Multiple sets of twins, triplets take part in marathon
CHAMPAIGN — Jason and Nathan Landes grew up in Paris.
Both became music teachers, both have young families and both are running the Christie Clinic Illinois Half-Marathon.
They're one of nine sets of twins running the half-marathon today.
Which Landes will come in first?
"I have more of a history of running from high school, but Jason beat me last year by 2 or 3 minutes," said Nathan Landes, who lives in Highland Park and teaches choir at New Trier High School.
Jason — who teaches band at University High School in Normal — is wary of his brother this year.
"He hasn't beaten me yet, but he's been training pretty hard this year," Jason said. "I'll be happy to just keep up with him."
The 38-year-old identical twins say they plan to stick together for most of the race. Nathan said they hope to run the 13.1 miles at a pace of 8 to 9 minutes a mile.
"If we're under two hours, we'll be happy," he said.
Jason ran the initial Illinois Half-Marathon in 2009, sat out in 2010 and enlisted his brother in 2011.
"Last year, we ran it and had a good time running together," Nathan said. "It was so fun, we wanted to do it again this year."
Being twins who live in different cities, the Landeses said the Illinois Half-Marathon is a bond that brings them together.
"The Champaign venue is such a great place to run. It's so much fun to have a twin brother so we can share the experience together," Jason said.
Here's a look at some of the other twins and triplets running today:
The Pomykalas: Experienced marathoners
For the Pomykala twins, running the Illinois Marathon won't be a new experience.
They've run the 26.2-miler all four years, and this will be the 25th marathon the 50-year-old brothers have run together.
William Pomykala of New Lenox, a mold repairman for Panduit Corp., expects to run his 48th marathon today. Bob Pomykala of Belvidere, an art teacher at Marengo High School who coaches soccer, said he'll be running his 44th.
It's a toss-up who will finish first.
"It really varies," Bob said. "Usually we finish close. Sometimes we finish together."
Generally, they run together until mile 20, and sometimes one brother has more energy for the finish, he said.
"We'll probably take between 4 hours 30 minutes and 5 hours," he said.
One tradition they hope to uphold while in town: eating at Hickory River Smokehouse in Urbana.
Both brothers were wrestlers when in high school.
"It's tough to wrestle when you're 50. It's easier to run a marathon," Bob said. "My goal is to run one when I'm 70. It's a nice way to spend a Saturday."
The Kirbys: Running to keep in shape
Mandy and Megan Kirby of Urbana ran the Illinois Half-Marathon for the first time last year, along with other relatives.
"We both played sports at Illinois Central College," Mandy said. "Last year we transferred to ISU (Illinois State University). We weren't playing any sports and were looking for something fun to do to help keep in shape."
Megan said the 22-year-old sisters are competitive. "We usually don't wait for each other — whoever can finish first," she said.
Last year, Mandy broke two hours, finishing in 1 hour 58 minutes, while Megan's time topped 2 hours.
Mandy said she hasn't trained as well this year, but still thinks she can beat her sister.
"I usually come out on top," she said.
But in their first "race," Megan finished first. She was born a minute before Mandy.
The Wallons: 'Always competition between us'
Steve Wallon of Urbana is coming off a cold, so he's not sure he can achieve his goal of completing the half-marathon in less than two hours.
"Ideally, it'd be nice to finish right now," he said.
But he thinks his twin brother, Robert, may finish faster.
"There's always competition between us," Steve said. "He might be in better condition, since he coaches soccer and wrestling at the high school level and is out with some of the younger kids."
The brothers, now 26, ran cross-country in high school. They've run a couple races with each other since then. Originally from Lemont, both are University of Illinois grads.
Steve now works on campus doing research on energy-efficient buildings, while Rob teaches science at Morris High School.
Rob says Steve was the first of the two to register for the half-marathon. Rob signed up later.
"I thought it would be fun and get me in better shape — I've got a wedding coming up," Rob said, noting the ceremony will be June 9.
Steve said he may start the race with his brother, but doesn't know if they'll finish together.
"It would be nice to come in at the same time at the finish," he said. "I'll try to stick with him as much as I can. I gotta think positive."
Rob agrees he's probably the favorite going in.
"I've been able to train a little more," he said. "Where we part ways is the question."
The Hatchels: Walking and running with Mom
One set of triplets was registered for Friday's Illinois 5K race. Twelve-year-old Seth, Shelby and Sydney Hatchel of Tolono planned to run — and walk — the course with their mother, Marsha, and some of her friends.
Each of the triplets has specific interests, according to Shelby. She's involved in chorus. Sydney plays flute in band. Seth likes video games and radio-controlled cars.
They've run the kids' race before, but this would be the first time the triplets have tried the 5K, Shelby said.
"Sydney is the fastest," Shelby said. Each triplet would probably set his or her own pace, she added. But they'd likely stay close to Mom, who planned to do more walking than running.
By the numbers
Of the 22 sets of twins and triplets registered for the races:
- Three sets of twins are running the full marathon.
- Nine sets of twins are running the half-marathon.
- Five sets of twins and one set of triplets were running the 5K.
- Two sets of twins have one sibling running the full marathon and the other running the half.
- One set of twins has one sibling running the half and the other running the 5K.
- One set of twins has one sibling running the full marathon and the other running the 5K.