Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I've been running around a lot lately. Sorry for not posting so much. That is about to change. I hope you all have great New Year's celebrations. Stay safe, and I'll see you in 2009. Best of luck to New Year's Run participants.

Friday, December 26, 2008

March Madness in December!

As we all know, the March Madness Half-Marathon in Cary always fills in a day or two. This year, registration opens on Dec. 31 for the cultish event that is scheduled to be run on March 15, four weeks-plus before Boston. It is a perfect tuneup in many ways for the Patriots Day run. However, it also can beat you up and leave you flat. So do I run it or do I not run it? Complicating things is the possibility the race will be named to CARA's new Runner's Choice Series, which is replacing the CARA Circuit. The problem with that is the new Series likely won't be announced until the first week of January, which means the race could be filled before the Series is even announced (there usually is a 1,000-runner limit). Nothing is ever simple anymore! What's a crazed runner to do? I guess I'll eat some holiday chocolate and head out into the ice and slush for a run!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Marathoner Might Switch to XC Ski Racing

Most of you know I love to run, but I also love to cross-country ski, and when I'm healthy, I do several XC ski marathons each winter. So, as a bit of winter lust, I pass along this story from the Times of London. It's about British marathoner Mara (nice name!) Yamauchi seriously considering switching to cross-country skiing. As background, I point out to all you young runners that Grete Waitz, Joan Benoit and Ingrid Kristiansen all were strong cross-country skiers. OK, here's the story:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/athletics/article5315934.ece

Want to try a local XC Ski race? Try the Northern Illinois Nordic on Jan. 10. Here's the skinny:
http://www.signmeup.com/62824

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No B.A.A Humbug Here!

Well, after some consternation because of an ongoing rotator-cuff injury that is wreaking havoc with my cross-country ski season, I signed up for the B.A.A. Boston Marathon today. There's no turning back now, and I have good incentive to be running out in the snow to build my base. If all goes well, this will be No. 5 for me at Beantown. My last time there was 2003 when temps hit 86 degrees. It was not pretty. That race is all about hills. I have been working out on the streets of Glen Ellyn, where there are plenty of ups and downs. You know I'll be doing some XC skiing as well, probably with one arm. Have a great week!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Favela Blows 'Em Away in Vegas


Thanks to a tip from fellow writer and blogger Brenda Barrera (Chicago Running Examiner), I can report (belatedly) that Cicero's Emisael Favela, 31, won the Las Vegas Half-Marathon Dec. 7 in a swift time of 1:09:48. Second place was Jake Puzey, 26, of Hermiston, Ore. in 1:12:38. No contest! Emisael topped a finishing field of 11,260. Way to go!! Now, he can run in the slop again with the rest of us winter warriors! That's Emisael in the photo, but not in Las Vegas. He is shown at last summer's Xtreme 10-miler.

Flanagan 9th at Foot Locker

Chicago Sun-Times-Tina Akouris

Lake Park's Lindsay Flanagan, the Class 3A state champion, finished ninth on at the 30th annual Foot Locker Cross-Country National Championships Saturday in San Diego. Flanagan ran the three-mile course in 17:50. In the boys race, Neuqua Valley's Danny Pawola was 13th in 15:46, and York's Steve Sulkin finished 23rd over three miles.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jonaitis Comes Up Big

Jeff Jonaitis, 27, of Tinley Park won the Memphis St. Jude Marathon on Saturday, posting a 2:19:47. What a great effort from a dedicated Chicago-area runner. He was first in a field of 2,213 finishers. This is proof we can produce great runners in the Chicago area. It just takes some work. Hats off to Jeff.

Elmhurst (York) Boys Second, Geneva Girls 17th

I'm on a library computer in Eagle River, Wis., so I have no time. York (Elmhurst XC Club) ran second to North Spokane XC Club, 134 to 151 on Saturday at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore. Naperville XC Club was third at 195 -- not a bad showing for Illinois schools! York"s Jordan Hebert was 8th in 15:28.60 and Steve Sulkin was 14th in 15:36.2. Geneva's girls placed 17th on the girls side. Lake Park's Lindsay Flanagan was 5th girl overall. Congrats to all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

CARA Circuit Voting Ends Dec. 5 (Today!)

Do you care about which races are on the CARA Circuit? Voting for the 2009 Runners' Choice Series (replacing the "Circuit") ends on Friday. If you are a CARA member and haven't voted, I encourage you to vote. People have no right to complain about which races get on if they don't exercise their right to vote.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Break Out The Yak-Traks!

I absolutely love winter running, and specifically, running in snow. So I really enjoyed my little three-miler tonight on the Prairie Path in Villa Park. I did NOT have any Yak-Traks on, so I took it slowly but surely. All the Christmas trees were lit up along the path, the snow was fresh and clean, and there was no upcoming race to worry about. What a great day to run! Hope you all enjoy the winter outdoors as much as I do.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hot to Trot? Gobble On!

Well, you know as much as I do that there is an abundance of turkey trots around the Chicago area tomorrow. From Lincoln Park to Naperville to Elmhurst, they're big and for worthy causes (feeding people in need). I will be out of state, so I won't be running locally this year. If I had to pick a personal favorite, it would be a tie between Naperville and Downers Grove. Naperville is faster, but DG has hills, which make it more interesting. Elmhurst is closer, but too unstructured for me. Check out the Chicago Athlete calendar for times and places. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

CARA Circuit: This is the Week (Updated)

QUICK UPDATE ON TUESDAY, NOV. 25: CARA has sent out a survey to its members asking them to vote on their favorite races. This is to determine which races will be on the new Runners' Choice Race Series, which will replace the CARA Competitive Circuit. Deadline for voting (members only) is Dec. 5. Comments???

(Previous post) The future of the CARA Circuit is on many minds, including those of runners and race directors. We should get a hint of what is to unfold before this week is out. Undoubtedly, the landscape will be changing. Whatever happens, I just want it to happen soon. Planning a CARA Circuit race such as the 4 on the 4th (in my case) or others does not happen overnight, particularly in this economy. Runners planning their racing seasons around marathons, triathlons etc. need to know the Circuit schedule. Everyone needs to know what's going on very soon. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not Bad for November

It's days like this when you need to carve out some time for a run. I'm doing just that right now before I head in to work. I'm happy for the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot today. They have great weather for a field that should top 1,200 total for the 10K and 5K races. As they say, seize the day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Your Bib, Period!

For the second year in a row, I have learned about a bib-and-chip-transfer situation at the Chicago Marathon that has caused hard feelings and wreaked havoc in an age group, pushing strong runners down a place for no reason other than someone's stupidity and possibly greed. This year's situation was worse because it involved prize money. Basically, what happened both years was that someone who didn't even run was listed as the age-group winner. Last year, it was in a men's age group; this year in a women's. The good news is the marathon has corrected the results for this year's snafu, but it could happen again and probably will. Besides the obvious skewing of the results by undeserving runners who allowed someone else, younger and faster, to use his or her race number, there are other issues. First and foremost is the integrity of runners, and ultimately of the event itself. You don't give your race number to someone else, period!! Second, there is the injury and liability situation. What if you have someone else's bib on and become injured or die? Don't want to go there? I didn't think so. And what about the race being liable for your safety, providing you drinks, medical help etc., when it turns out you aren't even registered? Enough's enough. Next time someone can't run and offers you a bib, please refuse. Under-the-radar bib transfers have been out of hand for a long time and need to stop. Just do it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nike Cross Nationals -- Midwest Focus

NOTE: York (Kroy) won the boys competition over 31 other teams with 66 points and Geneva won the girls division against 12 other teams with 61 points on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Terre Haute. Ind. For Kroy, it was revenge for the state-meet loss to Naperville North.
Kroy's seven finishers were: 1. Steve Sulkin, 15:21; 2. Jordan Herbert, 15:26; 3. 14. Adam Cecil, 16:01; 17. Jack Driggs, 16:04; 32. Andrew Smith, 16:18; 59. Brian Pollastrini, 16:42; and 69. Pat Morgan, 16:48.
Geneva's girls finished as follows: 3. Sarah Heuer, 18:50; 4. Kelly Whitley, 18:54; 8. Meghan Heuer, 19:06; 12. Lisa Tauscher, 19:12; 34. Tess Ehrhardt, 19:50; 44. Kelly Shogren, 20:00; and 46. Megan Brady, 20:01.


High school runners from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri will wake up to cold temps and hot competition on Saturday at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional in Terre Haute, Ind. Local interest is high with the Naperville North and York boys going for it againt the region's other top teams. Naperville North beat York by a single point, 84 to 85, last week in the Illinois state Class 3A finals in Peoria. That's when they peaked. It will be interesting to see how they do a week later against each other and against teams which may have had an extra week of rest. The girls competition will be heated as well. We'll try to get some results up here tomorrow sometime. Other regionals include Northeast, Southeast, South, Heartland, Southwest and Northwest.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CARA Circuit, Circa 2009 and Beyond

The Chicago Area Runners Association has been working behind the scenes to re-energize and in effect, re-invent, the CARA Circuit. Watch for CARA to roll out some new ideas to its membership for increasing interest in its competitive race series very soon. Whatever is done, it will be a tightrope to maintain high quality and increase the diversity of distances and geography while significantly raising the number of people who participate. I have always been a CARA Circuit fan. I hope it all works out for the better. As they say, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ware, Overbrook Win at Westchester

Chad Ware, 24, of Deerfield won Sunday's Westchester Veterun 10K in 31:15.4, about 19 seconds over the course record. After the first mile, Ware said he ran virtually alone in the 10K race, with only distant runner-up Sam Romanoski, 24, of Lake Zurich, putting up a chase. Ware did have the advantage of running with 5K leaders Jack Kafel and Charlie Kern for just about half of the race, and held his 5-minute-per-mile goal pace until the last couple of miles. Romanoski finished second in 32:41.6, and Joe Guinness, 23, of Chicago, placed third in a tough field, timing in at 33:12.0.
On the women's side, Christina Overbrook, 22, of Chicago, won in 37:12.8. She was followed by likely CARA female runner of the year Pam Blair, 27, of Chicago, who clocked 38:37.4, and Kate Deprosperis, 26, of Oak Brook, who posted a 39:10.0.
In the 5K, Kafel, 32, of River Forest, outlasted Kern, 39, of Elmhurst, 15:10.5 to 15:27.2. Brian Runyon, 27, of Glen Ellyn, grabbed third in 16:18. Megan Baganz, 32, of Naperville, won the women's 5K in 18:47.9. Columba Montes, 29, of Chicago, ran second with a 19:39.5, and Veronica Loureano, 24, of Chicago, placed third in 19:53.8
It was about 35 degrees at race time with pretty strong winds blowing across Mayfair Park from the northwest. This was a poly-pro, hat-gloves kind of a day, at least for me. The finale for this year's CARA Circuit was a nice 10K, not a fast one, for me, as I took off at 7-minute pace and held it through four miles, slipping to about 7:05 the last 2.2. I was well back in my age-group, taking seventh in 43:42. Hats off to my fellow age-groupers Sam Cortes, Eric Burgess and Fritz Gareis, who fought the good fight and will be on the CARA awards podium in January. It was great to see so many people I knew and to partake in the hot dogs and chicken noodle soup afterward. It also was important for me to honor veterans and soldiers who have paid the ultimate price. Check out www.racetime.info for results.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Naperville North Stuns York

Naperville North won the state boys 3A cross-country championship today in blustery Peoria, 84 points to York's 85. Naperville North, which had used York's model of not running too many meets before state competition, got a 4th place from Kyle Gibson and 9th from Dave McWilliams to lead the victory. York's Steve Sulkin and Jordan Hebert went 2-3, but it wasn't enough. Jeff Thode of Conant was state individual champ in 14:18, one second ahead of Sulkin. Up-and-coming Geneva was third with 95 points. In Class 2A, Dixon outran Belvidere North 94-97, and in Class 3A, Elmwood took away Westmont's title dreams 109-123.

On the girls side, Lake Park's Lindsay Flanagan ruled with a 16:54 to win the 3A title. Geneva blew away the competition with 51 points as Kelly Whitley and Sarah Heuer went 2-3.In 2A, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin nudged Crystal Lake Central 87-90. On a local note, Glenbard South's Karen Lipa, daughter of Elmhurst Running Club compatriot Christine Lipa, placed 10th. In 1A, Winnebago won with 115 points to runner-up Elmwood's 119.

For the full scoop, go to www.ihsa.org.

Love Those Race Names

You've got to award points for creativity this time of year. I really like names of the big races this weekend: The Hobbler Gobbler in Oswego and the Veterun in Westchester. Both events draw large turnouts. Best of luck to all. Me? Today I'm bucking the odds and putting on a small off-road roller-skiing event called the Limestone Loppet. In past years, we've had perfect, dry conditions. Not today. We'll be at McKee Marsh in DuPage County at 9 a.m. for curiosity seekers. Yes, quite a few cross-country skiers are runners. The two passions fuse into one this time of year!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Change Is In the Air

I'm not talking politics here. I'm talking weather. When the temps take a thud this weekend, dress in layers and you should be OK. The race schedule is strong this weekend, highlighted by the Westchester Veterun 10K and 5K on Sunday morning.
I'm not totally recovered from the Milwaukee Marathon, but probably will be at the starting line. I'm a veteran and I run. I guess the Veterun is a must. Meanwhile, the cross-training season has begun for me. That includes roller-skiing, and when it's warm, easy cycling. We've discovered two great trails in the past two weeks: the Virgil Gilman Trail in Kane County and the Old Plank Road Trail in Will County. Both are excellent for cycling, but paved, and maybe not good for runners who like soft surfaces. See you out on a trail or at the races. Stay warm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

York Keeps Rolling

York's boys cross-country team is a step closer to another state title after steamrolling through the Niles West Sectional on Saturday in Skokie. The Dukes won it with 34 points. Jordan Herbert and Steve Sulkin went 1-3 for York, which went 1-3-8-10-12-13-17 overall. Loyola was second with 116 and Fenwick third with 119. The York girls also stamped themselves as a team to be reckoned with, winning the sectional with 74 points. Sherya Singh was the Lady Dukes' top finisher, placing 9th. The Lady Dukes had a tight pack, going 9-12-16-18-19. All results from all sectionals, boys and girls, Classes 1-A, 2-A and 3-A can be found at www.ihsa.org.

Day of the Dead Draws Lively Crowd


The Carrera de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead 5K in Chicago, included 639 lively finishers on Saturday, led by Emisael Favela, 31, of Cicero, who paced the field in 16:16.5, slow for him, frankly. Elizabeth Engel, 34, of Chicago, was the female champ in 19:28.7.
I wasn't there, but it appears a good time was had by many. In the photo, Karl Johnson, Eileen Skisak and Al Chase (L to R) sure captured the flavor of the race, or maybe the flavor captured them!

Friday, October 31, 2008

They're No. 1!

The newest Running Times magazine Masters rankings show Nancy Rollins of Evanston No. 1 in F60-64 and Lois Gilmore of Janesville, Wis., No. 1 in F75-79. They run often on the CARA Circuit as well as in other races locally and regionally. This is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations to both!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

50/50 Runners Set to Go the Distance

The annual Chicago Lakefront 50/50 is a go for Saturday morning on the south lakefront. The 50-milers start at 6:30 a.m., the 50Kers at 8:30 a.m. Both races are three-loop affairs, starting and finishing at the 63rd St. Beachhouse. There is a 2 p.m. cutoff for runner to begin their third laps. NOTE: Race director Pat Onines could use some more volunteers. You can e-mail him directly at pat@illinoisruns.org.
Good luck to all competitors. The 50-mile division is closed, but apparently, there are spots open in the 50K. This is one of the flattest ultramarathons in the United States and people record some good times when conditions are right. Conditions look excellent for Saturday. Check out http://www.chicagoultra.org

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sycamore: A Double-Edged Sword

This 10K was a tale of two conditions. For 3.6 miles on Sunday, 1,175 of us were on a flat, somewhat wind-aided race course (at least going east) as we challenged ourselves at the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival 10K. Then came the turn north for the rest of somewhat uphill Miles 4 and 5, twisty Mile 6 and the slightly uphill home stretch. Did I mention the in-your-face headwinds over those last 2.8 miles? The conditions affected some people but not all. My race went well for 4 miles as I met my goal of 6:55 pace. Then, things went in the toilet, and I hung on for a P-worst 43:50.
But let's salute the top threes. On the men's side, Chris Setzler, 36, of Wonder Lake, won in 33:58.72, while Nathan Kennedy, 22, of Bolingbrook, was runner-up in 34:17.56. Next was Verdo Gregory, 29, of Chicago, or should it be Gregory Verdo? He finished third in 34:29.48. In the women's ranks, Olivia Aranda, 29, of Rockford, took the "gold" in 37:47.98, with Pal Blair, 27, of Chicago, placing second in 39:03.94, and Katy Hillard, 26, of Sycamore, ran third in 40:17.65. Kudos to my Elmhurst Running Club teammates Doug Pearson (35:27.09) and Christine Lipa (40:56.7), who each placed fifth overall. Pearson, 40, of Elmhurst won M40-44 and Lipa, 48, of Glen Ellyn, won F45-49.
This second-to-last CARA Circuit race of the year was a good mix of runners from Chicago as well as farther west to Rockford and beyond. It also featured people who had run recent marathons and people who had not. As always, the race organization was very good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

York Starts Fast

Joe Newton's York Dukes wasted no time blowing away the field on Saturday at the Lake Park Class 3-A boys Regional in Roselle. York went 1-2-3-4-9-10-11 with Steve Sulkin, Jorden Hebert, Jack Driggs and Adam Ceal leading the sweep. Fenwick showed the way in equal fashion at Oak Park with its own 1-4 finish of Martin Grady, Tom Laser, Jack Boyle and William Toohey. At Aurora West, Geneva went 2-3-4-5-7; at Loyola, the host Ramblers went 1-3-4 and at Naperville North, the Huskies and Neuqua Valley went 1-2 in a tough field. And how about this on the girls side? York went 2-3-4-5-6 at Roselle, but its top runner, Meghan Frigo, lost by 1 minute, 12 seconds to Lake Park's Lindsay Flanagan. There were plenty of other top performancs, but there is a long way to go with sectionals next week and the state meet in Peoria on Nov. 8.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Verzbicas Out of State XC Mix -- Most Likely

Lincoln-Way Central cross-country sensation Lukas Verzbicas has a sciatica problem, and it appears he's out for the rest of the season. What a shame. The kid had a shot at winning it all. I've been a fan of his since he showed up unannounced and unknown to me to run the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th, which I co-direct.
Here is the story, direct from Illinois' page on dyestat.com:
http://www.dyestatil.com/?pg=dyestatil-2008-Cross-Country-Verzbicas

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NIKE Does Right Thing in SF

If you've been following the mess from the NIKE Women's Marathon in San Francisco, the following statement was released today, declaring the woman with the fastest time the winner. She was 11 minutes faster than the woman who initially was declared the winner because she ran from the elite wave. The situation was amazingly similar to the Wesley Korir saga in Chicago.
Nike is announcing today that it recognizes Arien O'Connell as a winner in last weekend's Nike Women's Marathon with the fastest chip time, completing the full race in 2:55:11. She shattered her previous time and achieved an amazing accomplishment.
Arien will receive the same recognition and prize, including a Tiffany bowl, the full marathon elite group winner received. Arien was unfortunately not immediately recognized as a race winner because she did not start the race with the elite running group, which is required by USATF standards. Because of their earlier start time, the runners in the elite group had no knowledge of the outstanding race Arien was running and could not adjust their strategies accordingly.
Learning from the unique experience in this year's race, Nike has decided today to eliminate the elite running group from future Nike Women's Marathons. Next year, all runners will run in the same group and all will be eligible to win.
Nike has a proven track record of supporting athletes and we're proud to be able to honor Arien and other athletes who surpass their goals and achieve great accomplishments.

Oak Brook Half in Reverse?

I was speaking with Tom Hepperle, director of the Labor Day Oak Brook Half-Marathon, which debuted this year, and he told me one idea he's floating is to reverse the direction of the course to alleviate crowding near 31st St. and Midwest Rd. Comments are invited.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Wisconsin! 26.2 Kenosha Style

This goes under the heading of old news, but if you don't view Chicago Athlete's site regularly, you might have missed it. A new 26.2-miler, The Wisconsin Marathon, will debut in Kenosha, Wis., on May 2, 2009. It will be based in downtown Kenosha, just three blocks from the Metra station. This one has a lot of potential and is close to home for most of us. I first heard this was in the works back in April, and am so glad it is coming to fruition. Folks, we've got a spring marathon. Check out:
http://www.signmeup.com/62255

Monday, October 20, 2008

Korir Getting Bonus Thanks to Carey P.

Credit is given where credit is due. Executive race director Carey Pinkowski of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is doing the right thing and has arranged for an undisclosed prize bonus for Wesley Korir. The bonus is unrelated to the normal prize money structure for elite athletes and has no effect on it. Korir, a Kenyan native and former track and cross country runner at Murray State and the University of Louisville, ran a 2:13:53, which was the fourth-fastest time at the Oct. 12 marathon. However, Korir was not in the invited elite field and started at 8 a.m. instead of 7:55. Under USATF rules, he was not eligible for prize money ($15,000 for fourth place). A marathon spokesperson said the bonus is "simply a recognition of an outstanding performance by a runner not in our elite field." The spokesperson also race officials are working to bring Korir back for the 2009 race. He registered for the race on his own this year. I think this is a class act all the way around.

Friday, October 17, 2008

R.I.P. CDC; Time for Some Rock 'N Roll


As you probably saw on Chicago Athlete's Web site, John Bingham has sold the Chicago Distance Classic half-marathon, and it now will be the Rock 'N Roll Chicago Half-Marathon on Aug. 9, 2009, part of a national series. So we've seen the city's oldest race get stagnant as a 20K, revived as an ever-changing half-marathon, and now it passes to a national management company that promises more music, etc. etc. How about an accurate course?
Here is the release, courtesy of Chicago Athlete:
http://www.mychicagoathlete.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=BFEF7D2C49B6491EBE295ACD1C805EFD&nm=&type=news&mod=News&mid=9A02E3B96F2A415ABC72CB5F516B4C10&tier=3&nid=94BED3C88840490BA28C2AE017DDDF8D

A Lakefront 10 Win-Win

CARA's purchase of the Lakefront 10-miler from Universal Sole, announced this week, is a win-win for both organizations, and ultimately, for Chicagoland runners. Ever since CARA sold the Shamrock Shuffle, I have felt it was a mistake for it to be out of the race production business. This will provide some revenue-generating capacity to CARA while providing Universal Sole with some badly needed capital. The Lakefront 10, one of the very good races on the local calendar each April, has been held most years in direct competition with the very good Ravenswood 5K, a staple on the CARA Competitive Circuit. I hope that conflict goes away. I know I've always wanted to run the LF10, but always had a Circuit obligation to Ravenswood. It's good to see CARA make this move. I'm sure more details will emerge in coming days and weeks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Korir: STILL Not Much New

All I can tell you is that I've attempted to reach Wesley Korir through his coach at the University of Louisville. These things take time. One side note is that a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal told me Korir has applied for political asylum. That can be a sticky one. To clarify, the decision not to award the prize money was a decision by the race referee, Jim Estes of USATF. Carey Pinkowski and his staff have to adhere to those rules, but the idea of an "accommodation" certainly has merit. I'll let you know when I learn more.You might have seen the link below on Letsrun.com, but this is a very good summary of the situation. It was written by Jim Ferstle for the IAAF. Interstingly, in our Elmhurst 4 on the 4th race in July, we had the Chip dilemma Ferstle describes. Our third-place runner finished fourth because of the Chip, even though he held off the fourth-place runner physically. Check out:
http://www.iaaf.org/LRR08/news/newsid=48031.html

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Wesley Korir Saga

The controversy for 2008 at the Bank of America Marathon is the Wesley Korir situation. Korir (photo), 26, a native of Kenya who has run track and cross-country, first at Murray State University and most recently at the University of Louisville, placed fourth on Sunday in 2:13:53, beating some of the best marathon runners in the world. The problem is he was not in the elite group that started at 7:55 a.m. He was in the 8 a.m. mass start. USATF rules stipulate that everyone competing for places and prize money ($15,000 in this case) must have the same gun start. The thinking is that Korir wasn't racing against the competition, but rather against the clock and had an unfair advantage. I don't know about that. The issue has raised a stir. Korir, as I am beginning to learn, has had quite a life, escaping violence back home etc. I am attempting to reach him. If I do you'll be the first to know. I feel for the guy, but I also understand that the marathon is bound by the USATF's rules. As of Monday at 6 p.m., a marathon spokesman said nothing had changed. Who said running was dull??

What a Weekend

I didn't run a step yesterday but am exhausted from a long day of race support before the event and media coverage for the Sun-Times during and after with a 6 p.m. deadline. I hope you've stopped laughing at my predictions. They were out the window before 10 miles! 2:06:25 for Evans Cheruiyot is a great time considering the conditions. He had the speed credentials from three sub-60 half-marathons. He just had to show he could sustain it, and he did. He sure got himself on the marathon map yesterday. Lidiya Grigoryeva certainly impressed as well, pushing and grimacing through the heat for a nice 2:27:17. Thanks to those of you who clicked on ads. It appears I have made 29 cents!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Da Chicago Picks for 2008

The men's and women's elite fields for Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon are evenly matched with no clear-cut favorites. It will be on the warm side, but not as hot as last year. I think most of the upper tier will not be affected much by the elements this time.
So here goes . . . the predictions please:
MEN
1. William Kipsang, Kenya
2. Daniel Njenga (not again!), Kenya
3. Richard Limo, Kenya
4. Emmanuel Mutai, Kenya
5. Arata Fujiwara, Japan

WOMEN
1. Berhane Adere, Ethiopia
2. Bezunesh Bekele, Ethiopia
3. Constantina Tomescu-Dita, Romania
4. Kiyoko Shimahara, Japan
5. Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russia


This is as wide-open as it's been in years. It will be fun to watch. Many others could make the podium. The last few miles will be dramatic to say the least.

Constantina Will Let Others Do the Work

Here is my general advance on the men's and women's races for Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which appeared in Friday's Chicago Sun-Times. I'll try to post some predictions later today.
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1213038,CST-SPT-mara1o.article

Kipsang Not Shy About Wanting to Win

This little story I wrote about William Kipsang appeared in Saturday's Sun-Times. When you get the Kenyans speaking in their own language, they speak in more than English sentence fragments. Here is the link:
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1214928,CST-SPT-mara11.article

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Marathon Factoids III: Deena Weighs In

2005 Chicago winner and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, working on Sunday as an analyst for Channel 5, see the women's race as follows:
"Berhane Adere has surprised Adriana (Pirtea) and Constantina (Tomescu-Dita) in separate years. I'd never count her out in a race. I think Constntina probably has recovered well (from Beijing). She'll be riding on the bliss of her Olympic medal. I think this field is so even. So many of the girls have recorded their PRs in the last year or two."

Marathon Factoids II -- Up Close With Constantina

Here are a few quotes from Thursday.
Constantina Tomescu-Dita on her motivation for running Chicago: "I'm very happy to come back here this year. This will be my fifth time. I enjoy Chicago and have been training here more than in previous years. The people are great here."
Tomescu-Dita on entering the Birds Nest stadium in Beijing at the end of her gold-medal performance in the women's Olympic marathon: "It was amazing. I knew the gold medal was mine. 800 meters from the finish, I could see the second group (was far enough behind). It was an honor for me. I was surprised to see so many people, about 93,000, at 8 or 9 in the morning.
Tomescu-Dita on her unopposed breakaway at the halfway point of the Olympic marathon: "When I pulled away (after a conservative first half), I don't know what they (the chasers) were thinking."
Tomescu-Dita on the possible effect of the heat on Sunday: "In Beijing, it was 74 degrees at the start.
Tomescu-Dita on how she feels: "It hasn't been the training, it's been the travel (that has been difficult -- trips to Romania, Boulder, Colo., Japan and elsewhere). Bit the legs are OK. I get two hours of massage every day."
Tomescu-Dita on Carey Pinkowski: "He is a great person. He is a little thinner. he must be training more!"

Marathon Factoids I

I've got plenty of outtakes from my freelance coverage with the Sun-Times for tomorrow. I'll start with these nuggets.
Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania is 38 and became the oldest woman ever to win marathon gold at the Olympics on Aug. 17 in Beijing. She is trying for her second Chicago victory on Sunday.
William Kipsang of Kenya (my men's favorite) has the sixth-fastest 2008 marathon finish time with his 2:05:49 in April at Rotterdam.
Daniel Njenga of Kenya, by way of Japan, is one of 13 males who have had six top-three finishes in World Marathon Majors events (Chicago, New York, Boston, London, Berlin, Olympics, World Championships). He never has won with three seconds and three thirds in Chicago. Ouch!
Berhane Adere of Ethiopia is one of seven women to have won Chicago twice. The others are Catherine Ndereba, Joyce Chepchumba, Marian Sutton, Ritva Lemettinen, Lisa Weidenbach and Rosa Mota.
More to come!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Next Up: Chicago

I'm just back from a couple of days roller skiing, cycling and relaxing in Wisconsin after running the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on Sunday. I'll be posting some stuff on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon starting tomorrow night. The weather forecast isn't great, but you already knew that. The organizers are more than ready, no matter what the conditions are. Are you?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Alexander Wins Milw. Lakefront Marathon

Brent Alexander, 27, of Wilmette, broke away just past the halfway point on Sunday, and won the 28th Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in 2:28:24. Alexander, who runs for Fleet Feet Racing, easily beat runner-up Mark Manz of Kiel, Wis., who ran 2:32:31. Alexander went through 13.1 in 1:13.17, and even while pulling away, he slowed a bit on the second half of the course, provng he is a mere moral like the rest of us!
"I put in a huge surge at 13 miles," Alexander told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I kind of wanted to run alone because most of my training has been alone. I was kind of happy to just get away (from the pack) and run my own race for the last half." Corina Canitz, 41, of Brookfield, Wis. was the women's winner in 3:00:48, and Jenny Ellis, 23, of Port Barrington, Ill., was right behind in 3:01:09. A special shout goes out to my age-group hero and good friend, Chris Nemeth, 59, of Evanston, who ran a superb 3:14:34 for third place in the AG. Way to go to Michael Wargo of the Elmhurst Running Club for his 3:07 as well. As for me, I am very pleased. I ran a carefully paced 3:51:05 to get my goal of qualifing for Boston. Highlights of the race included the polka music near the beginning, the nice views along the way if you took time to look at them, the great volunteers, seeing Pat Onines at least five times and the generally good running weather.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Adere, Njenga In Chicago Field

Berhane Adere, the two-time defending champ, and Daniel Njenga, the hard-luck kid (three seconds, three thirds) are in the fold now for the Oct. 12 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Here is the press release.

Berhane Adere and Daniel Njenga Return to Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Complete Start List Announced for Oct. 12 Race

CHICAGO (October 2, 2008) - Bank of America today announced two-time women's champion Berhane Adere (ETH) will attempt a first-ever three-peat at the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, while six-time top-three Chicago finisher Daniel Njenga (KEN) looks for his first win in the Windy City. The additions of Adere and Njenga complete the elite field for the Oct. 12 race.
Adere has thrilled Chicago fans the last two years winning back-to-back championships in the final stretches, most recently sprinting past an unaware Adriana Pirtea (ROU) in the final meters of the 2007 race. In 2006, Adere and Galina Bogomolova (RUS) trailed Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROU) who led the field at record pace through the first 16 miles of the 26.2-mile course. Catching the Romanian in the 22nd mile, Adere and Bogomolova battled shoulder to shoulder until the Ethiopian edged into the lead and broke the tape only five seconds in front of runner-up Bogomolova.
Adding drama to the mix, Adere will face off against both Pirtea and Tomescu-Dita in the 31st running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Tomescu-Dita arrives hot off an Olympic gold medal win in the women's marathon in Beijing while her fellow Romanian Pirtea shaved five minutes off her marathon debut in Chicago last fall with a 2:28:52 in London in April.
Njenga is Chicago's very own heartbreak kid, finishing second or third in each of his previous six consecutive Chicago appearances, including a third-place showing behind the photo finish of Patrick Ivuti (KEN) and Jaouad Gharib (MAR). Never losing to the same competitor twice, Njenga has placed behind Chicago champoins Ivuti, Robert K. Cheruyiot, Felix Limo, Evans Rutto and Khalid Khannouchi, virtually a who's who of the world's best marathon runners. Njenga is one of six men in the field who have posted personal bests below 2:07:00.
Today's announcement completes the field for the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. A complete start list follows.
2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

Name Citizenship Personal Record
Women
Berhane Adere ETH 2:20:42
Bezunesh Bekele ETH 2:23:09
Alevtina Biktimirova RUS 2:25:12
Desiree Davila USA 2:37:50
Colleen De Reuck USA 2:26:35
Zoila Gomez USA 2:33:53
Lidiya Grigoryeva RUS 2:25:10
Kate O'Neill USA 2:36:15
Adriana Pirtea ROM 2:28:52
Kiyoko Shimahara JPN 2:26:14
Worknesh Tola ETH 2:25:37
Constantina Tomescu-Dita ROM 2:21:30

Men
Moses Arusei KEN 2:06:50
Christopher Cheboiboch KEN 2:08:17
Timothy Cherigat KEN 2:09:34
Evans Cheruiyot KEN 2:09:16
Joseph Chirlee KEN 2:12:10
Arata Fujiwara JPN 2:08:40
James Getanda KEN 2:11:50
Salim Kipsang KEN 2:07:29
William Kipsang KEN 2:05:49
Richard Limo KEN 2:06:45
David Mandago KEN 2:07:23
Emmanuel Mutai KEN 2:06:15
Daniel Njenga KEN 2:06:16
Michael Reneau USA 2:17:46
Todd Snyder USA 2:21:00

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Radcliffe Picks NY; We Still Love Her

British great Paula Radcliffe is running New York on Nov. 2. Radcliffe, who set the first of her two world records in the marathon (and an appearance on Oprah's show) at Chicago, runs to win, not set records, these days. It would be fun to see her try Chicago again sometime. We wish her the best of luck in the Big Apple. Here is part of today's press release from the New York Road Runners Club.
New York, October 1, 2008—World record-holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain will return to the streets of New York to defend her title at the ING New York City Marathon 2008 on Sunday, November 2, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg .
A year ago Radcliffe, 34, amazed the world with an inspiring victory in New York just 10 months after the birth of her first child, daughter Isla, on January 17, 2007. She pulled away from Ethiopia ’s Gete Wami in the final mile to capture the title in 2:23:09.
Unbeaten in New York , Radcliffe captured her first crown in 2004 in dramatic fashion when she out-dueled Kenyan Susan Chepkemei by three seconds in the closest women’s finish in race history.
A third win would lift Radcliffe into second place for the most New York victories, behind the legendary Grete Waitz of Norway , who amassed an astounding nine New York City Marathon wins.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All Tied With Nowhere to Hide!

As I count down to what I hope will be a Boston qualifer this Sunday at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, I look at the CARA M55-59 point standings and see three of us tied at 128 points behind one-of-a-generation Sam Cortes. Eric Burgess, Fritz Gareis and I are dead even for now, but Eric will soon be at least 14 points ahead of us because he is one under the minimum for races that are scored (you get 15 for first, 14 for second etc. in each race). Fritz is looking great and whipped me at the Makin' Tracks 5K on Saturday. I wasn't even in his area code. The Circuit sure beats you up, but I confess to loving the challenge. I've been in this situation several times before and ended up 3rd a couple of times and 4th or 5th a lot of other times. I know one thing. I'll give it my best shot.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gebrselassie Runs 2:03:59!

By now, if you're a geek, you know this. I am quite astounded, frankly. I wasn't sure a 36-year-old could do this, but unless I'm seeing things on the Web as I sit here at in the middle of the night, Haile Gebrselassie, the 36-year-old Ethiopian superstar, ran 2:03:59 today at Berlin, smashing his previous world record of 2:04:26, set last year in the same event. This one will stand quite a while, I have a feeling. Of course, Chicago is in two weeks! Irina Mikitenko went sub-2:20 to win the women's race. For a wrap-up, go to http://www.sportinglife.com/others/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=others/08/09/28/ATHLETICS_Berlin.html

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quad Cities Marathon Set for Sunday

I've never run this one, but I hear it's good. The Sept. 28 race, which starts and finishes in Moline, IL, goes through four cities in two states (Illinois and Iowa). Quite a few African and eastern European runners should work to produce a men's winning time around 2:15 and a women's time in the 2:30s. If you run it, post a comment. Here's the Web site:
http://www.qcmarathon.org

Not Much Lacks at Makin' Tracks


Serving as a fill-in race on the highly charged CARA Circuit, the Makin' Tracks 5K did a good job of providing CARA quality on short notice on Saturday. Having changed from 10-year age groups to five-year and re-ordering all the awards were just a couple of things the race had to do once it was designated as a Circuit race to replace the Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K, which was cancelled for this year only because of construction. I was as stale as they come and felt myself breathing hard while running a mighty pedestrian pace. I lumbered in at 21:04, slow for me and not good in my quest to finish in the top three in my age group. I was sixth in a throwaway race for me on the Circuit. Others fared much better, including men's winner Timothy Henry , 24, of Wheaton (15:49.4) and Colleen Newhart, 24, of Oak Park (17:50.2). Second-place finishers were Dave Wilson, 39, of Brookfield (15:57.9) and Sanya Syrstad, 43, of Warrenville (18:11.8) and third-place overall went to Nathan Kennedy, 22, of Bolingbrook (16:05.3) and Pam Blair, 27, of Chicago (18:23.7). The venue, based at the Concordia College stadium in the leafy west suburb, was excellent. Hats off to my Elmhurst Running Club mates, most of whom had terrific performances again this week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

'Geb' Goes for 'Welt' Record at Berlin

Can you say Haile Gebrselassie? Can you spell it? I've always had trouble with the latter. Sunday (Sept. 28) is Haile's highly anticipated return to the Real Berlin Marathon, where he set the current world record of 2:04:26 a year ago. Gebrselassie says he has trained well and is up to the worldly task. He'll have pacers capable of going 30K (out of 42,195) at or near the torrid pace that only the Ethiopian great can run. He also ran a 2:04:53 in Dubai, so he's no fluke. Saying he was worried about Beijing's pollution, he skipped the Olympic marathon and should be ready to go. It's been said by some Berliners that Berlin's course is faster than Chicago's. Things get cooking around 1:30 a.m. Chicago time for you die-hards. On the women's side, watch Askale Tafa of Ethiopia and German favorite Irina Mikitenko. OK, here I go out on the limb. I'll take "Geb" in 2:04:45 (sorry, no record) and Tafa in 2:22:15. Next up after Berlin on the World Marathon Majors schedule is our own Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. If anything big happens in the German capital, you know Chicago executive race director Carey Pinkowski will find an answer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Joanie: Still Tough As Nails

So you're savoring your recent 5K time? Check this out if you haven't already seen it. Joan Benoit Samuelson ran a 17:24.3 on Sunday (Sept. 21) in Providence, R.I. Joanie is 51 (not 52 as listed in the results)! If you click below, you'll also see Illinois natives Paul Jellema (winner of 2008 Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th) and Tera Moody (winner of many local races and fifth at U.S. Olympic Trials in April) in the results of this power-packed race. Here you go. This isn't your every-day 5K:
http://coolrunning.com/results/08/ri/Sep21_CVSDow_1_set3.shtml

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Verzbicas: Stranger No More

Lukas Verzbicas, the runner I didn't know, causing me to call him the runner "in the yellow singlet and green shorts" as I did the play-by-play from the lead car at the 4 on the 4th race, is tearing up the local prep cross-country scene. The Lincoln-Way Central sensation has won three straight invitationals, including the Argo Invite on Saturday, Sept. 20. Verzbicas, a 15-year-old freshman of Lithuanian extraction, showed he is destined for greatness, smashing the Argo meet's 22-year-old record of 15:00 by almost 21 seconds with a 14:39.3. It had been held by former Niles Notre Dame great Len Sitko. Verzbicas, who finished a very strong fourth on July 4 at the 4 on the 4th, won the Argo meet by 59 seconds over Martin Grady of Fenwick, which has a very powerful team this year. He is a resident of New Lenox.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fox Cities 2008

With temps in the 50s when the race began, runners in the Fox Cities Marathon in and around Appleton, Wis., had a good day to run on Sunday (Sept. 21). First, the winning times weren't too bad. James Levash, 26, of Brillion, Wis. was overall winner in a finishing field of 1,026 with a 2:33:25. Sue Pierson, 44, of Neenah, Wis., won the women's race in 2:56:33. Now the special kudos: Bill Sanders, our marathon trainer in the Elmhurst Running Club, set a PR by 10 minutes, breaking three hours for the first time as he ran 2:56:25, good for fourth place in the M35-39 category. And way to go Paul Oostenbrug! The 58-year-old from Chicago, one of my friendly rivals over the years, won M55-59 in a very strong 3:29:09. Illinois was well-represented up in Cheese-and-Paper territory. Nice job!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Fall Fest 5K Hills Seek Us Out

The somewhat hilly 5K course for the Fall Fest 5K CARA Circuit Race really wasn't so bad on Saturday. I had previewed it on the bike on Thursday and was worried about the steep climb before Mile 2. I slowed to a snail's pace near the "summit," but most people around me did, too. The "up" side of courses like this are the downhills that follow the climbs. They were sweet. The race was well-organized, the course well-marked and the turnout light (325 finishers). Weather wasn't a factor. It was close to perfect, although the humidity was a wee bit high. CARA overall men's leader Dave Wilson, 39, of Brookfield, won it in 16:09.91, seemingly going just fast enough to beat runner-up Daniel Scheffler, 42, of Oswego, who ran 16:18:31. Masters star Mike Egle, 46, of Glenview, was nursing a calf injury, but still ran 16:50.33 for third. Reggie Jonaitis, 27, of Naperville, grabbed fourth in 16:51.98. On the women's side, Alona
Banai
, 24, of Oak Park, who entered the race fourth in the CARA overall women's standings, won in 18:15.63. She held off always tough Sanya Syrstad, 43, of Warrenville, who ran 18:19.59. CARA leader Pam Blair, 27, of Chicago was third in 18:21.40, while Michelle Plummer, 31, of Gilberts, placed a distant fourth in 19:23:03. Hats off to my fellow Elmhurst Running Club teammates who placed first in the team competition. My 20:51 didn't make ERC's top five, but I was happy with it, all things considered. It was good to see so many friends from the other clubs, the Fossils (the best over-50 relay team anywhere!) and even the awakening XC ski community. Speaking of that, I went roller-skiing after the race. That was a wake-up call!
Photos of Dave Wilson and Alona Banai from the Run-Times photo archives!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ready for Ready to Run?

CARA's Nike Ready to Run 20-mile training run is set to go this Sunday. Registration is closed, so if you're not running, I would steer clear of the lakefront path. It will be crowded big-time. This event has caught on as the perfect way to get that last long one in before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. I'm "running" Milwaukee on Oct. 5 if my body lets me. This training business doesn't get any easier as you grow older (da aches and pains). Also, CARA needs a few more volunteers to make sure things run smoothly on Sunday. Go to its site at www.cararuns.org for information.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chicago Tri Seeks Title Sponsor

The Chicago Triathlon, the largest in the world, is looking for a new title sponsor.
After fulfilling a six-year commitment, Accenture, which has been the title sponsor for the past six years, is not renewing for 2009. Race founder Jan Caille has done well over the years in obtaining title sponsorship, including past relationships with the Chicago Sun-Times and Mrs. T's pierogies to name a couple. In the current economic climate, Caille has his work cut out. Cost of title sponsorship, reliable sources say, is "low to mid six-figures."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Costello, Domich Win Banco Popular Chicago Half


On a wet and ugly Sunday morning, Greg Costello and Amanda Domich bested strong fields to win the men's and women's titles at the Banco Popular Chicago Half-Marathon. As of 10:15 p.m. Sunday, well after Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter for the Cubs, the official results showed 10,853 finishers (6,497 women and 4,356 men). That might include the 5K, but I'm not sure. In the main event, Costello, 27, of Chicago, won in 1:07:59, gapping runner-up Adrian Rodriguez, 20, of Puerto Rico, to win handily. Rodriguez was timed in 1:08:12, while third-place finisher Matt Flaherty, 23, of Bloomington, Ind., ran a 1:08:56. Domich, 23, of Algonquin, won handily on the women's side with a 1:20:58. Alona Banai, 24, of Oak Park, was next in 1:22:01, followed by Christina Overbeck, 22, of Chicago, who was clocked in 1:23:04. Looking back over the past few weeks, it's been quite a half-marathon season in the Chicago
area. Thanks to Brenda Barrera, editor of RunMidwest magazine for these great photos.
Photo 1: Greg Costello (left) trails Adrian Rodriguez midway through the race. They eventually switched positions. Photo 2: The mid-pack runners take over Lakeshore Drive.
NOTE: For more excellent coverage and photos, see Brenda Barrera's site at:
http://www.examiner.com/x-560-Chicago-Running-Examiner

Chicago Half -- Uhh, Something Ain't Right

I know flooding probably was an issue, but not having been there, all I can say is the preliminary results at www.chicagoaa.com from the Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon make it seem as if it were about 11 miles, not 13.1 If you were there, give me a comment. What happened out there during the great rain of 2008?

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Official: Makin' Tracks 5K on Circuit

Makin' Tracks 5K in River Forest replaces the cancelled Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K on the CARA Circuit on Saturday, Sept. 27. Here is the text from the CARA Web site:
The CARA Board of Directors met on 9/11 and following the recommendation of the Racing Committee, voted to substitute Makin’ Tracks 5K in River Forest the makeup race for the cancelled Park Ridge Charity Classic. The race will be held at Concordia University, 7400 Augusta, RiverForest and will begin at 8:00 AM. Information and online registration are available at www.rfparks.com or www.signmeup.com/61511.
Race day registration will also be available from 6:30 to 7:45 AM. Previously a CARA Registered Race, Makin’ Tracks has changed their award distribution from 10 year to five year age groups.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Take Care of Your Heart -- It's Important

In the aftermath of another tragic death in a running event (Sunday at the Alpine Half-Marathon in Lake Zurich), running coach and Boston Marathon veteran Mark Buciak, who still runs competitively after having open-heart surgery, offers this:

Coach Mark Buciak’s Top 10 Tips For A Healthy Heart
For most runners there are NO direct warning signs of heart disease. I ran 10 miles at an 8-minute pace the day before my open-heart surgery. Below are some guidelines to help decrease your chances of heart disease which I have learned through my experience as a heart patient. These are only suggestions, and for actual advice, please consult your doctor as in tip # 3.
-1- Know your family health history.
-2- Wear a heart monitor.
-3- Have an annual physical exam which includes complete blood workout and an EKG.
-4- Inform your doctor that you are a serious runner, running XX miles per week and racing X marathons per year. Ask him or her if there are any reasons why you should not continue your running at your current level.
-5- If you are over 35 years old, have a stress echo test for basic line purposes.
-6- If your doctor does not approve the above test, find a doctor that will.
-7- Eat a heart-healthy diet.
-8- Develop an excellent relationship with your doctor. Be honest and open with him or her.
-9- Listen to your heart especially at the quietest times of the day, i.e. before you go to bed, in the middle of the night and when you wake up in the morning.
-10- Beware of constant tiredness and fatigue
Coach Mark Buciak
THE ROAD TO BOSTON Training Program
FALL FITNESS RETREAT: November 14-16, 2008
www.theroadtoboston.info

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tragedy Strikes at Lake Zurich

A running tragedy occurred on Sunday at the Alpine Races Half-Marathon in Lake Zurich. I knew there was an incident going on, but didn't want to post anything until it was in the public domain. My sincere condolences go out to the family of Jeffrey Randall, 44, who collapsed near the 12-mile mark and was pronounced dead at 10:35 a.m. The Lake County coroner said Randall had undiagnosed heart disease and high blood pressure. According to newspaper accounts, he was a passionate runner. Here is a story that appeared in the Daily Herald:
http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=233456

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Olympic Champion Tomescu-Dita to Run Chicago!

Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania, the breakway winner of the Olympic women's marathon in Beijing, is running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. The announcement came today in a press release that highlighted the men's and women's elite fields as of today (Sept. 9). Leading man for now is Kenyan William Kipsang, who won the Rotterdam Marathon in April in a spiffy 2:05:49. Despite a tough economy and a new boss, executive race director Carey Pinkowski has delivered again.
The press release follows:
2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Announces Elite Field
2008 Olympic Women's Marathon Gold Medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita Tops List


CHICAGO (September 9, 2008) - Bank of America today announced the elite field of male and female athletes scheduled to compete for the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon® championship titles on Sunday, Oct. 12. Topping the list is newly crowned Olympic women's marathon gold medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania and up-and-comer William Kipsang of Kenya who currently holds the 11th all-time fastest marathon finish time, fifth-fastest this year (2:05:49).
At age 38, Tomescu-Dita became the oldest woman to ever win the gold medal in the 26.2-mile Olympic contest. Familiar to Chicagoans, Tomescu-Dita won the 2004 ChicagoMarathon and her 2008 appearance will mark her fifth on the notoriously fast and flat course. In her last two Chicago appearances, Tomescu-Dita finished second to American Deena Kastor (2005) and led the 2006 women's field at course record pace (sub-2:17) through mile 16 before being surpassed by eventual champion Berhane Adere (ETH) in the 22nd mile.
"I am delighted to be returning to Chicago. I have always felt great running there and have been fortunate to have some of the best races of my life there," said Tomescu-Dita from Romania shortly following her Olympic victory in Beijing. "It will also be nice to return because I understand Chicago is bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games and I think it would be a wonderful place to have them."
Tomescu-Dita will be challenged by 2007 Chicago Marathon runner-up and fellow Romanian Adriana Pirtea, 28, and up-and-comer Bezunesh Bekele, 25, of Ethiopia. Chicago fans will recognize Pirtea who came into the final stretch last year with a sizeable lead. As she pumped her arm in victory a few hundred meters from the finish, returning 2006 Chicago champ Adere streaked up behind her unnoticed until she was uncatchable in the final strides to repeat her championship finish. Bekele will follow-up her impressive debut at the Dubai Marathon entering the Chicago race with a 2:23:09 personal record, second in the field only to Tomescu-Dita.
On the men's side, William Kipsang, 31, is the man to beat arriving off a 2:05:49 first-place finish at the Rotterdam Marathon in April. Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai, 30, will put some pressure on Kipsang considering his fourth-place finish at the Flora London Marathon in April where he set a personal record (2:06:15). Also expected to be in the mix is fellow countryman Richard Limo who finished second to Mutai at last year's Amsterdam Marathon, crossing the line only 16 seconds behind the champion.
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a reputation for producing historic efforts and breathtaking finishes and the quality of this year's elite field is an extension of that tradition," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski of Chicago Event Management, now in his 19th year overseeing the event. "This year's men's field features four men who have run under 2:07:00, one who has run under 2:06:00 and champions from some of the great marathons of the world which should produce another great day of marathon running on Oct. 12."
Representing the United States in Chicago are Kate O'Neill and Colleen De Reuck. O'Neill, 28, will return to the site of her 2007 debut at the marathon distance, looking to best her time of 2:36:15 on the Chicago course. Masters runner Colleen De Reuck, 44, will return for her sixth Chicago Marathon.
The elite racers will start the 26.2-mile Bank of AmericaChicagoMarathon course at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12, five minutes in advance of the massive field of 45,000 registered runners. Following is the current list of elite athletes who will compete for the $125,000 first-place prize distributed to the top male and female overall winners.


2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field
Name Citizenship Personal Record
Women

Bezunesh Bekele ETH 2:23:09
Alevtina Biktimirova RUS 2:25:12
Colleen De Reuck USA 2:26:35
Zoila Gomez USA 2:33:53
Lidiya Grigoryeva RUS 2:25:10
Kate O'Neill USA 2:36:15
Adriana Pirtea ROU 2:28:52
Kiyoko Shimahara JPN 2:26:14
Worknesh Tola ETH 2:25:37
Constantina Tomescu-Dita ROU 2:21:30

Men
Moses Arusei KEN 2:06:50
Christopher Cheboiboch KEN 2:08:17
Timothy Cherigat KEN 2:09:34
James Getanda KEN 2:11:50
Salim Kipsang KEN 2:07:29
William Kipsang KEN 2:05:49
Richard Limo KEN 2:06:45
Emmanuel Mutai KEN 2:06:15

Monday, September 8, 2008

All's Fine at Alpine

If you haven't run the Alpine Races Half-Marathon in Lake Zurich, it's your loss. Yesterday's perfect running weather was augmented by the race's great course, organization and competition. I wasn't sure how my body would react after vacationing six time zones away, but things were just fine. I'll take 1:34:22 any time. There were fewer than 300 finishers in this race. Go figure. The small field makes it nice for those of us who are there, but a lot of people who weren't there would have loved it. Up front, Chris Setzler, 35, of Wonder Lake, broke away early, running solo almost the entire route. Setzler, who coaches cross-country at Johnsburg High School, won it in 1:13:52.81. The real battle was for second, with masters master Mike Egle, 46, of Glenview, running 1:17:44.49 to edge Hunter Brock, 30, of Glen Ellyn, who clocked 1:17:44.93. Jacqui Aubert, 32, of Crystal lake, avoiding her hometown half-marathon run simultaneously, won the women's race in 1:31:10.46. She was followed by Pam Blair, 27, of Chicago, who ran 1:32:30.49 as a training run for the Chicago Marathon. Kristy Howland, 45, of Elmhurst, took third in 1:32:46.80. I was running near national-class Nancy Rollins, 61, of Evanston, as she posted another sensational race. Her time was 1:34:43. Hats off to Pat and Beth Onines and the rest of the Alpine Runners crew for an outstanding CARA Circuit race.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Let's See, Where Was I?

Scotland, to be exact. We did a Rick Steves tour. It was the best. That's me on the right at the start of a marathon training run on the Scottish west coast. Suffice it to say the run was spectacular with sea views, ships, castles, traffic going the "other" way etc. etc.
I see that plenty of quality running and racing took place while I was gone. The inaugural Oak Brook and Half-Madness half-marathons appear to have gone smoothly, and the Bud James-led Park Forest Scenic 5-miler also went off OK with a much smaller group than the heydays of the "Scenic 10". Looks like Buffalo Grove also had another good field as did several other races. I also saw that the Park Ridge Charity Classic on Sept. 27 has been cancelled because of construction. I wonder what CARA will do regarding the Circuit.Park Ridge is where many a runner has set a 5K PR.
Well, it's up and at them tomorrow at Lake Zurich for the Alpine Races Half-Marathon. I'm a "wee" bit jet-lagged, but I'm looking forward to a race that isn't over in 20-plus minutes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A-Maze-ing Race, I Wish (Updated)


Photo: CARA Hall of Famer Dick Lamermeyer hits the finish mat in DeKalb.
I drove west into the heavy fog of DeKalb this morning and ran the Corn Fest 10K. While my race didn't go quite as well as planned in the 95 percent humidity, I have to accept that others in my age group dealt with it a little better than I did. I clocked 43:35, which doesn't exactly bring home the hardware. I'm licking my wounds from a sixth-place finish, which was five seconds away from a third-place finish. Four of us 55-59ers hog the results from 67th-70th places. Oh, for a little more gas and a better kick! Enough about me. Fellow Elmhurst Running Clubber Charlie Kern, 39, of Elmhurst, who coaches us on Tuesday nights, grabbed the overall win in 32:44. Yeah, Charlie! Way to go. Chad Ware, 22, of Deerfield (DeKalb? in the results), was second in 32:53, and Chris Setzler, 35, of Wonder Lake, took "bronze" in 33:42. Charlie told me he moved into first in the last half-mile. He was quite elated. Well-known Tera Moody, 27, a St. Charles native living in Boulder, Colo., won the women's race in 35:22. Amanda Domich, 23, of Algonquin, placed second in 37:46, and Pam Blair, 27 of Chicago, took third in 38:52. I want to thank all of the people who cheered me on this morning. The race organizers also did a great job. I always love this race because it's a confluence of talent from Chicago, Rockford and other points north and south. Here's to everyone who raced today, including those who went to Sullivan's tap for a couple of brews after the event's conclusion!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Baton Passing 101

I don't know about you, but as much as I try not to go nationalistic and rah-rah, sis-boom-bah for the USA, I can't help rooting for our athletes when they are up against strong opposition, put in tough circumstances and and forced to do their best when the odds are tough. Running a preliminary heat in an event in which you should get silver and maybe gold does not warrant a lot of cheerleading. What rooting I do also gives me the right to boo and be critical. The dropped batons by the U.S. men's and women's 4X100 relays were a disgrace and a perfect metaphor for what's going on in American track and field. We have a bunch of individuals who are pretty good, but not as good as they think they are. They also think they are too good to practice, practice, practice with relay teammates to get it right on the practice track so they'll get it right in front of millions of people. When is the last time we didn't have a baton exchange distaster in the Olympics? It's ridiculous, and it reflects on the team leadership as well as the athletes. When I was a freshman in high school, our relays made better passes than the U.S. Olympians. Oh well. Let's hope we get something great from one of the Americans in the men's marathon. But I'll be rooting for everyone, starting with Kenya's Martin Lel. Chapter 2: The Jamaicans and Brits do the same baton drop in the final. What's going on?!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Outtakes: Accenture Chicago Triathlon

Updated a bit from Thursday
Australian Greg Bennett, the defending champ, Andy Potts, the tough-luck American who just missed making the Olympic team, Matt Reed (maybe . . . he competed on Tuesday in Beijing), Aussie Craig Alexander, a two-time Chicago winner, American David Thompson, and other top-shelf talent highlight a strong men's field in Sunday's Accenture Chicago Triathlon. The women's field stars Liz Blatchford and Julie Dibens of Great Britain, U.S. Olympic alternate Becky Lavelle, American Sam McGlone and two-time winner Joanna Zieger, a sentimental favorite from her days as a Chicago resident.
Here is a story I wrote in this morning's Sun-Times:
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1120720,CST-SPT-tri22.article
This Andy Potts quote about not watching the Olympic tri was edited out for space:
“I saw a bit of it, but it was pretty hard for me to watch it,” Potts said. “I ended up actually bailing out after a while and went out and rode my bike.”
Here are a few Chicago 2016 quotes I couldn't get in:
Potts -- "I would love to see Chicago get the Olympics. With it being on Lake Michigan and with a great infrastructure in place to get the people to and from . . . there are so many positives about Chicago as a cultural city and what it can offer the world. I would love the city to get the Olympics. I would be 40 then, but I'd give it a try (making the team)!"
Race founder Jan Caille -- "The Accenture Chicago Triathlon, the world's largest triathlon, has hosted many Olympic triathletes. We are known as a great competition and THE place to be if you are a top triathlete racing the international distance.
"Chicago is one of of triathlon's greatest stages, and with the Windy City vying as a finalist to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, our world-class event is definitely the one to watch!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Constantina Running Chicago?

From what information I've gleaned since Constantina Tomescu-Dita won the Olympic women's marathon, an effort will be made to have her in the starting field for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. If anyone can pull off the quick turnaround of World Marathon Majors events, Constantina certainly can. She is known for brutal race schedules, including one year when she ran Chicago one week after winning the World IAAF Half-Marathon title. Plus, she's a fan favorite here and at the Steamboat Classic in Peoria. Stay tuned. Remember the men's marathon at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Chicago time. Robert K. Cheruiyot's withdrawal from the race adds some intrigue for Chicago on the men's side as well. He has been replaced in Beijing by Luke Kibet.

Stanford Study Proves Running Works!

A 21-year study conducted at the Stanford University Department of Medicine confirms what most of us older runners have smugly known all along. Running is helping us remain healthier and live longer. "This study demonstrates that participation in long-term running and other vigorous exercise among older adults is associated with less disability and lower mortality over two decades of follow-up," was a comment made by those who did the study, Eliza F. Chakravarty, MD, MS; Helen B. Hubert, PhD; Vijaya B. Lingala, PhD and James F. Fried, MD. A group of runners age 50 and older was compared to a control group throughout the study. For those of us who just happen to be runners, and older runners in particular, this is good news.
Nothing is simple. This is a very detailed study. Here is a link to a boiled-down summary: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/168/15/1638
Thanks to fellow Fossils Chris Nemeth and Keith Holzmueller for pointing this my way.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tomescu-Dita, Flat-out Fast

That women's Olympic Marathon sure had a Chicago flavor. In addition to Beijing champ Constantina Toemscu-Dita of Romania and runner-up Catherine "The Great" Ndereba of Kenya, both past winners at the LaSalle Bank (now Bank of America) Chicago Marathon, Great Britain's Paula Radcliffe, running with a whole lot of pain, and American Deena Kastor, an early casualty to a foot injury, also claim Chicago titles on their resumes. Radcliffe, in particular, got a lot of TV time as she struggled to stay in the race. In fact, Ndereba and Radcliffe both set world records in Chicago, although neither stands today. Radcliffe holds the standard at 2:15:25, set in London in 2003. There's one more Chicago tie. Beijing's Olympic course was flat as a pancake. While the U.S. women qualified on a somewhat level course in Boston, what the heck was USATF doing having the men's trials on that ridiculously hilly layout in New York? I'd take flat-course specialist Khalid Khannouchi (4th in the hilly trials) in a heartbeat for this course. We'll find out how the men do next week. I think we can forget how our women did.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hello, NBC! Flanagan third in 10,000

Although the late-night coverage was close to pathetic, Shalane Flanagan of the USA brought home the bronze last night in the Olympic women's 10,000. Let's all hope there are replays or enhanced looks at this race inbetween the gymnastics soap opera and Michael Phelps' swim exploits.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Women Await Beijing 26.2-Step

As I write, it's about 28-29 hours until the women begin their Olympic Marathon in Beijing. It's anybody's guess who will win, but if there's one thing I've learned over the year, there's always a surprise or two (Deena Kastor getting bronze in 2004) when these races are run. NBC (Channel 5) supposedly will carry it live at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night. I'm betting they don't show it all, but I guess we have wait and see. My pick? This a tough one. Will Kenyan Catherine Ndereba's experience prove to be decisve? Will Zhou Chunxiu of China have the home-course advantage? You never count out Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain or Gete Wami of Ethiopia. Reiko Tosa is Japan's last real hope. Deena Kastor? You know she'll try for something special. Hope for clean air and cool temps. OK . . . . I'll take Chunxiu.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Race Judicata, Drama Outside the Courtroom

The 15th annual Race Judicata - Sprint for Justice, will go off tonight from Lower Hutchinson Field at 6:30 in nearly perfect conditions. A field made up of mostly (but not entirely) of attorneys and others in the legal profession, will run to benefit Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. UPDATED Aug. 15: The results please (2,676 finishers):
MEN: 1. Dave Strubbe, 16:00; Michael Dreznez, 16:07; Jeff Thomas, 16:07.
WOMEN: 1. Christina Overbeck, 17:59; 2. Bridget Montgomery, 18:47; 3. Kim Hemstreet, 19:54.
How was it?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tracking Our Local Elites

I finally caught up with CDC overall winner Greg Costello via e-mail. Here's his take on Sunday. One interesting fact that slipped through me until right now is that Costello won last year in 1:09:54 and won this year on a long course in the same time, 1:09:54. That means he's in pretty good shape! Here are his comments:
"I actually got a few emails mentioning that I wasn’t in the results at all after the race on Sunday (he eventually was). I am not sure what happened, but there were actually a few mistakes. First of all, they announced that I was the runner-up from last year (he won) while I was on the home stretch, and they said the wrong name as I finished, and a few of the reports online had Jose (Munoz) as the winner. Also, I do think the course was a little long (written before the CDC explantion). I know of 4 guys that ran with Garmins and they all had between 13.3 and 13.4, and there were definitely a few long miles, and I don’t remember any short ones.
"I ended up leaving the chase pack at about the 3-mile mark, and worked my way up solo and didn’t catch Jose until after the 11-mile marker. At the turnaround, it seemed as though he was almost a minute ahead of me, but I guess the quick early pace and heavy head wind got to him. Once I caught him, I went right past him and put about 20 seconds on him before the last half-mile."

Costello, 27, of Chicago, also said he probably will run the Chicago Half-Marathon in September. He heads to Oregon for the Hood to Coast relay next week. His ultimate goal is the New York City Marathon. He is coached by Chris Wehrman.

CDC Course Length: The Explanation

The course certifier for the Chicago Distance Classic explains what happened on an update to the race site. He says the turnaround point was "extended" .1668 miles, and says the race was lengthened by that much distance. To me, if the turnaround was extended .1668, the added distance should be twice that -- .3336. However, race director Beth Salinger assures me the explanation was just poorly written, and the total addition to the course was .1668. Therefore, we ran 13.2762 miles.Check out:
http://www.chicagodistanceclassic.com/results.htm#course08

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chicago Distance Classic ' 08 -- It's A Classic


To me, it was like being part of a movable feast of spectacular scenery along the lakeshore. We really ran as if we were part of a Chicago post card on Sunday at the 32nd annual Chicago Distance Classic (seventh as a half-marathon . . . remember those years when it was a 20K?). While the wind on the second half of the course was tough at times, the beauty of the large waves breaking on our shores and the Chicago skyline, sparkling in sunny,70-degree conditions, more than made up for any discomfort in my book. I think there might have been a long mile or two, based on my splits and those of others. GPS reports also indicate we may have run 13.45 to 13.5 miles. Mile 7 in particular, the one with the turnaround, sandy "boardwalk," twists and turns near souuth shore, was exceptionally long. But on a day like this, it provided us with a minute or two of bonus running time to enjoy the scenery! I'll update this once there are some official results. I clocked in at 1:37:51. That was right where I wanted to be with Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon training and CARA Circuit running constantly intersecting in my life as a running bum. I appear to have come out of it with 13.?? quality miles and no damage.

As for the real race, far ahead of me, Greg Costell0, 27, of Chicago (left in top photo), appeared to be in control as he was chased by Mike Farrell in this photo provided by Run Midwest editor Brenda Barrera. Costello was the overall winner in 1:09:54. Farrell, 35, of Marshall Ill., finished 12th.
Men's results go like this (4,055 total finishers):
1. Greg Costello, 27, Chicago, 1:09:54
2. Jose Munoz, 23, San Antonio, Texas, 1:10:11
3. David Williams, 36, Milwaukee, 1:10:18
4. Jim Akita, 28, Elmhurst, 1:10:37
5. Emisael Favela, 31, Cicero, 1:11:22
6. Chad Ware, 23, Deerfield, 1:11:43
On the female side (4,698 total finishers), it was:
1. Erin Moffett, 26, Chicago, 1:23:02
2. Amanda Domich, 23, Algonquin, 1:23:06
3. Alona Banai, 24, Oak Park, 1:23:21
4. Connie Abbott, 22, Kansas City, Kan., 1:24:39
5. Jill Czarnik, 20, Orland Park, 1:26:00
6. Kristie Hawkins, 27, Chicago, 1:27:04
The second photo is Bob Jones (right) cruising near the Balbo statue.
Again, hats off to John (the Penguin) Bingham for making this event as good as it is.
NOTE: The results changed quite a bit between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday and were tweeked again slightly on Monday. Look again, and you'll see accurate times and places.
For results, go to:
http://www.chicagodistanceclassic.com

Thursday, August 7, 2008

32nd Distance Classic Sunday


With Olympic fanfares already blaring from our TVs, what better time to salute the man who should get most of the credit for Running Boom 1, Mr. Frank Shorter. We all know he won Olympic gold in 1972 at the Munich Games, but you may not know he was the first winner of the Chicago Distance Classic on a hot day in 1977. Since then, the race has transformed from a 20K into a half-marathon, and has had other stellar winners, including Brian Sell, who is running in this year's Olympic Marathon in Beijing. CDC, the oldest road race in the city, goes off for the 32nd time on Sunday. Race time in Grant Park is 6:30 a.m., but the field will be spread into a four-wave starting format as the runners traverse a generally southerly out-and-back 13.1-miler with some tight bike-path sections likely. Look for a gathering of around 10,000 with more females than males competing. Things certainly have changed since the '70s when the guys ruled the roads. Hats off to John (the Penguin) Bingham for buying this race a few years back, getting it back on its feet and then growing it into what it is today.

I got down to the expo (photos . . . yep, that's a Saturn) early Saturday. There was some excitement floating around the Chicago Hilton & Towers. This race should be fun. It always is. Check out http://www.chicagodistanceclassic.com

Monday, August 4, 2008

Under the Radar: Foot Mechanics Half Madness

13.1-milers come in many shapes and sizes in the Chicago-area marketplace. The one upcoming half-marathon I hear the least about is the one I would do in a heartbeat if I were going to be in town this Labor Day Weekend. It's on Sunday, Aug. 31, and it's called the Foot Mechanics Half Madness 13.1 Half Marathon. It will be contested on a rolling course, starting and finishing in historic downtown Batavia along the Fox River. The first-year event is part of the city's 175th anniversary celebration. Much of the course will go along the river, giving runners plenty of scenic views. I can tell you that much thought and planning has gone into this event, and from I have been told, I have a feeling the field will be about a thousand runners, give or take. If you're like a lot of the runners to whom I have mentioned this race, you really didn't know about it until now, right? It's not too late to get signed up. Check out
http://www.halfmadness.com

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Definitely Getting Some Good Mileage


I took a slow recovery run on the Prairie Path today and saw tons of people training for their fall marathons. I'm sure it was the same all over Chicagoland. These pictures depict what is was like in the Villa Park-Lombard sections. That's where I ran into (top photo) Eileen (fourth overall in a triathlon the day before), Dennis (has signed up for four half-marathons) and Ron (I just run . . . signed up for Oak Brook HM). Christine (she's always fast!) joined us for the fountain shot.

Other unidentified runners make their way past the clock in Villa park, heading east toward Elmhurst.

There were a lot of people running 12-20 miles. It was a good day to do it. I continue to be amazed by what happens every year at this time. Here's to Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Deena Kastor, Meb K., Khalid Khannouchi and everyone else who has inspired us all.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Marathon Training, A Big Deal (For Me)

Well, today I ran 15 miles as part of the buildup for Milwaukee on Oct. 5. I had plenty of company with my Elmhurst Running Club compatriots and had a pleasant experience that was enhanced by the cool temps and slightly lower humidity. This kind of distance is not my comfort zone and requires caution. It was my longest run since 2004 when I last ran a marathon (Boston in the 86-degree heat). I started very slowly (10:12 first mile) and worked my way up to the 8-8:30 training pace window. That gave me a 2:08:42, about an 8:32 pace, which works out to about 3:43 pace for 26.2 miles. Even with a fade, I think I have a shot at my new old-man qualifying time of 4 hours (60-64) at Boston. One thing I've learned though. Never, ever, count your chickens.. . Good luck to everyone else training and competing this weekend.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Mid-Week Wrap-Up

The Viking Sunset 5K on Wednesday, July 30, in Geneva, and the Run for Gus 5K on Thursday, July 31, in Chicago broke up what would have been a dog-days week for Chicago area running. Both events are well-organized and well-attended. On a slightly modified (construction) course at Geneva, Matt Field, 23, of Wheaton, won a close race from Brian Lesiewicz, 22, of Schaumburg, 15:35.60 to 15:39.50. Bryan Barber, 19, of South Elgin, was third in 15:48.84. On the women's side, Elisia Meyle, 15, of North Aurora, won it in 18:52.62. Michelle Plummer, 31, of Gilberts, was next in 19:12.34, followed by Julie Wankowski, 38, of Glen Ellyn, in 19:25.52. There were 551 finishers. For results, go to:
http://www.drkomputing.com
In Chicago, Brent Alexander, 27, of Wilmette, was first at the Run for Gus, in a swift 15:27. He easily topped Robert Duneea, 25, of Plainfield (16:35) and Rob Chenoweth, 39, of Chicago (16:37). The ladies were led by Katie Hauser, 26, of Ingleside, who ran a very strong 17:38. Catherine Duncan, 22, of Chicago was second in 17:54, and Christina Overbeck, 22, of Chicago, was third in 18:19. There were 530 finishers. For results, go to:
http://www.childrensmemorial.org/runforgus/default.asp

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Running into the Future


I've posted earlier information on the construction of the Salt Creek Greenway through eastern DuPage County. I went out yesterday and checked out the section through Elmhurst up to Roosevelt Road.

Photos are from a new paved section north of Eldridge Park in Elmhurst and the path-to-be under Roosevelt Road, which then will head south and east to connect with existing paths all the way to Brookfield.

I see great running, walking, biking and roller-skiing possibilities on this new path. Yesterday, on my maiden voyage, I saw a blue heron and a mommy duck with her babies. This was all within a half-mile of Route 83 and Roosevelt Road.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wave Start for CDC

If you didn't get your newsletter from John Bingham Racing, the Chicago Distance Classic on Aug. 10 will try a wave start for the first time. It will be a voluntary, self-seeded affair without color-coded bibs etc. In other words, there will be four waves of approximately 2,500 runners each, but it's your responsibility to find the wave that's right for you. Race personnel will be there to help. If you're in the race, the City of Chicago's oldest road race, I would check out the Web site and make sure you aren't surprised by the new format. It's a good move on paper because it will ease congestion on a course that includes a lot of narrow bike path. Here's to John (The Penguin) Bingham for trying to make it better for the runners.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The X-Factor . . . Humidity


The X in the Xtreme 10-miler at Waterfall Glen this morning (July 26) was more the humidity than the hills in my opinion. For many of us, to stay in the game, we had to cut back the engines a bit or risk crashing. In a CARA Circuit race, you don't want that to happen. So in general, times were slower than last year, but that isn't to say there weren't fast times. Stanford-bound Chris Derrick, who just graduated from Neuqua Valley HS in Naperville, blasted to a 52:44.7 (5:16 pace) despite the approximately 90 percent humidity and temps near 80. He destroyed a quality field that included runner-up Emisael Favela, 31, of Cicero (55:49.8) and third-place finisher Jack (or Jacek if you like) Kafel, 32, of River Forest (56:55.1). Derrick, as you might know, missed his chance to re-write the books at the Illinois HS meet in May when he came down with mono. I'm glad he had a chance to win a good race like this before he goes off to school. On the women's side, Alona Banai, 24, of Oak Park, claimed the victory with an impressive 1:04:51.5. Banai had done some recreational running, but just started running seriously last year. Her sports background in high school was synchronized swimming! She received her masters in plant biology at Northwestern this past June. Second woman was Meg Sullivan, 28, of Palos Heights (1:07:20.6), and third went to Julie Wankowski, 38, of Glen Ellyn (1:08:20.5). Sam's Club was the major sponsor of this fine event directed by John Gervase. My M55-59 age group could be called Sam's Club as well. Sam Cortes ran 1:01 and change to obliterate the rest of us. Eric Burgess ran a strong second. I was next, quite a ways back, followed by Fritz Gareis. The photo shows 2-3-4 in the age group. Sam never stays for the hardware. Well, we all survived for another day. 657 of us crossed the finish line. What a tough morning for racing!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Lukas and Tera Show

The July 17 Chicago Fire Fighters Run for the Kids 5K in Grant Park was a winner for the kids for sure, but the racing landscape was really accented by the men's and women's victors, Lukas Veribicas and Tera Moody. I confess to have called Veribicas "the runner in yellow and green" during my P.A. play-by-play from the pace car at the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. I had no idea who he was. All I know is the 15-year-old from New Lenox is on fire. He has to be mentioned as a potential high school state champion in the near future. Anyway, Lukas cleaned up with a strong 15:38. Jeff Tomas, 27, of Chicago, was runner-up in 16:18, and Neal Klein, 18, of Streamwood, was third in 16:26. Meanwhile, Moody, 27, the former St. Charles HS star, who most recently placed fifth in the U.S. women's Olympic Marathon trials in Boston, showed up and won the women's division going away with a 17:29. Marie Wolbert, 23, of Chicago, was second in 18:44, and Elizabeth Engel, 33, of Chicago was third in 20:04. Moody was listed as a Chicago resident. Has she moved back from Boulder, Colo.? This event had 1,147 finishers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

No Shortage of Talent at Kurtz 5K

Catching up continued . . .
Last year, the John Kurtz 5K race in Bensenville paid big money, but was somewhat of a joke because it really was 2.85 miles, although billed as a full 5K. This year, they kept the triple-loop format, but got the distance right. Actually, from the times posted for the July 16 evening race, the course may have been long. Who knows? At any rate, there were plenty of Fenton HS alums in the field, starting with winner Art Siemers, 35, now of Golden, Colo., who cruised the course in 15:32.6. Emisael Favela, 31, of Cicero, consistently one of the area's top runners, was second in 15:36.9, and Chris Siemers, 27, of Bensenville (Fenton alum and Art's brother), was third in 15:52.7. Elmhurst College coach Jim Akita, 27, of Elmhurst, was fourth in a nice 15:58.2. On the women's side, Denisa Costescu, 32, of Walled Lake, Mich., made the trip and took home a win in a modest 18:24.4. Karen Prisby, 23, of Wheaton, was next in 18:58.9, and Kristen West, 29, of Streamwood, was third in 19:47.3. Those times are what make me think the course might have been long. If anyone who ran reads this, put down your comments. One other note -- Jim Spivey, a Fenton grad and former Olympian, ran a 20:06. Spivey, 48, of Carol Stream, finished fifth in the men's 40-49 group. This event had about $5,000 in prize money, but had only 99 finishers. Comments???

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Women Definitely Fleet of Feet

In an effort to catch up, there were three local races of note while I was on vacation. One was the Kurtz 5K in Bensenville. Another was the Chicago Firefighters 5K for the Kids (featuring Tera Moody's 17:27), and the other was the amazing Fleet Feet Sports Women's Festival 5K and 10K in Lincoln Park on Sunday, July 20. I'll focus on that for now and catch up on the others in future posts.
In the 10K, there were four finishers under 38 minutes, and in the 5K, the top three bested 18-flat. Age-group fields were deep as women from all over the region made the pilgrimage for what has become an important race for the ladies. It was a great morning of racing. Here are the headliners:

10K
1. Jokatade Agunloye, 28, Chicago, 37:11
2. Christina Overbeck, 22, Chicago, 37:49
3. Crystina Martinez, 21, hometown unknown, 37:54
4. Erin Moffett, 26, Chicago, 37:55
5. Karen Prisby, 23, Wheaton, 38:08

5K
1. Jessica Langford, 37, Rockford, 17:25
2. Claudia Becque, 32, Chicago, 17:35
3. Cassie Peller, 22, Valparaiso, Ind., 17:55

According to the posted results, there were 1,379 finishers in the 10K and 1,003 in the 5K. Great job by FF to put on such a sparkling event.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What? A New Post? It Happens!


I'm still tucked away "up north," but soon will be back on the Chitown scene. Six of us volunteered yesterday at the Door County Triathlon, a spectacular event that takes in much of the county's natural beauty. We handled the water station at Mile 11 of the half-Iron division, and had a blast. My cousins Pat Overton and Bill Orner, good friends Gen and Dave Seefeldt, Nancy and I kept people hydrated for the final push to the finish. We really had fun and I really felt good to be able to give back up here where I have done various races for years all over the county. I want to congratulate good friend Mark Hauser of Chicago for his great overall victory in the sprint division. His final time was 1:08:51. I've been running a lot and eating a lot up here. I'm primed for Waterfall Glen (ha ha) on Saturday.