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Runners prepping to take on Chicago Marathon



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Preparing to run in the Oct. 9 Chicago Marathon are Oxford residents (from left) Jason Bailey, Jill Kopec, Hillary Jacobsen, Paula Lanni, Gayle Bailey, Renee Mirovsky, Kim Vican and Angelo Lanni. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
July 27, 2011 - A group of eight Oxford Township residents are training for the biggest run of their lives – the Chicago Marathon.

"It's something I wanted to do before I turned 40 – cross that one off my bucket list," said Kim Vican, 39, who's part of a group of female runners who call themselves the Wolf Pack.

This pack includes Gayle Bailey, Paula Lanni, Hillary Jacobsen, Jill Kopec, Renee Mirovsky and Vican.

All of them are residents of Waterstone's Lake Ridge subdivision and in their 30s.

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"We've been doing races together for a couple years," said Vican, noting they've run 5-kilometer events, the 10-mile event in the Crim Festival of Races and the Brooksie Way, which is a half marathon (13.1).

"We've never run a full marathon together. This is something we all wanted to try to do. It's just our next goal."

Two of the ladies' husbands, Angelo Lanni and Jason Bailey, will be joining the Wolf Pack in the Chicago Marathon, a 26.2 mile annual race scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9.

Both men ran last year's marathon.

The Wolf Pack is already six weeks into an 18-week training regimen. Each week the group runs three days, then spends two days doing cross-training such as bicycling, swimming or yoga.

All of their running is done along the Polly Ann Trail between Oxford and Leonard.

Two days are spent running 50 minutes each, which equals about 5 miles a day. The third day is the "long run," which is progressively increasing in distance.

"We started off at 9 miles and now, we're up to 14," Vican said. "It will just increase as we're training. We'll get up to 20 miles and that's the limit."

For the swimming portion of their training, the Wolf Pack uses one of Waterstone's many beautiful lakes.

Vican noted she will run the Chicago Marathon in honor of her stepfather Ken Bimer, of West Bloomfield, who is battling cancer.

Kopec is running for the American Lung Association (ALA) in memory of her grandfather, Ralph Witkowski, who died of emphysema two years ago. "It was exhausting for him just to get up in the morning and walk into the living room," she said.

Kopec also chose this charity because she suffers from asthma. So far, she's raised $356 of her $1,200 goal. To make a donation, visit action.lungusa.org/goto/jill.kopec.

Vican predicted completing the marathon is going to be an exhausting experience both emotionally and physically.

"I'll probably fall down on my knees and cry or crawl across the finish line," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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