Photo by Jeff Vorva
Chicago Ridge's Roberto Ortega
Chicago Ridge’s Roberto Ortega and Oak Lawn’s Dan Regalado kept their hot running streaks alive over the weekend.
Ortega won his second race in as many weekends as he claimed the championship in the 10K race portion of the ninth Southwest Half Marathon and 10K event, sponsored by Palos Hospital and CNB Bank, in Palos Heights on Sunday. He won with a time of 38 minutes, 28 seconds.
That comes on the heels of winning the first Our Lady of the Ridge 5K event in his home town on April 23, in which he ran a time of 19:41.
“I’m on a nice run,” the 33-year old Ortega said. “I hope to keep it going.
The Southwest event has produced nine half marathons and three 10K runs and Ortega is just the second person from the Reporter/Regional area to win a race. Orland Park’s Jennifer Digiacomo was the overall women’s winner for the 2010 half marathon with a record 1:12:43.
Ortega attended Oak Lawn Community High School, where he said he played soccer and wrestled. Running didn’t come until recently.
“I was overweight and wanted to get back into shape and I got addicted to running,’’ he said.
Regalado is also on a streak. The 29-year-old won the Aurelio’s Pizza Frankfort Half Marathon Saturday with a time of 1:16:34. Another Oak Lawn runner and former Marist and St. Xavier University standout, Roy Witty, finished second with a 1:17.26.
It’s just the second year of the Frankfort race, and Regalado has won both of them. He was coming off a 2:44.35 showing at the Boston Marathon, good for 254th place.
“That was challenging,” he said. “It is as hard as everyone says it is. It’s downhill the whole first half and then it’s uphill the rest of the way.’’
Regalado finished 155th overall in the Chicago Marathon in October with a time of 2:37:33 after finishing 290th there in 2014.
The overall Palos half marathon winner was Oakwood Hills’ Ryan Giuliano, with a 1:09:44.
Guiliano becomes the second athlete to win multiple half marathons in Palos Heights. He also won in 2014 and his wife, Jacqui, won in 2013. Kenya’s Matthew Chesang won in 2008 and 2010.
The 31-year-old Guiliano did not have an easy time in Sunday’s run.
“It was tough,” he said. “Right now I’m in a big training block – I am doing an Ironman in two weeks in Texas. I am at the tail end of my training so coming in I was tired. In the second half of the run, I was really hurting. I had to dig a little deep. It was nice to win and there were nice running conditions, too.’’
Chicago’s Wendy Jaehn, 41, was the overall women’s winner with a 1:23:25.
The native of Rochester, New York who ran for Cornell University said that she was away from the sport for more than a decade but re-connected with it a few years ago.
“I started running for my own sanity again,” she said.
Another Chicago resident, Veronica Laureano, was the top overall female finisher in the 10K.
Chicago’s Chuck Aron, the 70-year-old who was running in his 14th out of 73 races raising money for Alzheimer’s awareness in the memory of his brother-in-law Paul Bracken, finished 249th in the 10K.
There were 642 runners who finished the half-marathon and 292 who finished the 10K.