The Starting Line
Brandon Smith of Mahomet doesn't mind running in the heat and the sun. He usually runs the Freedom 5K on the Fourth of July and is one of the top finishers. He's run the Mahomet Half Marathon on country roads through cornfields in mid-August. And he ran the Lake Mingo Trail Run in Kennekuk County Park earlier this month in 90-degree heat.
The evening of the full moon in May offered something of a family adventure for Stephen Wald of Urbana, his wife Rachel Whitaker and their sons, 9-year-old Jesse and 7-year-old Peter. They biked along country roads under the moonlight with a large group of cyclists, with the boys fueled by the anticipation of ice cream and staying up late.
Martin Gruebele has ridden thousands of miles to prepare for the Race Across America, the 3,000-mile bike race he'll begin in two weeks.
But the key to finishing the race is not just the training he's done or how strong his legs are. It is the careful planning of every detail surrounding the nearly 10 days it will take him to ride from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md.
Peg Stierwalt grew up surrounded by cornfields, not water. But she's become passionate about the water sports of stand-up paddleboarding and paddleboard yoga.
The Tolono woman first tried stand-up paddleboarding in February 2015 while visiting friends in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. They paddled on canals in the area. "It was a very fun Florida thing to do," Stierwalt said.
Lorrie Pearson started bike commuting 10 years ago, on Bike to Work Day. She was living in the Washington, D.C., area at the time, and she worked for an organization that was helping plan Bike to Work activities.
"We were encouraged to participate. I thought, if I can do this one day, I can do it again," Pearson said.