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Athlete Stories

Poska Family Half Marathon Story

Bringing family together and running where her husband was born and raised, California native Kimberly Valentine-Poska and her son Matthew Poska will be running the Chicago Half Marathon to keep Freddie Poska’s memory alive. 

Athletics has been a huge part of Kimberly’s life, as she grew up playing various sports and competing in triathlons/running races. Despite all the competition, Valentine-Poska has never run a half marathon before. She said, “Running this was my son’s idea, but I said, “Okay, let’s give it a go!””

Staying active has always been Kimberly and Matthew’s mother-son bonding activity. The two often go on runs, hikes, and spend time together outdoors. Now a student at the University of Illinois, Matthew said, “Being at college I’m away from home a lot, but running has been something for me and my mom to do together.” Playing sports with his parents since he was a kid, he said their mutual passion always gave them a shared experience to talk about.

“It’s fun, when your kid enters college and you don’t see them as much, but you can share experiences like this with them,” Kimberly said. 

Kimberly said her husband Fred was a great athlete and loved his home city of Chicago, so it’s extra special to be back in his hometown to compete in the race. “Fred was Chicago, and Chicago was Fred,” she said. “This city will always hold a special place in my heart, so to be there and do my first half marathon with my son is something I feel incredibly proud of.” Kimberly and Matthew plan to spend their weekend outside of the race visiting friends and loved ones, telling stories and keeping Freddie’s memory alive.

The duo have been going on runs to train, but with their busy work and college schedules, their main goal for the race is completion and to have a good time doing it. Kimberly said her best advice for other busy runners aiming to take on a race is, “Take it one day at a time, and set goals for yourself. Stay focused on the objective but know that some days you won’t be able to train, and that’s okay.”

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