favorite. The cheers from team members, other runners telling others how close the turn around/finish was, the chats with other runners for a mile or two to keep each other going really made the experience wonderful and was the first time, for me personally, that I truly enjoyed running.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? During the beginning and middle parts of my run when I’m struggling during my warm-up I focus on the progress I’ve made so far. Before my training the longest I ran was 6 miles… stopping every half mile or so do to boredom and asthma (mostly boredom). I also got stomach cramps any time I had water or food within 30 minutes of running, now it’s not an issue. Keeping things in perspective when I don’t think I’m doing well really helps me.
Towards the end of my runs or the higher mileage I make a lot of phone calls to family and friends to be honest. I hit a psychological wall right around the time I hit my physical one. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t call my parents for moral support to get me to the end of my 18 mile run…and up three flights of stairs to my apartment afterwards.
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? “Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend and anything Beyonce.
What class helped you cross-train? The cycling classes at Power Sculpt were a great fit. I was able to switch them up between TRX Cycle, Bike Bootcamp and Cycle Sculpt to work all my non- running muscles in a different way every time.
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I’m terrified of Mile 21 and beyond because it is still the unexplored frontier in my mind… I have no idea what my body will feel like after that many miles! However, I’m also looking forward to these miles because it’s a first for me!
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? What WON’T I eat after the marathon?!?! I know I’ll be including some deep dish pizza from Pizzeria Uno’s in my feast. Treat yo’ self and all that.
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: It is truly amazing what you can train your mind and body to do; trust your training!
Molly Lersten from Lateral Fitness
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? Listening to music keeps me going!
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? Burn by Ellie Goulding.
What class helped you cross-train? Pilates! Reformer and mat classes strengthened my core which helps me keep good posture while running long distances.
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? Looking the least forward to mile 20 because I have only done up to 20 miles in training, and don’t know what will happen in the last 6.2 miles! And looking most froward to mile 26 when I can see the end in sight and have the crowd cheering me on to the finish line!
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? Chicago deep dish pizza.
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: Sign up with a friend or make sure to join a running group in your community so you can have others hold you accountable in your training and its always more fun to run with somebody!
Mia Grandbois from Pilates Pro Works
Why are you running? I am very excited to be running in this marathon because it will be my 10th marathon. My dad inspired me to start running about 10 years ago and within the last 8 years we have run 8 marathons together. We live in different states, so it is really fun to be able to text or call him after a long run and have this running bond that allows us to travel and run together.
What was your favorite moment from training? I did some long runs with a couple good friends that are training for their first marathon, and that was really fun to be a part of the excitement in training with them.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? Training in Chicago, there are such beautiful places to run that I try to enjoy my surroundings as much as I can. I love running by the lakefront, but I also enjoy running through my neighborhood of West Town and looking at all the beautiful houses. With long runs, I play mind games with yourself. For the first couple miles, I think of things that have been going on in my day, or think of new workouts for clients. As mileage goes on, I map out landmarks that will be where I can drink water or where I will turn around and hope that distracts my mind enough!
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? Week before the marathon, I love the stand by: Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run.
What class helped you cross-train? Pilates Pro has helped strengthen my hips and core so much within the last six months!
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I am looking least forward to mile 23 — that is a tough mile for me, just long enough to be hitting that wall and ready for the end. I am most looking forward to mile 25– then I know I am so close to being done, and I can definitely run ONE MORE MILE (point 2).
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? Tough question…either chips and salsa and tacos or burger and fries!
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: Don’t doubt yourself, stick to a training program and the marathon will be your reward for all your hard work and dedication.
Jordan Miroballi The Ray at DePaul University
Why are you running? I am running this marathon because it is on my bucket list. I have always dreamed it would be in Chicago, and I cannot believe it is already here. I cannot wait to achieve this goal. I am in disbelief I made it this far, so the experience of crossing that finish line will be one of my best memories.
What was your favorite moment from training? My favorite moment from training was completing a half marathon during this process with my dad. He said that my running inspired his, and we bonded so much during runs during my marathon training as well as his half. I cannot be more grateful for his support and the experience we shared during training.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep running? I keep myself motivated by thinking of the wonderful support I have from family and friends. I also think of my team as support as well. I am not alone in this process, and that is important. Simple, encouraging words meant the world to me, and I cannot be more thankful for the people in my life.
If you listen to music, what’s your current jam? Honestly…I have been sick of music. I love anything electronic to pump me up, like Diplo, but audiobooks have been my go-to for long runs. I just finished Divergent, and next will be the Hunger Games!
What class helped you cross-train? Spin class! I teach them, so it’s pretty convenient and low impact.
What mile are you most and least looking forward to? I’m dreading and looking forward to the last six miles. I have gotten up to 20 in my long runs, so hopefully the adrenaline and crowd will carry me through!
What meal or food are you looking forward to post-race? I have absolutely no idea. All I know is I’m going to want to eat everything in sight.
In one sentence, what’s your best advice to someone interested in running a marathon: You are strong; never give up.