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Peoria father and daughter training for the Chicago Marathon together

They've always been close but there is something more special about training for their first marathon together.

PEORIA, Ariz. — The Chicago Marathon is one of the biggest marathons in the world and Wally Johns and his daughter Maryann Loya are going to make a run for it.     

Running is a big deal in Wally and MaryAnn’s family.

“In the holidays we do runs as a family. Thanksgiving runs, Christmas runs,” said Loya.

“5ks, 10ks, half-marathons sometimes,” said Johns.

This father-daughter duo is training for the upcoming Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 10.

Maryann fell in love with running about four years ago while trying to get back in shape after her daughter was born.

“I train four days a week, I run. I do cross-training one day a week and Sunday is reserved for my long run,” said Loya.

Johns, on the other hand, has been running most of his life.

The 71-year-old has completed seven Ironmans – the ultimate endurance event that includes swimming, biking and ends with a marathon all in the same day.

“I love being active,” he said.

The Chicago Marathon will be their first marathon together. It also holds a special place in their hearts. Wally grew up in Chicago and met his wife there. They’ll have family and friends out cheering them on.

“Our plan is to run our race and if we’re together, we’re together but if not, we’ll finish at the time each of us finish and we’ll see each other at the finish. Who will finish first, we don’t know,” said Loya with a chuckle.

They’ve always been close but there is something about training together for a 26.2-mile run that’s a little more special.

“You don’t quite understand it until you actually train for one. So, just doing that together is really neat,” she said.

“And it’s just fun to do stuff together. It’s easier to train with somebody than it is to train alone,” said Johns.

So, what will happen when they cross the finish line?

“A Chicago pizza and a beer,” said Loya.

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