Their eyes on the prize

Their eyes on the prize

What fitness goals do you have for 2018? Maybe it’s running a half marathon or marathon at the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, committing to strength training or taking up a new sport.

Now is the time to think about what you want to accomplish in the coming year. The following are the 2018 fitness goals for some area athletes. Maybe they’ll inspire you to make some big plans for the year.


Blog PhotoMike Lindemann, a runner, the co-director of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon and the Parkland College women’s basketball coach:

My fitness goal at this stage is to be able to work out, mainly running, to kept my mental sharpness. I am able to get my day started with a run to collect my thoughts on everything I need to accomplish at home, work, marathon, coaching for the day. I feel like every morning that I get a good workout, my days go much better than if I don't work out. I guess doing this for over 40 years will put you in this mind-set.


Blog PhotoShanice Garbutt, a cross-country and track runner for Danville High School who was third at the state 2A cross-country meet this fall and will run for the University of Illinois next year:

My top goal going into next year is to increase my core strength. Hopefully a stronger core will translate into better posture and an overall improvement in speed.


Blog PhotoBruce Hajek, a triathlete who has completed 16 Ironman races, including the Ironman World Championship race in Hawaii in October:First, I’d like to do well enough in a marathon, specifically the Illinois Marathon in April, to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I feel it is in reach and I’ve come close recently, but for one reason or another it has been eluding me. I think the key is mobility, core strength and running form, including cadence, with a moderate amount of speed and hill workouts. It is an interesting puzzle to be strong through an entire marathon at race pace.

Secondly, I have a goal of running strong as part of a six-person relay team for the GO! Missouri KT82 Trail Relay in June. Our team, organized by my daughter Brittany Scheid and including my wife, Beth Scheid, is called the Trail Gaiters, and the plan is to cover 82 miles of the scenic Katy Trail in around 12 hours.

Finally, I’d like to have a great performance in the Ironman triathlon in Madison, Wis., in September. The 60,000 spectators at Madison, along with the scenic course, are inspiring.


Blog PhotoAmanda McGrory, a Paralympian, a member of the UI wheelchair road racing team and a marathoner who this year won the women’s wheelchair division at the Tokyo Marathon and finished second in her division at the Boston, London and Chicago marathons and third at the New York City Marathon:

I plan on focusing on road racing for the 2018 season, mainly the World Marathon Majors (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, NYC). After a few years without a big win, and more than a few off-podium finishes, I'm really happy with my 2017 season. I started out 2017 with a big win in Tokyo in February and finished out the season with a podium finish at every other race (with the exception of Berlin -- I ended up canceling at the last minute due to an airline bankruptcy). I'd really like to take that momentum and run with it. I'm aiming for another season of top three finishes at all the major races, and (hopefully) another big win in either London or Chicago.


Blog PhotoEma Rajic, a swimmer for Urbana Uni High who won state titles in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley during her junior and senior years and will swim for the University of California next year:

A big fitness goal I have for this year may seem a little underwhelming but is definitely important. I'm a pretty naturally inflexible person and it affects my swimming a lot. My goal this year is to really start focusing on stretching a lot more and body rolling. By doing so, it helps me recover and prep for the next workout so I can swim more intensely than if I hadn't stretched. It may seem trivial but it will also help prevent injuries and cramps during practice.


Blog PhotoJan Seeley, a runner and the co-director of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon:

Recover from my current injury, get back on the roads and build up my training so I can run the St. Jude Memphis Marathon next December.


Jodi Heckel, a writer for the University of Illinois News Bureau, is a runner, swimmer and triathlete. You can email her at, or follow her at Her blog is at

 Photos: Mike Lindemann photo by Holly Hart/The News-Gazette; Shanice Garbutt photo by Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette; Bruce Hajek photo by; Amanda McGrory (on the right) photo by Seth Wenig/AP; Ema Rajic photo by Heather Coit/The News-Gazette; Jan Seeley photo by Heather Coit/The News-Gazette.

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