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QDR at the BOA Chicago Marathon 2018

What an amazing weekend we just had! From October 5th to the 7th we had Queens Distance members in seven different states running multiple races, from the 5K to the Marathon, all with inspiring stories! We will cover those races later but for now, here is a recap of the 20+ QDR members who ran the 41st edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

The Chicago Marathon weekend started on Friday, October 5th, when the expo opened to the public. We had teammates arrive early on and pick up their bib, run, and then immediately fly back. Regardless of how much time we individually spent in Chicago, the team shone bright with smiles as we welcomed each other to Chicago and later when we said our goodbyes after the marathon.

Since Saturday was the day of the International Chicago 5K race, many of our members arrived to Chicago on Friday to pick up their 5K bibs (if they weren’t mailed to their homes) and get ready for their race. That day, many of us also collectively went to the expo to pick up the marathon bib.

Group pictures at the Chicago Marathon Expo

We made the most of that day from around noon to 3pm as we came and went and managed to find each other in the expo. After exploring the expo, collecting snacks, attempting to run Eliud Kipchoge’s pace for 200m, collecting freebies, and taking pictures, we left to get ready for the next long day. Those who couldn’t make it on Friday went on Saturday right after they arrived to the windy city of Chicago.

Chicago 5k – October 6th

As the name implies, the International Chicago 5K race highlights all the different countries that come to Chicago for the weekend. It’s an amazing idea and one that is further emphasized by the participant’s home country flag on the 5K bib, if they chose to have one. The diversity in the group was shown by American, Albanian, and Mexican flags. A big congratulations to our runners who represented their country and our club: Jessica Peralta, Nicholas Rachowicz (one of our members from St. Louis!), Ivelisse Ureña, Michael Tan, Elsie Alonso, Carolina Fuentes, Jonela Molla, and Isabelle Malave!

A few of a the participants of the International Chicago 5K race

It was a hectic morning as heavy rain and thunder made commuting to the start line tough. We received notifications that the Event Alert System (EAS) color was red, signifying potentially dangerous conditions. So, we waited out the rain under shelter and about 20 minutes past the original start time, the 5K race went off. This year, the race was held exclusively on the streets in the Loop of Chicago, as opposed to the last two years when the course went into Millennium Park.

The plan for the morning was to cheer the runners at mile 1 and mile 3, the latter location looped so we managed to see them twice at the same spot. We lost our voices, especially Dyrlee, as we cheered loudly not just for our teammates but for everyone. When we saw someone ready to walk, we pushed them to keep going just for a little bit more until the finish line. From babies to the elderly, it was inspiring to see everyone in the morning finish the 5K.

We got plenty of smiles and high fives from everyone and thanks from the last runner of the race. We witnessed PRs being made, a lovely moment between Jose and Isabelle, teammates being surprised by how well they did, and we even made friends with many runners who stopped by to take pictures with us!

QDR group picture after the International Chicago 5K



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Peak happiness 💕 • 📸: @dyrlita • • • • • • #chicago5k #chicago #runners #bae #loverslovin #roadrace

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Marathon – October 7th

Morning of the race! Group meet-up between Gate 4 and 5!

Feeding off the excitement from the previous day, we met up at the entrance to Millennium Park early morning for a quick team picture before we went to our corrals to get ready to race. Even though Millennium Park is big, it was easy to get around from the entrance to the gear check area to the corrals. At 7:30AM the gun went off, the nerves went away, and the race began.

Early on during the Chicago Marathon. Photos courtesy of Li.

As previously mentioned, we had over 20 QDR members running the race! That’s the biggest number of members we’ve had at a World Marathon Major race that isn’t the TCS NYC Marathon, where we have over 100 members running! It was truly a spectacle to witness the race unfold for all our teammates. It’s a marathon and as we all know, anything can happen in a marathon. We can feel really great that day and run better than we expected, or we can have a crummy day and fade out. Regardless, every runner who expected to finish, finished, and each has a story to tell. But, if you ask any of them, and we encourage you to ask, it was a race they won’t forget.

Close to the finish line of the Chicago Marathon. Photos courtesy of Li.

The QDR Athletes

Queens Distance had runners of all paces and all with different goals. Whether it was to qualify for Boston, get a sub-3, sub-4, to pace, or just to finish after recently being injured, we’re very proud of every one.

A small selection of finisher photos

There are more photos on our Facebook and Instagram accounts so make sure to check them out, as well as individual runner’s accounts.

Congrats to all our runners for the Chicago Marathon: the twins Lorenzo de la Cruz and Nicolas de la Cruz, Dyrlee Sanmiguel, Rosie Rosario, Victor Fajardo, Shahidah Hamlett, Julie Tran, Martha Panora, Dignangely Jimenez, Tony Wang, Michael Tan, Evelyn Wong, Albert Tan, Jose Donado, and Rene Cuahuizo. We had friends of QDR join us like James Liu and Sean Forrestel. We’d also like to congratulate Bevin Bullock and Harry Cheung who both ran their sub-4 hour goal, Nick Deuz who PR-ed by over an hour and 15 minutes, Frank Poline who ran a Boston Marathon qualifying time and a PR by 33 minutes, and Eric Morris and Daniel Rivera who both ran under 3 hours. Daniel was also the fastest of the day coming in at 2:49:11! Big thanks to Peter Ciaccia and Michael Capiraso who recognized the gold singlets at the finish line and greeted us.


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Meet Danny Rivera @danny.ocean. Yesterday, at 7:30AM, Danny went out for a 🏃🏻through the City of Chicago that came to it’s conclusion at 10:19AM. (2:49:11) 🏅 Danny, a Native of Jackson Heights, Queens, works as a Nurse and had to fit 80+ Mile Weeks into his schedule. On his own time, Danny would venture out to Team Practices in support of teammates. If you check our “Race Recaps and Stories”, you’ll usually spot Danny close to the edge of the course, raising his voice for teammates and the Running Community. 🦄 At 9PM, it was another Day at the Office as Danny clocked in for his shift with the run of his life under his belt. A Blue Collar, hard working and fully spirited Queens Distance Runner if we have ever had one! #queensdistance #hischicagomarathon #bostonqualifier #sub3hourmarathon #runners #itsinqueens #chicago #madeinqueens #humansofny #training #marathoner

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Maria Wong, Edwin Guzman, and Kevin Montalvo, the three co-founders, worked together for the majority of the marathon until Kevin felt pain in his foot and dropped out. Not to worry! Kevin was otherwise feeling well throughout the race and expected that to happen at some point. Even though Maria’s goal wasn’t met, as she pointed out, “I just wanted to thank everyone who tracked, cheered, or reached out to me. I got so many messages in the days leading up to today. A special shoutout to my husband Kevin and my brother from another mother Edwin; they both selflessly led me, partially and fully, to my first Chicago Marathon finish. I did have some tummy troubles and had to grit through to the end. I am not disappointed or sad. I actually am at peace with it because I had all of your wonderful thoughts and words with me. Thanks again.”

The three QDR Co-founders

QDR Scream Station

The two Scream Station leaders for the morning!

The morning of the Chicago Marathon was a special one, but one that would not have been what it was without the QDR Scream Station. The day before we organized where and when our teammates would meet up so that they could have good spectating sights, but also cheer for us. This year, we had three QDR scream stations led by Jess and Jona. The first two were early on in the Marathon at miles 3 and 12 and the third scream station was at mile 25, right before the end. With the cheer squad at those locations, our runners got the most out of the cheers, and the cheer squad was also able to easily maneuver between them in the city. Even though we had those sites in mind, some members decided to go to their spectating location of choice, which worked out so well as we were able to hear cheers all throughout the race!

Separate Scream Station locations but familiar faces

Many of them went with us early morning to drop us off, some carried our bags, and best of all, they all brought a great attitude. We truly and deeply appreciate all the time they used to be out there for us. A big thank you to Jona, Jess, Li (Harry’s girlfriend who will soon be part of our team), Nicholas, David Dominguez (who unfortunately had to defer this year’s Chicago Marathon), Ivelisse, Isabelle, Elsie, Rachel Morris (Eric’s wife), and Martha’s cousin Johnny and niece Diana, all of whom helped us cross the finish line.

Next Year

Martha being helped by her niece at mile 25

You can bet we will be out here next year after weeks of training to show our best on the streets of Chicago. For now, we will take this incredible momentum we have into our very own TCS NYC Marathon and into other fall marathons. See you out on the road and remember to always spread the love when running.


Queens Distance