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 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

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

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!