Competitive Running in Chicago


Running 26.2 miles can be pretty daunting, exciting or unexpected depending how you look at it.

High school math teacher and New Balance Chicago Racing Team member Kristen Heckert, 26, has completed two Chicago marathons. Ms. Heckert was also the first female finisher in Illinois last year. She also took second place for women in the Chicago half marathon. This woman is fast, and one to watch for sure.

Her eye is currently on the starting line of the Chicago Marathon which takes place on Sunday, October 13. “I run competitively for New Balance Chicago, road racing. I am competitive locally; running 2:47.54 in the Chicago marathon last year and looking to qualify for the Olympic trials for 2016,” says Ms. Hekert, who’s from Lisle. She lives a pretty busy life between work and training, she is a teacher and cross country coach at Plainfield South High School. Here is a look at one of her weeks while training.

Monday – Easy 12-mile run with the Plainfield South cross-country team, followed by 5-minute abs

Tuesday – 2:30PM practice, work out with the Plainfield South girls cross team, run about 6 miles followed by an abdominal workout. Head home after practice and run 9 miles easy

Wednesday – 4AM wake up; run 5 miles before school; 2:30PM practice; 5 easy miles with the girls; abs

Thursday – off day

Friday – 4AM wake up; 5 miles before school; 2:30PM practice, 5 easy miles with girls and abs, get work done at school leave at 6:30PM

Saturday – Run about 10 miles with a hill work out in the morning

Sunday – 6AM wake up; long run with New Balance Chicago Racing Team; 20-plus mile run with a work out containing a tempo at goal marathon pace.

Weekly total: 80-90 miles

“I’m a very fortunate person,” admits Ms Heckert. “I love my job, and being the girls cross country coach, as well as being able to still compete in my passion, running. I run fall marathons so I can train intensely over the summer,”she says, adding that in order to train the way she does and compete, it takes a support system. “From my supportive parents, brother and sister-in-law to my loving boyfriend and dogs to my supportive friends who don’t see me from August to October, to the New Balance Chicago family who support me and make sure I have the equipment I need to race.” As Ms. Heckert competes in her third Chicago Marathon, it will be great to see what this amazing woman can accomplish next.

If you are interested in finding out more about the New Balance Chicago Racing Team please contact Michael Lucchesi at or by calling the Oakbrook location at 630-782-6730 or the Lincoln Park location  773-348-1787.

Christine Bachman

About Christine Bachman

Christine Bachman is founder and president of Plan It PR, a public relations and marketing firm. The mother of five shares tips and survival stories in “Play Dates and Power Lunches.” Ms. Bachman started working public relations after a long career in broadcast journalism, which included work as a television anchor, reporter and producer.