Born in Israel and raised in America, Alona is the first child of three girls born to an American mother and an Israeli father. She devotes many hours to training and runs between 60-80 miles a week. Her goal is to run the Chicago Marathon in under three hours, and in the next two years hopes to lower that time to an Olympic Marathon Trials qualification time of 2:46.

Alona is relatively new to racing and running. After dancing and participating in synchronized swimming during high school, she took up running recreationally to stay in shape and relieve stress. In 2007, she decided to give competitive racing a try—success rapidly followed.  In 2008, she started working with Coach Mike Egle and was invited to join the Dick Pond Fast Track Saucony Racing Team and won 8 road races in 2008.  After a setback in 2009 due to injury, she is back in 2010 to give the roads another try.

Banai works at Loyola University Chicago, as the Solutions to Environmental Problems (STEP) Program Coordinator in the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP). She teaches an upper-level undergraduate course and is responsible for various sustainability related outreach projects. Alona received her M.S. in Plant Biology and Conservation from Northwestern University in 2008 and her B.A. in Environmental Science and Hebrew from Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently coached by U.S. Olympian (and 1996 Trials winner) Jenny Spangler and lives in Oak Park, IL with her family.


Endurance athletes are known for their large appetites. Claudia Becque has a hunger that just won’t stop and can’t be satisfied by carbs alone. She got a taste at the 2008 U.S. Marathon Team Olympic Trials and can’t wait for seconds.

Becque, who came to running only after trying every other sport imaginable, gathered four All-State titles in both cross country and track while attending Palatine High School. A former runner for Marquette University, Becque continued her running career after graduation by joining the Fleet Feet Racing Team of Chicago.


Beth ran Division I Cross country and Track at Loyola University Chicago. By the end of her college career, she was burned out and sick of everything to do with organized running. After taking a long break (plus a soccer incident that left her with a bunch of metal in her ankle), Beth found that she missed the challenges and rewards of running. She joined the Fleet Feet racing team and ended up as the 2004 CARA Runner of the Year.


Christina Overbeck grew up in Seattle, Washington, where she was an avid soccer player who ran to keep in shape. Although she had never run cross-country, her high school track coach encouraged her to try out for the team at Calvin College. She thought the idea was crazy but noticed that the first race was in her hometown, meaning a free trip home if she made the team (which she did.)

Although Christina initially didn’t like racing, she slowly began falling in love with the sport—by her junior year, she was hooked. That year she won 6th place at Nationals in cross-country (the team won third) and 5th place at Nationals in the 10k during track season, earning her All-American honors in both events. She broke the school record in the 10k in her senior year at Calvin.

Christina has a Mechanical Engineering degree and her passion for running and racing has only increased. She loves the unique variety of races available in Chicago and the great running community. She is very excited to try to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon—especially with friends to train and dream with!

STEPHEN D. ZEPEDA – Production Photographer

Stephen is a runner, cyclist, marathoner and traveler of the world. He is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys nature and everything that it has to offer. He believes in humanity, and leaves his house when adventure beckons.

Stephen first started shooting while traveling the United States following marathons and doing marketing for Crocs. He then moved to Chicago and purchased his first Digital SLR camera. “I’ve been addicted to the ‘click’ ever since!”


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