Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Good luck to everyone doing New Years' races and fun runs. Another year of stories and adventures is about to begin. I'm sorry I've been absent for a while. I have been preoccupied with two large family holiday celebrations, organization of the Northern Illinois Nordic cross-country ski race on Jan. 10 and the serious injuries suffered by a very close friend of ours in Wisconsin as a result of a rollover auto accident near Sheboygan. I was in Milwaukee a couple of days this week to be close to the hospital and was able to take a nostalgic run on the Kinnickinic Parkway. We lived in Milwaukee from 1977-82 and have many fond memories. See you in 2010!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Virgin on Verzbicas, Great Analyzing Great

Through an e-mail exchange I have with a number of Chicago-area runners, the following comments about Sandburg star Lukas Verzbicas come directly from all-time Illinois great Craig Virgin. Craig gave me permission to pass along his comments to you blog readers. I had mentioned in an e-mail that I thought Lukas did better at the Foot Locker Nationals than I thought he would do. He won it by 15 seconds! I had thought he would win by a second or two or possibly even lose. Shame on me. Here's Craig Virgin's response. Enjoy.
Yes, he did even better than I thought, too. Lack of real quality in present senior class helped him; NXN last weekend...hurt FL Championships depth of field somewhat, and his advanced age (Lukas turns 17 next month) held him in good stead with all Juniors...and most seniors. I was wrong on my recollection of how fast he ran 2-miles last June. I stand corrected. He is "real deal" for sure. He now owns all important "mental intimidation factor" over most other H.S. runner athletes....and will beat 95% of them...just by going to the starting line! His legend is growning ...and biggest obstacle....will be staying healthy....and away from running related injuries....or else bicycle accident injuries. I trust that he swims well enough...that triathlon drowning is not an option!....... My course record at Detweiler Park will be in grave jeopardy next November 2010....if he can go out under 4:30 for 1st mile. But, first he has a track season to run.....if he can find time from triathloning....and, if he can stay healthy. Yes, that is a recurring theme....for any talented athlete.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lukas Verzbicas No. 1 in Nation!

Lukas Verzbicas, the phenomenal 16-year-old sophomore at Sandbug High School in Orland Park, made it two national championships this fall by handily winning the Foot Locker Cross-Country title on Saturday in San Diego. The Lithuanian native can run. He won it by 15 seconds! That is quite an accomplishment to say the least. As you might have read in stories in the Sun-Times and Tribune, he thinks not running the Nike Nationals might have helped, and the rain during the race, which made "Illinois conditions" sure didn't hurt. Lukas, who also won the national duathlon title earlier this fall, is someone to watch. That is for absolute sure. Special kudos go to Martin Grady of Fenwick (Oak Park) who was 13th overall at Foot Locker, earning All-American honors. He also was 20th at Nike Nationals the week before, coming in out in that Oregon race as the first Illinois runner. Hey guys, ever tried cross-country ski racing? I'm 90 percent kidding, but not completely!

CARA's Sweet 16 -- the 2010 Runners' Choice Circuit

The Chicago Area Runners Association has announced its competitive points circuit (Runners' Choice) for 2010. Here is the list. I encourage you to take part in these races. The competition and camaradery are great. All the rules are posted on the CARA Web site (www.cararuns.org). Here are the races:

2010 Runners' Choice Circuit
March 21, Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K
April 11, Race That's Good for Life 5K, Oak Park
April 24, CARA Lakefront 10 Miler
May 1, Run to Remember 5K, Chicago
May 29, Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile presented by adidas
June 6, Sternberg Lighting Roselle Run for the Roses 5k
June 13, Downers Grove 5 Mile
July 3, Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 3rd (not 4th this year!)
July 24, Sam’s Club Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 Mile
August 1, Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half Marathon
August 21, DeKalb Cornfest 10K
Sept. 6, Park Forest Scenic 5 Mile
Sept. 12, Chicago Half Marathon
Sept. 25, Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K
Oct. 10, Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Nov. 7, Westchester Veterun 10K

Monday, December 7, 2009

Loyola Runners Have Last Hurrah

York (Elmhurst XC Club), Neuqua Valley (Naperville XC Club) and Loyola Academy (Wilmette XC Club), had their pride on the line Saturday at the Nike Nationals high school cross-country final in Oregon. Neuqua Valley had won the IHSA state meet and York the Nike Midwest Regional, so it was Loyola's turn in the big 5K test out west. The Ramblers (Wilmette XC Club), who beat York three times during the regular season, placed 4th at the nationals with 208 points. Neuqua Valley (I mean Naperville XC) was 12th with 292 points and York (Elmhurst) was 13th of the 22 teams that came from 'cross the country, scoring 295. Congrats to all the runners on these three powerhouse teams. They have been running at the "A" level this entire season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Schaumburg Half a Turkey Delight

The under-the-radar Schaumburg Half Marathon was staged on Saturday, two days after the rush of turkey trots across the region. Patrick Dorgan, 28, of Glen Ellyn, won a close race against runner-up Brent Alexander, 29, of Wilmette, 1:12:06 to 1:12:28. Third place went to Steve Breese, 32, of Schaumburg, in 1:19:32. On the women's side, Jean Marinangeli, 25, of Arlington Heights, on a fast track this year with her Fast Track Racing Club buddies, won in 1:25:14. Jennifer Carder, 34, of Elk Grove Village, was second in 1:31:15, and Hailey Krzystoh, 17, of Willowbrook, was third in 1:33:50. Nice job by all!

Monday, November 30, 2009

That's Verzbicas As In Victory!

The only question on Saturday at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional in Kenosha, WI, was whether Lukas Verzbicas' tender left achilles would be OK. It was. The sophomore from Sandburg High School in Orland Park won the 5,000-meter race at UW-Parkside in 15:34. Martin Grady of Fenwick (Oak Park), who is a resident of Burr Ridge, placed sixth in 15:47. By finishing in the top 10, Verzbicas and Grady qualified for the Foot Locker Nationals on Dec. 12 in San Diego. Verzbicas skipped the Nike Midwest Regional the week before in Terre Haute, IN, to rest his achilles. The two girls from Illinois were Kayla Beattie of Woodstock, who finished 18th in 18:52, and Samantha Fry of Downers Grove, who was 19th in 18:53. Here are the top 10 boys and girls from Saturday in Kenosha:

BOYS
1) Lukas Verzbicas ORLAND HILLS, IL 15:34
2) Walter Schafer CENTENNIAL, CO 15:41
3) Tyler Byrne GEORGETOWN, IN 15:46
4) Nathan Karr ANN ARBOR, MI 15:46
5) Scott Fauble GOLDEN, CO 15:47
6) Martin Grady BURR RIDGE, IL 15:47
7) Colby Alexander STRONGSVILLE, OH 15:49
8) Ryan Poland WESTMINSTER, CO 15:50
9) Danny Nicolls PARKER, CO 15:55
10) Chris Walden CARMEL, IN 15:55

GIRLS
1) Megan Goethals ROCHESTER, MI 17:24
2) Emily Sisson CHESTERFIELD, MO 17:42
3) Katie Flood DES MOINES, IA 17:48
4) Ashlie Decker DES MOINES, IA 17:51
5) Kelsey Lakowske BOULDER, CO 17:52
6) Diane Robison CHESTERFIELD, MO 18:09
7) Sara Kroll WESTLAND, MI 18:15
8) Avery Clifton TOPEKA, KS 18:16
9) Marya Haegler CASCADE, WI 18:17
10) Shannon Osika WATERFORD, MI 18:37

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

North Central Wins Big, Coach Carius Honored

After North Central (Naperville) took the NCAA Division III men's cross-country championship on Saturday, more honors headed NCC's way when Al Carius was named men's coach of the year. Here is the news release from the U.S. Track @ Field and Cross County Coaches Association. Congrats to Al and his outstanding runners.

Carius, Schwamberger Earn Division III Cross Country National Coach of the Year Titles
Courtesy: Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA
November 24, 2009
NEW ORLEANS – Al Carius from North Central College and Dan Schwamberger from UW-Eau Claire were named Division III National Cross Country Coaches of the Year Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Carius, was named men’s coach of the year as his North Central College Cardinals took the NCAA Division III national title on Saturday, their first since 1999. With all seven competing runners earning All-America status, the Cardinals decimated the field, finishing with just 50 points, and the fourth-lowest winning total in the meet's history.

In addition, Carius, in his 44th year at North Central, guided the Cardinals to eight invitational wins this season, attaining a perfect score of 15 in three races this fall which included a sweep for their 36th- consecutive College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin crown this season. The Cardinals also won the NCAA Midwest Region title by a commanding 84-point spread and topped Division I Illinois by 16 points at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships.

Women’s National Coach of the Year Dan Schwamberger, in his third year at the helm at UW-Eau Claire, led the Bluegolds to their second national title in program history and their first in NCAA’s Division III on Saturday. The Bluegolds edged out St. Lawrence, 171-180, for their first national crown since claiming the NAIA Championship in 1984.

This season Schwamberger’s Blugolds also won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title for the third year in a row and the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional for the second-straight year.

St. Lawrence’s Wendy Pavlus and Lynchburg’s Ricky Flynn were honored as the USTFCCCA Division III Cross Country National Athletes of the Year on Saturday following the conclusion of the national championship races.

In addition, 70 student-athletes earned USTFCCCA All-America honors following Saturday’s races.

View a complete list of Division III All-Americans here: http://www.ustfccca.org/assets/awards/div3/allamericans/d3_allamXC_2009.pdf

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lincolnwood Opens Week of Turkey Trots

The annual Lincolnwood Turkey Trot, always well-managed and full of fast runners, was run on Sunday with 690 5K finishers and 509 10K finishers. The 5K men's field was led by Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, consistently one of the area's top runners, in 15:34. Felipe Lopez, 33, of Chicago, was next in 17:05, and third went to Mark Dolgin, 27, of Chicago, in 17:45. The women's top three went like this: Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago, in 17:47; Kayoko Hamamura, 48, of Chicago, in 19:53; and Michelle Thom, 40, of Chicago, in 20:30.In the 10K, Oscar Ramos, 35, of Chicago was first across the line in 34:32. Second went to Alberto Perez, 27, of Chicago, in 35:29, and third went to Bo Muzikowski, 18, of Chicago, in 36:22. The women were led by Michelle Rich, 35, of Chicago, who ran a 40:39. Runner-up lady was Karen Grabowski, 34, of Chicago, one of the toughest competitors I've ever met, who ran a 41:18. Third went to Erica Sitkoff, 30, of Chicago, who ran a 41:45.

Pilgrim Pacer 5K Draws 454 Finishers

The Pilgrim Pacer 5K in LaGrange, IL, had almost perfect conditions on Sunday (Nov. 22) as a large field came out to begin building their appetites for Thanksgiving, when it will be considerably colder. Sarah Grzybek, 29, of Tinley Park, won the women's competition in 18:28.7, while Archie Bareikis, 23, of Oak Forest, took overall honors with a nice uncontested 15:49.4. Second and thrd women were Meghan Kennihan, 28, of LaGrange, in 18:33.9 (close!), and Charlotte Walsh, 16, of LaGrange Park, in 20:04.5 On the men's side, John Flores, 13, of Countryside, was a distant second in 17:24, and Ronald Lavaire, 23, of Shelbyville (not sure which state),took third in 17:27.6. With 454 finishers, I'd say the race was a success.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

York (Kroy) Wins Nike Midwest

The York (Kroy for post-IHSA races) boys put their losses to Neuqua Valley and Loyola at the state meet behind them on Sunday, beating both of their rivals at the Nike Nationals Midwest Regional in Terre Haute, IN. Andrew Smith and Jack Driggs went 5-6 to lead the Dukes. York (Kroy or Elmhurst depending on the year) is the only team to qualify for the nationals in Portland, OR, all six years the Nike event has been held. Please check out Dyestat for all the info. They do a great job of reporting.
http://www.dyestat.com//?pg=us-2009-XC-NXN-Midwest-Region

Alexander, Peters Gobble 'Em Up

Brent Alexander and Claire Peters were clear winners on Sunday in the Oswegoland Park District's annual Hobbler Gobbler 10K in Oswego. Alexander 29, of Wilmette, cruised to 33:50 victory. Peters, 23, of Naperville, also won comfortably in 43:37. Hats off to masters winners Bill Holstine, 43, of Aurora, who ran a 35:37.2, and Mary Bogdan, 40, of Frankfort, who posted a 44:00, which also got her second-place overall in the women's standings. There were 452 finishers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Boston Is Filled; Registration Closes

Yep, it's true. The Boston Marathon has hit its 25,000 limit and registration for 2010 is closed. Here's the story:
http://www.bostonmarathon.org/News.asp?NewsID=408

I had heard it would close Friday from Mr. Boston, Mark Buciak of Chicago. Mark, who has run 30 consecutive Boston Marathons, lives for the event (well, almost!).

M25-29, A CARA Conundrum?

Jeff Jonaitis (M25-29) probably is the best or almost the best runner in the Chicago area. In CARA Runners' Choice Series races this year, he ran a 24:29 in the snowy, slushy Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle; 49:58 at the Soldier Field 10-Miler; 30:58 at the DeKalb Cornfest 10K and 2:18:01 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. He easily won his age group in those four races, but to win your overall age group in the Runners' Choice standings, you need to have run seven races. A closer look at the M25-29 group shows that no one ran seven or more races. I don't recall anything like that ever happening except in age groups like 0-14 and 80-plus. First, hats off to Jeff for a great season on and off the circuit. Second, what happens in that age group? Third, does anyone remember a similar situation in the past?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Westchester Veterun Goes to Ware, Marinangeli

And what a race it was. The previously blogged Veterun in Westchester produced two top-notch victories as a pair of 25-year-olds, Chad Ware of Deerfield (top photo), and Jean Marinangeli of Arlington Heights, grabbed the overall titles in the 10K, which was the season finale on the CARA Runner's Choice Series circuit of races. Both winners have done well this year and put their championship stamps on a great year with their wins. Ware won in a fleet-feeted 31:12 while Marinangeli was top woman in 36:35.On the men's side, second through fourth went like this: Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, 31:31; Lars Juhl, 32, of Chicago, 31:37; Julius Rotich, 34, Kenya via West Des Moines, Iowa, 32:26; and masters master Dave Wilson, 40, of Brookfield, 33:03. Two through four for the women were: Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago (shown in photo at about 3.3 miles with Marinangeli, who is wearing No. 1234), 37:16; Christina Overbeck, 23, of Chicago, 37:19; Tammy Lifka, 39, of Glen Ellyn, 39:53; and Erika Vazquez, 29, of Chicago, 40:26. There were some nice battles in various age groups, and a total of 529 runners finished.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Veterun -- A Day to Run and Remember

I'm a veteran, drafted from 1971-'73 during the Vietnam War. I was not im combat and consider myself very lucky. For me, it's simple. I know others weren't as fortunate as I was, and to honor them, I don't miss the Veterun in Westchester. Because of injuries, I'm not running right now, but I went and watched this year's race, which was run in unseasonably warm conditions. It was great with many of the top names from the local running scene making the CARA Runners' Choice Series finale a hot one to say the least! I don't want to post any results until I see the official ones, but there were some sizzling times. They had quite a crowd out there today, too, watching at various points along the course. It was truly a remarkable day. As part of the big picture, they also had the traveling version of the Vietnam Memorial set up in the park behind the tent. I went and took a look, hoping to find the name a high school friend who died over in Nam while I sat behind a typewriter in Washington, D.C. I didn't find it, but saw names of thousands of other members of the armed services who made the ultimate sacrifice in that war. Those few moments behind the tent put me in a somber mood as I remembered those days I spent in the Army. But watching the race picked me up in a hurry! Congrats to all who ran today.

Tessling,Nagel Win Fall Frolic

I've only run it twice, and it's been a while, but one of the best runs a lot of people don't know about is the annual Fall Frolic/Jennie Hamilton 4-miler in Hammond, IN. Over the years, a lot of big-name runners have stopped in to do this race in the place where Chicago Marathon director Carey Pinkowski grew up. Sunday's version was more locally oriented as John Tessling, 20, of Glenwood, IL, and Karen Nagel, 30, of Valparaiso, IN, took individual honors. Tessling won it in 21:41.29, and Nagel posted a 24:16.40. Second and third men were James Elia, 18, of Valparaiso in 21:48.87 and Alberto Perez, 27, of Chicago, in 21:56.39. Second and third women were Christine Leslie, 17, of Griffith, IN, in 25:59.71,and Chris Wickard, 39, of Crown Point, IN, in 26:18.22. Special kudos go to male masters winner Dave Macknick, 45, of Chicago, who ran a strong 23:48.55. I've known Mac for a long time through our ties in past years with the Chicago Marathon. Way to go, Mac! Women's masters champ was Angelia Erb, 47, of Hammond, in 30:00.73. Put this race on your to-do list for the future.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Imig, Marinangeli Sweetest at Hot Chocolate 15K

The Hot Chocolate 15K and 5K attracted close to 10,000 runners to the north lakefront on Sunday. I wasn't there, but I would be interested on hearing how crowded the course was or wasn't. According to preliminary results, 4,172 people finished the 15K (9.3 miles) and 4,473 finished the 5K. Congrats go out to Steve Imig, 32, of Geneva, who wom the overall 15K title in 49:11, and Jean Marinangeli, 25, of Arlington Heights, who took women's honors in a nice 56:32. Ryan Hopper, 27, of Chicago, comfortably placed second overall in 50:58, and Mac McCulley, 25, of Grayslake, nabbed third in 51:29. No. 2 woman was Suet-Fei Li, 34, of Schaumburg, who is at or near the top at every CARA Runner's Choice Series race. She ran a 59:30. Third went to Emily Inskeep, 27, of Chicago, in 59:41. Two of the many notable performances in this race were by Mike Egle and Nancy Rollins. Egle, 47, of Glenview, finished eighth overall and was top master in 53:45. Rollins, 63, of Evanston, was 38th woman overall and easily won her age group in 1:05:49. In fact she beat all the male 60-64 runners as well. In the 5K, Brent Alexander, 29, of Wilmette, won in 16:06, and Angelo Kidd, 32, of Clarendon Hills, was women's champ in 18:38. So how was it today? Comments are welcome.

Favela, Montes Alive for Sure at Day of the Dead

Saturday's Carrera de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 3.2-mile race (that's right) in Chicago went to Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, in 16:38.5, and Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago, in 19:10.9. The festive Halloween run had 1,034 finishers. On the men's side, Matthew Lavine, 35, of Crystal Lake, took second in 17:38.7, a full minute-plus behind Favela. Chris Sengenberger, 24, of Chicago, was third in 17:58.6. Runner-up to Montes on the female side was Clara Prouty, 34, of Oak Park, who ran 19:29.6, and third went to Alexis Carabello, age and hometown not available, in 22:01.3. Thanks to F50-54 winner Eileen Skisak for the great photos.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Setzlers Carve Out Wins at Sycamore

Chris and Cari Setzler of Wonder Lake took home the hardware on Sunday at the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival 10K run. Chris, 37, left no doubt about who would break the tape on the golf course with a strong 32:50. That left the battle for second to Jan Myrda, 38, of Palos Heights, and Mark Heintz, 26, of Schaumburg. Myrda, the No. 1 cross-country ski racer in Illinois, tuned up for the upcoming Nordic season, beating his younger foe, 34:18 to 34:20. Cari Setzler, 31, also had breathing room, winning the women's race with a 41:36. Finishing second and third were Sarah Bailey, 26, of Elgin, with a 42:55 and Jennifer Fox, 29, of North Aurora, with a 43:01. After countless years on the CARA (competitive Circuit, the race was not included in the CARA Runners' Choice (formerly the Circuit) this year, losing out in the popular vote to the Frank Lloyd Wright Run in Oak Park (see separate report). But I'm happy to report that Sycamore, still designated a prestigious Best of Chicagoland race, had 1,185 finishers, an increase from last year when 1,175 finished the 2008 Circuit race.

Fleetest Feet Rule Trick or Treat Trot

Note: I have updated this to be correct as per the first comment, which was made when I had another runner finishing second in the 10K.
The annual Trick or Treat Trot Presented by Fleet Feet Sports drew more than 1,500 runners to the lakefront on Sunday. In the 5K, Emil Bojanov, 25, of Chicago, took overall honors in 15:28.7 with Columbia Montes, 30, of Chicago, easily taking the women's competition in 17:58.2. Taing second and third in the men's race were Jeff Hojnacki, 35, of Chicago, in 16:16.9 and Jesse Kleinjam, 25, of Chicago, in 16:22.3. Elizabeth Waterstraat, 34, of Lisle ran a 19:18.6 for runner-up on the women's side, with Veronica Laureano, 25, of Chicago, garnering third in 20:15.8.
In the 10K, the women were impressive as Heather Prekop, 27, of Chicago, won in 37:50. She was followed in second and third by Christina Overbeck, 23, of Chicago, in 38:18, and Michelle Densmore, 28, of Chicago, in 39:34. Men's 10K winner was Eric Hofmann, 22, of Homewood, who cruised in with a 33:58. Second was Sam Ramirez, 42, of Chicago, in 36:12, and third was Chris Dumbrowski, 25, of Chicago, who ran a 36:52. There were 827 finishers in the 5K and 719 in the 10K. Hats off Fleet Feet for another quality event.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tharaud, Langford Have 'Wright' Stuff

Jerome Tharaud and Jessica Langford were the winners of the Frank Lloyd Wright Races 10K on Sunday in scenic Oak Park. Tharaud won the CARA Runners' Choice Series race on the just-about-flat near west suburban streets in 32:20. Tharaud, 29, won a close battle against Michael Ptack Jr., 23, who was second in 32:23, and Dave Wilson, 40, who was third in 32:25. Langford, 38, of Rockford, made her long trip worthwhile, taking the women's field in 37:51. Runner-up was Amber Druien, 24, just slightly back in 37:54, with third place going to Clara Prouty, 34, who ran 38:26. There were 805 finishers with some outstanding times turned in by CARA runners looking for points as the overall season nears it end. In the accompanying 5K, there were 705 finishers with Michael Straza, 39, winning in 16:37, and Sanya Syrstad capturing women's honors in 19:28.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Tragic Side of Running

By now, I'm sure you know three runners died on Sunday during or after the half-marathon portion of the Detroit Free-Press Marathon. Temperatures were in the 40s and the race's medical staff was on the scene in seconds in each situation. We'll never know if the three runners had heart conditions they didn't know about. We'll never know anything more than they died of heart attacks. I feel terrible for the families of the runners and for the Detroit race organizers who worked hard to put on a safe event. This isn't the first race to have deaths in the headlines this year and probably won't be the last. My good friend Mark Buciak, who has 30 straight Boston Marathons despite having open-heart surgery in 2005, has good advice. Get an annual physical. I have advice for race organizers. Do what they do in a lot of the European races; require a physical as part of the entry process or at least a note from a doctor saying that the applicant is in good health and capable of running a marathon, half-marathon or whatever. Comments???

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chris Siemers Wins Denver Marathon

Bensenville (Fenton grad) native Chris Siemers won the Denver Marathon on Sunday with a 2:23:08. He trailed defending champion Jynocel Bosweti, 22, of Kenya, until the final mile. At that point, 28-year-old Siemers, now of Arvada, CO, surged and won going away. He was quoted in a race report as saying teammate Michael Aish told him he was only 19 seconds behind with a mile to go and Bosweti was fading fast. So, Siemers said, he threw off his glasses and got to work. Bosweti finished second in 2:23:56. Siemers had trailed by as much as a half-mile midway through the race. The women's winner was Holly McIlvaine, 36, of Seattle, in 3:00:26.

Amsterdam: Another Record by 1 Second!

The odds of this happening weren't great, especially when Haile Gebrselassie had the course record, but young Kenyan Gilbert Yegon ran a 2:06:19 on Sunday to win the Amsterdam marathon and erase Geb's 2:06:20 in 2005 from the record books. With Chicago and Amsterdam in the books, what marathon will make this a hat trick (three one-second record breakers for you non-hockey fans). Anyway, I thought you woud like this bit of trivia.

M. Wehrman, Becque Top Pumpkins in the Park

Mark Wehrman, younger brother of well-known Chicago runner Chris Wehrman, won this year's Pumpkins in the Park 5K. Wehrman, 23, of Chicago, took the "scary" race in Lincoln Park with a 15:56. Eric Hofmann, 22, of Homewood, was second in 16:12, and Dan Kittoro, 21, of Chicago, was third in 16:14. Claudia Becque, 33, of Chicago, placed 11th overall in the finishing field of 1,499, easily winning the women's division in 16:58. Jennifer Langford, 38, of Rockford, was next in 18:07, and was was followed for third by Joan Cundey, 28, of Chicago, in 18:58. Congrats to the organizers and finishers for another first-rate event.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Marathon Highs Great to See

It's been fun being around people who are still experiencing the after-glow of a cold but very satisfying Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Everywhere I go in running circles, there is talk of fast performances, great crowds and a mighty chilly final three miles into the wind. When you go through the top couple of hundred men and women in the results, there are familiar names with phenomenal times. What contrast to to the two previous years of oven-baked marathoning that cursed Chicago worse than a Billy Goat at Wrigley Field. Enough said. There are those of you who are just getting ready to run other marathons such as Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Columbus, Detroit etc. etc. etc. If you're going 26.2 this weekend, the weather looks good. Grand Rapids, for instance, expects 45 to 60 degrees, almost ideal for running. Wherever you go, good luck! For those of you staying home, there is a potpourri of short, non-pressure races around Chicagoland. And if you don't want to race, the conditions for nice runs on the many pathways around the area will be close to perfect.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just-In-Time Economics for Wanjiru!

Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya easily was the class of the field on Sunday at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. On a cold day, Wanjiru won it in an event-record 2:05:41, ONE second ahead of Khalid Khannouchi's previous mark set in 1999, also run in chilly weather, but not temps this cold. Not knowing the Chicago record (shades of Steve Jones back in 1984), Wanjiru unintentionally cut it close, waving to the crowd while motoring in on Columbus Drive. He made it though, and in addition to the $75,000 for first place, he earned another $100,000 for the course record. Of course, he also gets maybe $250,000 in hidden appearance fees. Mr. Runner-up Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco took second in a tactical run that got him across the line in 2:06:04. Third went to touted Kenyan Vincent Kipruto, who was in at 2:06:08. I'm sure you know the strategies and drama already. It was nice to see Chicago back on marathoning's main stage. I must say that having seen Berlin's course on TV last week, I'm not sure Chicago's layout is as fast. I admire Sammy for trying to break Haile G's 2:03:59 world record set in 2008 at Berlin, but maybe this course isn't fast enough. We won't know for at least another year. And kudos to Russian Liliya Shobukhova, who made all the right moves at the right time to win a tactical race for the ladies in 2:25:56. Germany's Irina Mikitenko (born in Russia) took second in 2:26:31 to sew up the World Marathon Majors' two-year title that ends with New York on Nov. 1. Third went to Russian and 2008 Chicago champion Lidiya Grigoryeva in 2:26:47. One-year plus after her Olympic foot injury, American Deena Kastor was 10 minutes off her real goal, and finished sixth in 2:28:50. Chicago-area native (Batavia and then St. Charles High School) Tera Moody led the first 10K and wound up ninth in 2:32:59, a PR, I believe. Back on the men's side, here's a salute to Schaumburg native Patrick Rizzo, who was 10th overall in 2:15:48! Hats off to locals Jeff Jonaitis (15th. in 2:18:01), Lars Juhl (thanks, Denmark -- 22nd in 2:20:05) and Chad Ware (24th in 2:20:47). Many others of both genders and all ages ran and rolled excellent races. It was a good day to run for the 34,792 starters and a great way for executive race director Carey Pinkowski to enjoy his 20th year in charge of the race.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Goebel DQ'd from Win at Milwaukee

Jennifer Goebel of Lombard listened to her iPod during the late stages of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on Sunday, a violation of USATF rules, and it cost her the victory, which she only had gotten after the original winner, Cassie Peller, was DQ'd because she accepted a bottle of water from a friend in between official aid stations, also a USATF rule violation. The disqualification of the top two women has raised quite a stir, and late Wednesday, Corina Canitz, 42, of Brookfield, Wis., the two-time defending champion, was declared a winner after Goebel's appeal was turned down. Goebel, a physical therapist in Elmhurst, finished in 3:02:50. I have been tied up and I am a friend of Goebel's, so maybe it's best that I refrain from too much reporting on this one. The last time I saw her was a week ago today when I wished her good luck. I don't think she had any idea she would be in contention to win or be embroiled in a controversy. There has been good reporting of this story from Tom Held of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Please read the following:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/lifestyle/63708807.html

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/lifestyle/63668622.html

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Goebel First Woman at Milwaukee

Jennifer Goebel, 27, of Lombard, Ill., was the women's winner on Sunday at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. Goebel, a physical therapist at Olympic Chiropractic in Elmhurst and a member of the Elmhurst Running Club, crossed the line in 3:02:50. Corina Crantz, 42, of Brookfield, Wis., was second in 3:04:20, and Katlyn Regan, 24, of Chicago, was third in 3:05:22. On the men's side, Ryan Miessen, 31 and a strong regional powerhouse from Mukwonago, Wis., won in 2:24:55. He was followed in second and third by Aaron Nodolph, 31, of Menomonee Falls, Wis., in 2:28:49, and Austin Johnson, also 31, of Madison, Wis., in 2:33:44. There were 1,884 finishers; 1,121, men and 763 women.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lukas V. Wins ITU Junior Duathlon Title!

I'm a litttle late with this, but national phenom Lukas Verzbicas of south suburban New Lenox won the ITU Junior Duathlon championship on Sept. 26 in Concord, NC. He did it with a great kick at the end of the second run to beat a competitor from Spain. Lukas, who is a sophomore at Sandburg High School in Orland Park, also is expected to be atop the leaderboard at the Illinois state cross-country finals in November at Peoria's Detweiller Park. He is one to watch and keep watching. He's been featured in Runner's World, Running Times, the Trib, the Sun-Times and elsewhere. I first saw him at his "coming out" at the 2008 Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th, which I direct. I had no idea who he was when he was right there with three top regional runners with a mile to go. Now, I do! For a good report on the Junior Duathlon championships, check out: http://usatriathlon.org/news/article/16338

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Torres Running New York Marathon

With the 2016 Olympic bid announcement affecting Chicago due in two days and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon 11 days away, the New York Road Runners have been busy pumping out publicity for the ING New York Marathon on Nov. 1. One thing caught my eye yesterday. Jorge Torres, who was a four-time state champion at Wheeling High School before going on to the University of Coloardo with his twin brother Edwardo, is making his marathon debut in New York. I wish it would be in Chicago, but that's the way things are playing out. Torres, 29, of Boulder, CO, will be taking the plunge after much success at the 5000-meter and 10,000-meter distances. In 2008, he finished third in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials to secure his first Olympic appearance (Beijing), and finished second at the USA Cross Country Championships. Torres placed fourth at the USA Cross Country Championships this year. Edwardo ran Chicago in 2006, but had trouble in the latter stages of the race, finishing 61st in 2:22.07. It will be interesting to see how Jorge does.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Moody Tunes Up at Park Ridge Charity Classic

U.S. marathoner Tera Moody, a native of St. Charles and a prep star in Illinois in her earlier days, warmed up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Saturday, winning the women's division of the Park Ridge Charity Classic in 16:14.59. Moody, 28, of Colorado Springs, CO, finished fifth overall in the very tough CARA Runners' Choice Series field of runners. A distant second, but with a very good time, was Jean Marinangeli, 25, of Arlington Heights, who ran a 17:32:20. Third went to Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago, in 17:34.45. On the men's side, Dave Wilson, 40, of Brookfield, last year's CARA male runner of the year, won in 15:49.59 on the fast out-and back course. Runner-up was Nathan Kennedy, 23, of Bolingbrook, in 15:57.51, and third went to Elliot Havel, 18, of Evanston, who clocked a 16:07.73. There were some amazingly fast times in what were very good conditions. Many of the age groups featured top names with excellent times. Go to www.drkomputing.com to see the results.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nike High School Meet Set for Marathon Day

Nike announced on Friday that for the first time ever, a high school invitational meet will take place during the Oct. 11 Chicago Marathon on the race-day course. While the marathon's 35,000-plus actual (45,00 registered) runners race through the streets of Chicago, approximately 300 high school athletes from local schools will compete in their own event: the Nike Northside/Southside Challenge at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
The event marks the first time a World Marathon Major will feature high school athletes competing in an invitational meet, on the race-day course, while the marathon is in progress. Many of you remember that Boston had invitational miles for local preps this year, but that was the day before the marathon.
The Nike Northside/Southside Challenge will take place on the final 2.62 miles of the Chicago course starting at 31st and Michigan and will end at the marathon finish line on Columbus. It has been approved by the Illinois High School Association according to Nike officials.
Co-hosted by the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Nike and Whitney Young High School, the Challenge will take place on the final 2.62 miles of the course after the marathon officially begins. The boys’ competition will start at 7:40 a.m., followed by the girls’ at 7:45 a.m.
"Nike is inspiring the next generation of runners by giving them the experience of racing in the footsteps of their running heroes," said Reg Hamlett, general manager of Nike's central territory. "The Northside/Southside Challenge is a ground-breaking way to bring a new energy to a preeminent marathon."
“In hosting the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, an event that draws 45,000 runners and 1.5 million spectators to the city streets, we have a unique opportunity to impact the Chicago community in large ways,” said Tim Maloney, Illinois State and Chicago Market President for Bank of America. “The addition of this high school event furthers that impact by providing a first-ever opportunity for local high school athletes to compete on a grand stage.”
High school teams from the Chicagoland area will be invited to compete in the Northside/Southside Challenge by Whitney Young coach Robert Geiger. Each team will be designated as either “Northside” or “Southside,” based on their geographic location, and will be grouped together to be coached by Nike elite athletes pre-race, to receive last-minute pointers and motivational advice.
Individual and team winners will be named for both boys and girls. In addition, based on the cumulative times of their runners, either “Northside” or “Southside” will be designated as the winner of the 2009 Challenge.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back in Town With a Few Questions

Sorry I've been quiet lately. I was out of town and unable to post anything. In the meantime, while I was away, I wondered what is most important to you?
a. Just running or mixing in some racing?
b. Long slow distance, LSD with some speedwork, good old jogging?
c. If you like racing, what do you like best: CARA/USATF certified courses, T-shirts, social camaraderie, food or what?
d. If you love plain old running, what do you like best, running with others, running alone, running on soft-surface trails, running on roads?
e. Have you ever thought of what it would be like if you couldn't run?
f. How do you rate the Chicago area when compared to other major metropolitan areas when it comes to all spects of running?
f. What else comes to mind when you think of running?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gebrselassie vs. Kibet Sunday in Berlin

This is worth watching on Universal Sports Sunday morning. Chicago wants to be the fastest World Marathon Majors race and might be, but when you have Haile Gebrselassie, the Ethiopian great who has the world record of 2:03:59, running against Duncan Kibet, the Kenyan who ran 2:04:27 at Rotterdam in April, you have a matchup of epic proportions. Berlin will have very warm weather to contend with, which is unfortunate. Blame it on the German national elections a week from Sunday, which forced the marathon to be run a week earlier than usual. Both runners respect each other and will go for it if the weather allows. It should be a fun race to watch. There are other very strong runners in the race who could make it intriguing if one of big two fails. After Sunday, it's on to Chicago for the World Marathon Majors in what I hope is a safe and fast race in normal (not hot) weather on Oct. 11!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mikitenko Joins Chicago Marathon Field

The women's World Marathon Majors leader will be running in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11. This is another awesome recruiting job by executive director Carey Pinkowski. The following news release includes the names of a few other top elites as the field has been completed. Check it out:

Reigning World Marathon Majors Champion Irina Mikitenko Joins
2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Field

Addition of Several World Class Athletes Completes Elite Field for Oct. 11 Race

CHICAGO, IL (September 15, 2009) -- The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced its final roster of elite athletes headlined by reigning World Marathon Majors women's champion Irina Mikitenko (GER). The female competition also welcomes Japan's Mizuho Nasukawa, Russia's Liliya Shobukhova and Romania's Adriana Pirtea. The men's field deepened with the additions of Morocco's Abderrahim Goumri and Kenya's Vincent Kipruto.
Mikitenko arrives to Chicago having won the last three races in which she has competed - all World Marathon Majors (London 2008, 2009 and Berlin 2008). Her dominance at the finish line earned her the 2007-08 World Marathon Majors championship and has her poised atop the current leaderboard. Her 2:19:19 personal best, set in Berlin last fall, is the fastest time among any of the females competing in Chicago this fall. Mikitenko's top competition is likely to come from 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor (USA), who joined the field in June with her sights on lowering the American record she set in 2006 (2:19:36).
"I am greatly looking forward to racing in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as it is one of the world's fastest courses, but my decision to run there is also part of a larger professional goal,"said Mikitenko from Germany. "My hope is to win each of the five World Marathon Majors and a victory in Chicago would be the next big step toward that achievement."
"Irina has been the most consistent marathon champion over the last two-and-a-half years with back-to-back victories in London and a 2008 Berlin win," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "It has been amazing to watch her grow in athleticism, strength and tactical approach to become the leading female in marathoning today. The combination of women we've brought together will make for an exciting race."
The women's field is not a two-woman race, however. Shobukhova is a rising star in the sport having posted a 2:24:24 in her debut performance, one that earned her third place among a strong 2009 London Marathon field. Pirtea is a contender as well with a solid Chicago history to her credit. Returning for her third consecutive year in Chicago, Pirtea is hungry to capture the victory that narrowly eluded her in 2007 when she took second behind two-time champion Berhane Adere (ETH). Not to be forgotten, returning champion Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) committed earlier this summer to make an attempt at retaining her 2008 crown and at becoming only the eighth woman in Chicago Marathon history to win the race more than once.
Kipruto, a 21-year-old from Kenya adds intrigue to the men's field having captured the world's attention with a new course record (2:05:47) in his 2009 Paris Marathon victory, only his second marathon appearance. Goumri will look to continue the Moroccan tradition in Chicago, mirroring the talents and top finishes of Abdelkader el Mouaziz, Khalid Khannouchi and Jaouad Gharib. As one of three men in the field with a sub-2:06 personal record (2:05:30), Goumri will challenge Kipruto and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru, 22, who announced his intentions this summer to post a new personal record improving on the 2:05:10 he set in London this year.
Former Chicago champion Patrick Ivuti (2007) recently withdrew from competition due to minor injury.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a history of producing some of the world's fastest times including four previous world records and more than 15 national records. With its flat, sleek course design, exceptional operational scheme and tradition of enthusiastic sports fans, the race is a lightning rod for the world's greatest athletes. With the addition of today's athletes the current field boasts two Olympic Marathon medals, three Chicago Marathon championships, 10 World Marathon Major race victories and one World Marathon Majors championship.
A complete roster of elite athletes for the October 11 Bank of America Chicago Marathon follows:

WOMEN
Name Country Personal Best
Teyba Erkesso Ethiopia 2:24:18
Lidiya Grigoryeva Russia 2:25:10
Carol Jefferson United States Debut
Deena Kastor United States 2:19:36
Irina Mikitenko Germany 2:19:19
Tera Moody (St. Charles native) United States 2:33:54
Mizuho Nasukawa Japan 2:25:38
Adriana Pirtea Romania 2:28:52
Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:24:24
Melissa White United States 2:37:53

MEN
Name Country Personal Best
Boaz Cheboiywo Kenya 2:21:40
Evans Cheruiyot Kenya 2:06:25
Abderrahim Goumri Morocco 2:05:30
Procopio Franco Hernandez Mexico 2:11:42
Vincent Kipruto Kenya 2:05:47
Wesley Korir Kenya 2:08:24
Benjamin Maiyo Kenya 2:07:09
Charles Munyeki Kenya Debut
Seth Pilkington United States Debut
Patrick Rizzo (Schaumburg native) United States 2:17:05
Bret Schoolmeester United States Debut
Tadese Tola Ethiopia Debut
Sammy Wanjiru Kenya 2:05:10

North Park Names Stolley New Coach

For you true geeks, North Park College has named Skip Stolley as its new track and field coach. For the story on this talented coach, check out:
http://www.northpark.edu/Athletics/Viking-News/Current-News/Stolley-Named-New-Track-and-Field-Coach.aspx

Yep, This Week It's the Alpine Half

I am sidelined with a foot injury and will be out of town anyway, but my favorite Chicago-area half-marathon is this Sunday in Lake Zurich. The Alpine Races Half-Marathon features great scenery with the lake, nice neighborhoods, a few hills and a fun atmosphere. Until this year, it was on the CARA Circuit (competitive races for points in each age group), which became the Runers' Choice Series this year. If you want a nice half-marathon experience, head to Lake Zurich. And if you see Pat and Beth Onines, say hello to two of the most decidated running organizers and volunteers in our state.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sheehan, Ellis Take Crystal Lake Half

In that "other" half-marathon Sunday, Matt Sheehan, 27, of Arlington Heights, and Jenny Ellis, 24, of Port Barrington, won the Crystal Lake Memorial Half Marathon. Sheehan was comfortably in front with a nice 1:13.15.1, and Ellis had an even bigger victory margin in the women's competition with a 1:22:41.8. Back on the men's side, Nate McPherson, 24, of Palatine took runner-up honors with a 1:18:00.4, and Jose Cascia, 41, of Loves Park (near Rockford), was third in 1:19:27.4 Second and third women were Terry Odell, 48, of Rockford, in 1:31:31.1, and Shanna Piggott, 31, of Round Lake, in 1:31:47.6. There were 509 finishers.

Rizzo, White Win Chicago Half Marathon

Patrick Rizzo, 26, and Melissa White, 28, both members of the Hansons team based in Rochester Hills, Mich., were the winners of the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday. Rizzo won the men's and overall title, dethroning three-time winner Greg Costello, 28, of Chicago, with a 1:07:49 to Costello's 1:08:50. White was way ahead on the women's side, running a 1:14:56. Amanda Domich, 24, of Chicago, was second in 1:20:05. Back on the men's side, third through fifth went to Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, in 1:08:55; Jose Munez, 24, of San Antonio, Texas, in 1:09:14; and Matthew Lacey, 25, of Chicago, in 1:09:38. A lot of other prominent runers graced the top 20 in this race which had 13,854 finishers on a nice morning along the lakefront. In the women's race, Christina Overbeck, 23, of Chicago, was third in 1:21:40. Fourth and fifth went to Amber Druien, 24, of Woodstock, in 1:21:48, and Carol Jefferson, 26, of Rochester Hills, Mich., in 1:22:33.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Verzbicas Blasts Out of Starting Gate

Lukas Verzbicas, the phenomenal high school runner/triathlete-duathlete, is worth watching. If you didn't see it in person or read the accounts in the Sun-Times and Tribune on Sunday, the 16-year-old sophomore made his debut for Sandburg High School wish a smashing win at the Lions Pride Invitational, hosted by Lyons Township in Western Springs. He covered the 4,800-meter course in 14:19.76, more than 16 seconds better than the course record he set there last year as a freshman at Lincoln-Way Central. Runner-up Sam Telfer of Lyons, an all-stater last year, came in at 15:15.62. Everyone wants to see what Verzbicas do on Sept. 19 at the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational at Detweiller Park, site of the state meet in November, but Lukas may be tapering that week for the International Triathlon Union Short Course World Duathlon Championship in Concord, N.C. Then it's likely he'll focus on cross-country throughout the rest of the fall. This kid is incredible. There's no telling what he might do before his high school career is over.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fryin, Hattendorf Win Oak Brook Half-Marathon

With a bit of fog and a lot of humidity, runners at the second annual Oak Brook Half-Marathon got going about 7:20 a.m. on Monday, 20 minutes late. When it was over, Mark Fryin, 23, of Elmhurst, was the winner in 1:11:19. Joseph Sepe, 23, of Madison, Wis., was second in 1:13:10.8, and Mike Ptack, 23, of Elmhurst, was third in 1:13:41.5. The women's championships went to Lindsay Hattendorf, 25, of Crown Point, Ind., who ran a 1:18:58.9. I remember Lindsay from when she came up in 2007 and won the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. Second woman on Monday was Kim Miltz, 35, of Hoffman Estates. Miltz, who once ran in the U.S. Olympic marathon trials, ran a 1:24:14.9, Third-place finisher was Jennifer Goebel, 27, of Lombard, who ran a 1:26:53.8. I was not at the race but I heard there was some confusion about when it would start. I am told it was announced that the race would start at 7:30 from its original 7 a.m. Then it was changed back to 7:15 and eventually went off at 7:20. There were 1,509 finishers. Congrats to all.

The Fast Lane -- Park Forest Scenic 5-Miler

It was a bit humid, but the temperature was 63 with cloud cover as runners in the Park Forest Scenic 5 headed out on Monday morning. It was a small but quality group of runners for the race directed by Bud James. In the men's division, Kenyan Julius Kiptoo, 32, based in Durham, N.C., won in 23:30, setting an event record. Harbert Okuti, 23, based in New Rochelle, N.Y., was second in 23:56, and Lazarus O Nyakeraka, 33, living in Country Club Hills, Ill., was third in 23:57. As you can see, James still has no problem luring top-level runners to his watered-down event from what used to be the nationally-known Scenic 10. On the women's side, defending champion Lucie Mays-Sulewski, 39, of Westfield, Ind., won again in 28:56. She was followed by Jean E. Marinangeli, 25, of Arlington Heights in 29:05, and CARA overall women's leader Suet-Fei Li, 33, of Schaumburg, in 29:20. This was a superb event with no flaws to speak of. It was a small field of 372 finishers, many of whom were competing for points on the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit. For those of you who have raced in Park Forest in the past, but have not done the 5-miler, the pancakes are better than ever!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Juhl Wins Foot Mechanics 13.1: Updated

Lars Juhl (photo) won the second annual Foot Mechanics Half-Madness 13.1 on Sunday in Batavia with plenty of room to spare. Juhl, 32, of Chicago, was by himself as he crossed the finish line in 1:07:45. Nick Hird, 25, of Naperville, was runner-up in 1:11:37, and Steve Imig, 32, of Geneva, was third in 1:12:28. The women's division was won by Lisa Phillps, 24, of Aurora, who ran a 1:27:42. Elena Shemayakina, 50, of Geneva, was second in 1:28:20, and Janeth Salazar-Ohst, 42, of Naperville, one of the area's strong and consistent runners over the years, was third in 1:30:45. Hird won the men's race last year in 1:09:20. Last year's women's champ, Carrie Day, finished in 1:32:38, good for fifth place this time. That time was 2:20 faster than her winning time last year. There were 989 finishers.

Buffalo Grove Stampede Opens the Weekend

The annual Buffalo Grove Stampede 5K and 10K in the northwest suburb drew its usual level of competitors on Sunday with Ryan Guilano, 24, of Schaumburg, just edging Julius Rotich, 34, of West Des Moines, Iowa, to win the 5K, 16:05.6 to 16:06.0. In the 10K, Sammy Rotich, 22, brother of Julius, won easily in 35:12. Both will run tomorrow in the Park Forest Scenic 5-Miler, a CARA Runners' Choice Series race. Among those they'll encounter there will be fellow Kenyan Julius Kiptoo, who won the Park Forest race in 2005, when it still was a national-class 10-miler. Back in Buffalo Grove on Sunday, Chris Wiatr, 18, of Long Grove, took third in the 5K with a 17:18.1 In the women's 5K, Petrana Peticorra, 36, of Lafayette, Ind., won in 19:50. Next in was Valerie Laniosz, 27, hometown not known, in 20:31. Third went to Elizabeth Cox, 13, of Palatine, in 20:36. In the 10K, men's runner-up was Archie Barribeau, 37, of North Fond du Lac, Wis., in 36:31.8, and third was taken by Sam Ramirez, 42, of Chicago, in 37:26.1. The women's 10K was won by Jacqui Aubert, 23, of Crystal Lake, in 40:28.9. Second went to Heather Weis, 23, of Chicago, in 40:48.1, with third going to Carrie Seiberlich, 37, of Kenosha, Wis., in 41:51.9. There 464 finishers in the 5K and 291 in the 10K.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Foot Mechanics Field at About 1,200

The Foot Mechanics Half Madness 13.1 half marathon goes off on Sunday morning in Batavia. It's a scnic route along and near the Fox River. A close source says the field will be at about 1,200 with defending champion Nick Hird of Rock Island (1:09:20 last year) heading the lineup. Another runner in that time range reportedly is entered. Defending women's champ is Carrie Day of Geneva, who ran 1:34:58 in last year's debut of this event.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor Day Weekend -- First Look

It's shaping up to be quite a weekend of racing throughout the Chicago area. From the top-shelf events like the Buffalo Grove 10K and 5K and Foot Mechanics Half-Madness half-marathon in Batavia, both on Sunday, to the Park Forest Scenic 5-Miler and Oak Brook Half-Marathobn on Monday, there's a lot going on. Then you throw in a solid mix of fun but maybe a little less competitive community races and you have a Labor Day of love for thousands of runners.
For now, I'm focusing on Park Forest. Race director Bud James has helped re-invent this event from a national-level 10-miler into a strong area 5-miler. It's still on the CARA Circuit (Runners' Choice Series), and there's still prize money, so count on a good group of runners.
"The race should be about 500 or so," Bud told me via e-mail on Thursday. "We have a good field. Julius Rotich, who won last year is back as is Lucie Mays-Sulewski. We have Sammy Rotich joining Julius this year and Matt Thull is coming from Wisconsin along with a group of decent guys from that direction. It is some of the same guys who gave us depth in the Scenic 10! The course is fast and we have a good bit of the music we had before. It actually had a better ratio of music per mile last year than the Scenic 10 had. There is almost two miles on the Old Plank Trail, which resembles the forest preserve. We tried to give it a Scenic 10 look. Hopefully the weather will be good, too. I am looking at the entries later today to see if we have anyone in the race that we don't know about."
As for the other races, expect strong fields and great venues. I'll be back with more information as it trickles in.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reed, Haskins Rule 27th Chicago Triathlon

With the decision on whether Chicago gets the 2016 Olympics coming up on Oct. 2, the city hosted its last major international sports event before then on Sunday when close to 9,000 people participated/competed in the 27th Chicago Triathlon in and along Lake Michigan on a cool day for late August. Matt Reed, 33, of Boulder, Colo., was the overall winner of the international distrance event in 1:48:27. Women's champion was Sarah Haskins, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1:59:48. With temps in the 60s, times were fast. Men's runner-up was Matt Chrabot, 26, of Virginia Beach, Va., in 1:49:24. Timothy O'Donnell, 28, of Boulder, was third in 1:49:58. With Matts going 1-2 on the men's side, Sarahs went 1-2 among the women. Runner-up was Sarah Graff, 27, also of Colorado Springs,in 2:00:23, and third went to Becky LaVelle, 34, of Los Gatos, Calif., in 2:02:43.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Runners Hot on Cool Day in DeKalb

With temperatures in the 60s, it was not your typical sticky conditions for the 28th Corn Fest 10K in DeKalb on Saturday. As usual, the field was superb with 18 men getting in under 35 minutes and six women coming in under 38 minutes. The men's race was close to a photo finish as Jeff Jonaitis, 28, of Tinley Park just beat Matt Thull, 34, of Milwaukee, 30:53.82 to 30:53.89. They led an impressive pack that included third-place finisher Lars Juhl, 32, of Chicago, in 31:00.47; fourth-place finisher Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, in 31:07.29 and fifth-place finisher Chad Ware, 24, of Deerfield in 31:26.37. Besides the top 18 going under 35:00, the top nine dipped under 33:00! On the women's side, Melissa Todd, 34, of Kansas City, MO, won in 35:09.48 with Amanda Domich, 24, of Crystal Lake, a distant runner-up in 36:26.65. Olivia Aranda, 30, of Rockford, was third in 36:53.26 with Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago, fourth in 36:56.10 and Suet-Fei Li, 33, of Schaumburg fifth with a 37:11.18. CARA age-grade scorer Doug Pearson e-mailed me that Nancy Rollins, 62, of Evanston, had the top score with a 941.3 after running a 43:19.69. Lois Gilmore, 78, of Beloit, WI, was next with a 918.2 off of her 58:00.85. They had a really strong race today in DeKalb. On a personal note, I'd like to thank everyone who cheered me on. It was my first Runners' Choice race of the year, and I enjoyed every minute.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Birkie Marathon in 2010? That's Right!

Many of you know that my other sports passion is cross-country skiing. I will be skiing my 30th American Birkebeiner 51K in February, but that's another story for another day. The "Birkie," as it's affectionately known by the Nordic ski crowd, which includes thousands of runners just like you, also puts on a great fall event called the American Birkebeiner Trail Run, Relay & Trek. It includes a 26.2-mile (marathon) relay, 13.1-mile run, 5K fun run/walk and a 21K Nordic Walking Trek on the hilly and super-scenic Birkbebeiner trail (30 feet wide). This great day of racing for serious and casual athletes is set for Saturday, Sept. 26 this year in the Hayward-Cable area in northwest Wisconsin. There is a Nordic Walking Clinic the day before. Now, the big news. Birkebeiner Executive Director Ned Zuelsdorff just told me in an e-mail that the Birkebeiner Board of Directors approved a full marathon for the 2010 Trail Run at its meeting last night. This will give next fall's marathon runners a unique alternative to the other established 26.2-milers in places such as Chicago, Twin Cities, Fox Cities, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Columbus, Des Moines, Detroit and elsewhere. For information on this year's Birkie trail event, which does NOT include an individual marathon, go to www.birkie.com or call 715-634-5025.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Egle Has Landed! 47-Year-Old Wins

Mike Egle of Glenview isn't getting any younger, but he's running as though he were 20 years younger than he is. The 47-year-old ran a 16:12.0 on Saturday to win the Rally for Autism Run 5K at Independence Grove in Libertyville. Second went to 18-year-old Zach Krause of Genoa City, Wis., in 16:15.7 and third went to Kenneth Mulhollon, 39, of Lake Geneva, Wis., in 17:17.8. Shanna Piggott, 31, of Round Lake was the women's winner in 20:19.6. Laura Preisen, 29, of Chicago, was second in 20:48.3 and Brenda Zeck, 44, of Third Lake, was third overall and first master in 22:56.6.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hamstring It Was for Charlie; Nancy Mines Medals!

Charlie Kern is back from Finland-Holland and confirms his hamstring was too sore for him to run the 1,500 at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. Kudos to the 40-year-old from Elmhurst for his big win at the World Masters meet last Thursday in Lahti, Finland. The photo shows Charlie on the Lahti podium the day after his big victory. Meanwhile Nancy Rollins placed second in the F60 1,500 at the National Senior Games in San Francisco with a 5:52:62. Winner was Candy Puterbaugh from Utah, who ran 5:46:09. Later, Nancy took third in the 800 meters with a 2:57.32. Puterbaugh won that one, too, with a 2:53.84. Nancy also placed second in the 5K and 10K road races, losing both events for the F60-64 titles to Sabra Harvey of Texas. It was 19:55 to 20:59 in the 5K and 41:58 to 43:55 in the 10K. There is no shortage of talent in the Chicago area.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Korean Fest 5K Race to Chesang, Li

On a hot, humid day, Matthew Chesang, 25, of Eau Claire, WI, topped a strong race with nice prize-money perks at the Korean Festival 5K in Chicago. Chesang ran a 15:16.4 to beat runner-up Abdelmounath Harroufi of Albuquerque, NM, who ran 15:27.1 and third-place finisher Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, IL, who clocked 15:39.8. In the women's race, it was Suet-Fei Li, 33, of Schaumburg, IL, topping the list with an 18:12.3. It was close as Christina Overbeck, 24, of Chicago, finished second in 18:16.3 and Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago, grabbed third in 18:28.1

Friday, August 7, 2009

Next Up for Charlie Kern: Amsterdam: Update

Elmhurst's Charlie Kern will run in the 1,500 meters on Saturday at the Amsterdam Open. After winning the World masters M40-44 title on Thursday, he'll be in an open field this time with runners who have broken 3:40 heading the lineup at the Olympic Stadium in The Netherlands' capital city. "I've always wanted to run in a European meet," Kern told me before he departed. Now, he gets his chance. NOTE: Charlie was not in the final results from Amsterdam. It might have been because of his sore hamstring. I have no facts. Our best to Charlie, no matter what happened.

CARA Names New Executive Director

CARA has named Valerie Bushey as its new Executive Director. Thanks to Bill Fitzgerald who has served as interim director. CARA's announcement follows (Courtesy of the CARA Newsletter).

CARA Welcomes New Executive Director

The CARA Staff and Board of Directors would like to welcome our new Executive Director, Valerie Bushey.

Valerie came to CARA from the Women's Sports Foundation where she was the Director of the GoGirlGo! Chicago Regional Office. Previous to that she held leadership positions with the Department of Defense, the Chicago Park District and the National Educational Service. She holds a Master's degree in Sports Management from Indiana University and a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education from Augustana College.

Valerie is also a two time collegiate Track & Field All American in the Heptathlon and is originally from the great city of Chicago.

Please make sure to welcome Valerie when you see her at CARA events. She can be reached at valerie@cararuns.org.

We are very excited to have her on board!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kern Does It! He's World Masters Champ

Charlie Kern, 40, of Elmhurst, IL, accomplished a major goal today in Lahti, Finland, when he won the 1,500 final for the M40-44 age group at the World Masters Athletics Championships. Kern's time was 4:04.75 in what had to be a tactical race. Kern, who is well-known for his expertise in coaching in the Elmhurst area, has shown he can do what it takes, despite a sore hamstring, suffered two weeks ago at a 10-mile race near Chicago. Second place went to David Cowlishaw of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 4:05:43, and third went to Matthias Luck of Germany in 4:08:14. The last two occasions at which I saw Charlie, he was directing the Run for Hunger 5K in Elmhurst on July 26 and sitting on a bench resting his hamstring while coaching the Elmhurst Running Club three days before he went to Finland. Charlie always has been a class act. Now, he's a world-class act. He'll be running an open 1,500 in another European meet later this week before he heads home. One more time. Go, Charlie, go!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Charlie Kern Wins World Semi!

Charlie Kern, who has coached many of the great York High School distance runners over the years, is competing this week at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Lahti, Finland. Charlie got off to a great start today, winning the second of two semifinal heats in the Male 40-44 1,500-meter run. Charlie, who also coaches the Elmhurst Running Club's speed workouts (not this week), ran a 4:12:58 for the third-fastest qualifying time overall. Matthias Luck of Germany ran a 4:11:42 and Gianni Bruzzi of Italy clocked a 4:12:09 in the first heat. Sixteen runners qualified for the final. Go, Charlie, go!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Goucher Blows "Em Away at Rock 'n' Roll Half

Kara Goucher made her rehearsal for the IAAF World Championship Marathon in Berlin on Aug. 23 look relatively easy on Sunday, breezing to a win on a perfect morning for the Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon in Chicago. The time was 1:08:05, not an American record (Deena Kastor has it with a 1:07:34 in 2006, but darned good for having zero opposition. No one else was even in the picture, male or female. Chad Ware, 24, of Deerfield, was first male in 1:08:24. Goucher, who, according to Chicago Tribune writer Phil Hersh has been running 120-mile weeks, looks ready for a memorable performance in Berlin! There were 14,438 finishers, with 9,438 of them being females. Has the once male-dominated sports been turned 1980 degrees? After Goucher, 31, of Portland, Ore. (Nike-land) won, toweled off and did interviews, second through fifth on the women's side went like this: Connie Abbott, 23, Kansas City, 1:21:50; Amanda Domich, 24, Chicago, 1:22:28; Suet-Fei Li, 33, Schaumburg, 1:22:36 and Jackie Pirtie-Hall, 27, of St. Charles, MO, in 1:23:19. After Ware, second through fifth on the men's side went like this: David Williams, 37, Milwaukee, 1:08:49; Emisael Favela, 32, Cicero, 1:09:14; Daniel Jess, 28, San Antonio, TX, 1:10:33 and Christopher Peverada, 22, Chicago, 1:11:36. Being called the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half-Marathon is a bit misleading. This was not the first edition of this race, just the first one called Rock 'n' Roll. Originally founded in 1977 as the Chicago Distance Classic 20K and won by that year by Frank Shorter, the event, which once aided the Lung Association, has a long rich history, including ownership from 2003-2009 by John Bingham Racing. Today's race definitely was big though. Congrats to all. For another take on the day's events please take a look at Brenda Barrera's report at the following link:
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-560-Running-Examiner~y2009m8d2-Rock-on--Kara-Goucher-beats-guys-at-Chicagos-Rock-n-Roll/

Thursday, July 30, 2009

From Shorter to Goucher -- A Rockin' Classic

With Kara Goucher in town to run the Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon on the lakefront Sunday morning, we have a real "made-in-America" superstar running what was called the Chicago Distance Classic until this year. My first thought after hearing that Goucher was coming was that back in 1977, we had an even bigger name here for the first Classic. Frank Shorter had won gold in the Olympic marathon at Berlin in 1972 and silver at Montreal in 1976 (probably should have been gold again because of drug use by the winner from East Germany, but that's another story). Much of the running movement resulted because of Shorter, the American hero who was running and winning Chicago's race that year, when the event debuted as a 20K. It will be fun to see how Goucher does. Off the track, she has chosen to try for great performances on the hilly marathon courses in New York and Boston. She has done extremely well, and now we get to see what she can do on a flat course in Chicago as she fine-tunes for the World Championship (IAAF) marathon on Aug. 23 in Berlin, which is also flat. It also will be interesting to see how many men can beat her on Sunday!
For those of you in the city, Kara will be at Fleet Feet Sports-Pipers Alley, at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The press release about Goucher running here on Sunday follows.

KARA GOUCHER TO MAKE U.S. HALF MARATHON DEBUT AT ROCK 'N' ROLL CHICAGO
Race will be broadcast live on Competitor.com

Chicago, Ill - Fresh off her second U.S. 5,000m track title, Kara Goucher will return to the roads to make her U.S. half-marathon debut at the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, August 2. The race webcast can be seen live on Competitor.com beginning at 6:30 a.m. CT.

Less than a year ago, Goucher amazed U.S. road racing fans with an inspiring third place debut at the 2008 ING New York City Marathon, the first time in 14 years that an American woman had placed in the top three. Her second marathon in Boston earlier this year saw her place third in a tight finish on the home stretch. Her performance was the best finish by a U.S. woman at the Boston Marathon since 1993.

"I'm excited to be part of the first Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon. I'm grateful for the opportunity to race as part of my preparations for the World Championships here on home soil, in one of the true great sporting cities." said Goucher, who will use the race in preparation to run the marathon at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships August 23 in Berlin. "I'm very happy about the way my preparations have gone. I ran the trials in June and now it's time to get back on the roads. I'm hoping to run well in Chicago and take that confidence into Berlin and give a good account of myself on the world stage."

Goucher's marathon prospects at the World Championships are rooted in previous wins this year over 3,000m at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games and 5,000m at the USA Track & Field Championships. The 5,000m victory in 15 minutes, 20.94 seconds was her second U.S. track title, the other being the 2008 Olympic Trials which preceded her ninth place 5,000m finish at the Beijing Olympics last summer.

Unbeaten in her career at the half-marathon distance, Goucher captured her first title in 2007 in spectacular fashion when she out-dueled marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe, winning the Great North Run in 1:06:57, the fastest woman's half-marathon time of the year. The sub 1:07 performance set a new American best time for the distance.

"It's great to have Kara competing at the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago," said Matt Turnbull, Athlete Coordinator for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, who was on hand for the 2007 Great North Run, Goucher's first competitive race longer than 10k. "She is the best female distance runner in America right now and the race fits perfectly into her schedule for this summer's World Championships. There is no better ambassador for the sport of running in the United States so it's great to have her in Chicago."

Goucher owns a marathon PR of 2:25:53, which was the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman. She holds two of the seven fastest U.S. women's marathon times in history, and has won both half-marathons she has finished, including the 2009 Lisbon Half Marathon in 1:08:30.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Escareno, Moffett Win X-Treme 10-Miler

Many of the best runners in Chicagoland converged on the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve near Darien on Saturday, July 25, for the annual X-Treme 10-Miler on the chopped limestone loop through the woods. The CARA Runners' Choice Series and Best of Chicagoland race was won in 52:17.3 by Christian Escareno, 21, of Mt. Prospect, who runs for the Fast Track Racing Club. He was followed closely by Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, in 52:26.8 and Jon Gries, 22, of King of Prusia, Pa., in 53:34.8. Male masters winner was Rob Chenoweth, 40, of Chicago in a nice 57:37.0. On the women's side, Erin Moffett, 27, of Chicago, continued to to have a banner year with a first-place posting of 1:01:42.5. Elizabeth Boyle, 21, of Elmhurst, edged Suet Fei Li, 33, of Schaumburg, for second, 1:03:01.5 to 1:03:02.6. Ann Schaefers-Coles, 44, of Cary, was the women's masters winner in 1:05:40.5. Nice job by all in every age group. There were 739 finishers in this tough but exhilarating race.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wanjiru to Run Chicago Marathon!

Many of you have seen this, but I'm posting it here for those who haven't read it yet. This is great news for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11.

2008 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist Sammy Wanjiru Selects
2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon for U.S. Debut
Former Chicago Marathon Champions Evans Cheruiyot, Patrick Ivuti and Lidiya Grigoryeva
to Contend for Repeat Championships


CHICAGO, IL (July 21, 2009)  2008 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) today announced he will make his first U.S. appearance at the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in an attempt to better his current personal marathon record (2:05:10). With two sub-2:06 marathons to his credit and the benefits of Chicago’s sleek course, the 22-year-old Kenyan’s goals are within reach.

“My plan for the fall is to lower my personal record and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course offers the best opportunity for me to achieve that this year,” said Wanjiru from Kenya. “My only focus between now and October is to prepare and train aggressively for my best performance yet.”

Wanjiru has quickly made a name for himself in the world of distance running, first capturing the half marathon world record in 2005, lowering it in 2007 and winning three of the four marathons in which he has competed. His Olympic gold medal performance last summer in Beijing was the first ever for a Kenyan athlete in the marathon and marked his first World Marathon Majors (WMM) victory. This spring, he captured a second consecutive WMM win with his fastest time yet at the 2009 London Marathon (2:05:10).

“Sammy is certainly the athlete to watch in this sport right now and we are honored to be able to host him at such a pivotal point in his career,” said Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “We have had the pleasure of witnessing four previous world records in Chicago and if conditions are right, the enthusiastic sports fans in this city could have the opportunity to see that again.”

Challenging Wanjiru for the title will be 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Evans Cheruiyot (KEN) and 2007 champion Patrick Ivuti (KEN). Cheruiyot, 27, has competed in only three marathons including his WMM debut in Chicago last fall. He broke the tape in a personal best 2:06:25, an impressive feat considering the unseasonably warm weather.

Ivuti, 31, will make his third Chicago appearance this fall, returning to the site where he posted the closest margin of victory in Chicago Marathon history in 2007. Amid record heat and humidity, Ivuti thrilled fans with a shoulder-to-shoulder sprint against two-time World Champion Jaouad Gharib (MAR), crossing the finish line only half a second ahead of Gharib (2:11:11). In 2005, he made his marathon debut in Chicago where he posted his current personal best (2:07:46) in a fifth-place finish.

Reigning women’s Chicago Marathon champion Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) will defend the title she earned in Chicago last October with a finish time of 2:27:17. Grigoryeva, 35, is the 2007 Boston Marathon champion and owns a personal best of 2:25:10 set in Los Angeles in 2006. Her primary contender is 2005 Chicago Marathon champion Deena Kastor (USA) who has already set her sights on lowering the American marathon record she currently owns (2:19:36).
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“Today’s announcement significantly advances the depth of our elite athlete field for the October 11 race and continues the tradition of world class marathon competition in Chicago,” said Pinkowski.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the most competitive marathons in the world. In its storied history it has hosted some of the great names in the sport including Steve Jones, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, Khalid Khannouchi, Catherine Ndereba, Deena Kastor and Paula Radcliffe. Currently, the 2009 start line will feature four former Chicago Marathon champions, eight World Marathon Major victories and two Olympic medalists.

In its 32nd year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 runners including a world class elite field and 1.5 million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, the iconic race assists in raising $10 million for a variety of charitable causes while generating an estimated $140 million economic impact to its host city.

The 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago’s Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place on Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10. More information on the race and how to get involved is available at the event Web site, chicagomarathon.com.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Scott Smashes 4 on the 4th Record!

Derek Scott, a member of the Brooks Team Indiana Elite, called early in the week and said he was coming to the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th, and added that he was quite confident he could break the course record of 19:26.9 set last year by Paul Jellema of the Hansons-Brooks team in Michigan. When I Googled and saw that Scott had run a 3:57.9 mile in May down in St. Louis, I knew the guy had what it takes. Well, it all came true. Scott took the lead from the start, although SIU runner Kyle Kirchner of Frankfort, IL, stayed a step behind him until about 1.5 miles. Then it was no contest. Scott pulled away on an uphill and breezed to a 19:07, beating runner-up Kirchner, who made a game effort, by almost a minute as Kirchner crossed the line in 20:05. "I was very pleased with how the race went," Scott said. "It was my first time at the event and it was set up great. The registration was smooth, good post-race snacks and Gatorades, high energy announcers, etc. Starting the race, I knew I was going after the course record, so I was a little surprised to have some company for close to a mile and a half. It helped keep the pace honest. The best part was looping around halfway and being able to see all the other runners on the other side of the road. I was getting a lot of cheers and even some people hollering at me saying, 'is that all you got?' It was funny, people were having a good time. I knew I was well under pace so I was able to relax the third mile and run comfortably to the finish. I'm glad I came out. Third place in a very competitive "second pack" went to Christian Escareno, 21, of Mount Prospect, who runs for the Fast Track Racing Team and is the current overall CARA points leader. He ran a 20:08, closing on Kirchner and holding off No. 4 Alex Sutphen, 21, of Napervile, who ran 20:11. Fifth was Charlie Kern, 40, of Elmhurst, who ran a 20:25 as a hard training run for the world masters meet later this month in Lahti, Finland. Dani Prince, also of Team Indiana Elite, the 2008 women's Columbus marathon winner in 2:48, and Derek's girl friend, won the women's competition in 22:45. "This was my first time doing the 4 on the 4th and I really enjoyed the race," said Dani, who changed into a party dress before the awards ceremony! "It was great to hear all the support from the other runners and walkers when you hit the turnaround. You could tell everyone was enjoying the race and the 4th. My training has been minimal lately since I am getting ready to gear up for a fall marathon (Twin Cities), but I was happy with the results considering how little I've been doing. The race was a fun way to mix up the week of training." Runner-up woman was Hong Kong transplant Suet-Fei Li, 33, now of Schaumburg, who came in at 23:18. Third-place woman was Christine Overbeck, 23, of Chicago, who posted a very nice 23:35. Overbeck runs for Fleet Feet and is the CARA women's overall leader. She was followed in fourth and fifth by Emma Keenan, 21, of Niles in 23:38 and Kareen Ripperda, 39, of Elmhurst in 24:11. We had 832 finishers and a lot of very strong runners duking it out on the streets of Elmhurst. Some of the most honorable people I've run into in quite a while deserve to be mentioned. We had a results problem for a while in which Sutphen was listed ahead of Escareneo. Everyone was very professional, and we got it fixed. Also, Kirchner, Escareno and Sutphen also must be commended for saying upfront they could not accept prize money or gifts because they are collegiate runners. Class acts? Yes! Photo 1 from Ray Hecker shows Derek Scott near the 2-mile mark after he broke Kyle Kirchner. Photo 2 shows women's runner-up Suet-Fei Li pacing with Dave Schaefers (center) and one of his Fast Track Racing Club teammates, Wes Benson. Photo 3 shows gallant Kyle Kirchner who made it interesting for a while for Derek Scott. Photo 4 shows third-place finisher Christian Escareno ahead of a group of very good racers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Katie McGregor Makes U.S. Team

I was so happy Thursday night to watch 2008 Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th female winner Katie McGregor make the U.S. team for the World Championships in Berlin later this summer. To do that, she ran a 32:08 10,000 on the track at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., during the USA Track & Field Championships. Way to go, Katie!! It also was fun to see Wheeling-area natives Jorge and Edwardo Torres competing in the men's 10,000. Neither placed, but both ran well.

Swoosh! Nationals News

Going back to June 20, some Illinois high school runners did well at the Nike Nationals in Greensboro, NC. Lincoln-Way Central sensation Lukas Verzbicas, 16, but only a sophomore-to-be, ran 8:55.58 to place third in the 2-mile (not 3,200). Trevor Dunbar of Kodiak, AK, was the winner in 8:49.79. Illinois 1,600-meter champion Jeff Thode of Conant ran a strong fifth in 8:57.36. In the girls' 2-mile, always reliable Lizzy Hynes of St. Charles was sixth in 10:27.26. Other results included the following: York (Kroy in the postseason) placed seventh in the 4 X 1-mile relay in 17:49.91. The team included Jordan Hebert, Jack Driggs, Pat Morgan and Steve Sulkin. In the 800-meters, Peter Callahan of Evanston ran a strong fifth in 1:51.57 and Ryan Lynn of Park Ridge was 11th in 1:53.23. Kroy was eighth in the 4 X 100-meter relay with John Fox, Khara Williams, Carl Edwards and Hubert Maxwell running a 42.06.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Steamin' at the Steamboat

Ridouane Harroufi passed John Yuda of Tanzania very late in Saturday's Steamboat Classic (June 20) to win the world-class 4-mile race on Peoria's riverfront for the second year in a row. Harroufi won it in 17:44, two seconds ahead of Yuda, who led much of the way. On the women's side, there was another repeat winner as Kim Smith of New Zealand ran a 19:38 to beat runner-up Millicent Gathoni of Kenya by 1:18! Smith won it a year ago in 20 flat. Constantine Tomescu-Dita finished seventh in 21:52 and was inducted into the Steamboat Classic Hall of Fame. There were 2,824 finishers in the 4-mile and another 726 in the 15K.

Catching Up: Green Bay Marathon

It's been a month, but with a few things going on, I missed this one. Chad Ware of Deerfield ran a terrific 2:20:56 to place second at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. He lost to winner Geoffrey Kiprotich of Coon Rapids, MN, who wasn't far ahead with a final time of 2:20:06. Angie Paprocki of Hoffman Estates was fifth woman in 2:57:03.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Deena Kastor to Run Chicago Marathon

Yes! Deena Kastor is running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11. This will be her first marathon since going down with a foot injury at the Beijing Olympics last summer. She is the first elite runner to be announced by executive director Carey Pinkowski for this year's Chicago run. Kastor, 36, of Mammoth Lakes, CA, last ran Chicago in 2005 in a memorable victory against Constantina Tomescu-Dita, who was closing fast on the last mile. Kastor won it in 2:21:25 to Dita's 2:21:30. Kastor will have the flat, fast Chicago course in her favor if she tries to beat her U.S. record of 2:19:36, run in 2006 at London. Deena also ran Chicago in 2002, placing a quiet sixth in 2:26:53 on the same day Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain ran a world-record 2:17:18 (Radcliffe later broke that with a 2:15:25 at London). Kastor won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and Dita won the gold medal at Beijing. I'm thinking they'll be dueling again this fall on the streets of Chicago.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Escareno Doubles His Pleasure

Christian Escareno has looked good all season, but when he won the Downers Grove Park District 5-miler on Sunday, his time of 27:59.10 seemed slow. Here's one reason it was. The course had been changed with more turns, including two 180s, and GPS runners were reporting the course .1 to .2 long. But that's not the whole story. Twelve hours earlier, Escareno, 21, of Mount Prospect, a member of the Fast Tracks Racing Club, won the open 5,000 on the Benedictine University track with a 14:43.44 at the Midwest Distance Gala in Lisle. In doing so, he beat Greg Costello of Chicago, one of the top runners on the local scene, who ran a 14:49.37. But back to Downers Grove we go, and it gets even better. Jesus Escareno, 19, Christian's brother, finished second in 28:53.45, and Felipe Lopez, 32, of Chicago finished third in 29:17. On the women's side, it was Columbo Lopez, 30, of Chicago, first in 31:41.10; Nell Shields, 30, of Chicago, second in 32:47.90 and Christine Lipa, 49, of Glen Ellyn (go Elmhurst R.C.!), third in 34:25.35. In the 10 mile (maybe 10.3?) Tim Henry, 25, of Carol Stream, took honors in 57:47.60, and last year's CARA female Runner of the Year, Pam Blair, took the women's race in 1:06:46

Sunday, June 14, 2009

31st North Shore Half-Marathon

One day after 115 teams ran through Highland Park during the Madison-Chicago Relay, the 31st North Shore Half-Marathon was run under good weather conditions. The CARA Runners' Choice Series race with the famed hill up from the beach near Mile 9 was won by Ryan Zawisza, 26, of Chicago, in 1:13:03. Runner-up was Joshua Blair, 22, of Chicago, in 1:15:22, and third was Jordan Dubow, 31, of Chicago and a Highland Park High School graduate, in 1:15:45. Tracy McGarry, 28, of Chicago, was the women's champion in 1:25:27. Next came Nicole Mann, 38, of Chicago, in 1:27:16, and third went to Tammy Lifka, 38, of Glen Ellyn, in 1:29:37. An admirable performance was turned in by 80-year0-old Joe Paleczny of Des Plaines, who ran a 2:23:26. I've got to salute my Elmhurst R.C. mates, Mark Krause, Kurt Fiene and Doug Pearson, who went 1-2-3 in the men's masters category!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lukas Wins Sensational Gala 2-Mile With 8:53.98!

Lukas Verzbicas, the Lithuanian-born sophomore-to-be from Lincoln Way Central in New Lenox, lived up to all the hype on Saturday night, pulling away from fellow superstar Solomon Haile of Sherwood, MD, to win the 2-mile at the Midwest Distance Gala in 8:53.98. The crowd at Benedictine University in Lisle was on its feet as Luke dug down to pull away from Haile after briefly trailing on the
fifth lap. It was a very impressive finish that began unfolding with about 600 yards to go. Haile finished in second with an 8:56.08, barely holding off a familiar rival, Graham Bezell of Anholton, MD, who was third in 8:56.65. In another great event, Andrew Springer of Rhode Island won the boys' mile in 4:02.90, beating surprising Peter Callahan of North Shore Country Day, who ran 4:05.20, and Pat McGregor of Hoover, AL, who was third in 4:07.01. Two Illinois girls went 1-2 in the girls' mile. It was Stephanie Brown running a great 4:40.12 to edge Lizzy Hynes, who ran 4:51.91. This was one great track meet. And yes, when Lukas flung his victory flower bouquet into the packed stands, I caught them. A bit embarrassed, I handed them off to a woman in the row behind me. Pardon the blurry photos! They show Luke biding time behind Solomon at the end of Lap 7 and then his decisive gap on the final turn.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Midwest Distance Gala Hosts HS Showdowns

Solomon Haile of Sherwood, MD, will take on Lukas Verzbicas, a sophomore-to-be at Lincoln Way Central, in a 2-mile (not 3,200 meters) showdown on Saturday night at the Midwest Gala at Benedictine University in Lisle. Haile and Verzbicas opened a lot of eyes on March 14 when Haile broke the 25-year-old high school 5,000-meter record with an indoor 14:22.88 in New York and Verzbicas broke Haile's mark later in the day with a 14:18.22 in Boston. They clash at 8:07 p.m. in a race that also will feature other top runners, including Steve Sulkin and Jordan Hebert of York High School, who went 1-2 in the state 3,200 this spring. Verzbicas also will run the mile in a race that will be led by Illinois state 1,600 champion Jeff Thode of Conant. This meet will be something else. For a good report, click on the following:
http://www.runnerspace.com/GALA

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jonaitis, Moffett Best in the Zoo

Jeff Jonaitis and Erin Moffett know how to win and did just that on Sunday in the 10K portion of the United Run for the Zoo (Lincoln Park) in Chicago. Jonaitis, 28, of Tinley Park, had no problem, running a 33:25, easily beating runner-up David Fallon of Chicago, who ran a 34:56. Joseph Podge of Chicago was third in 35:28. Moffett, 27, of Chicago, who I know from her job as the local Saucony rep., ran a 37:45. Distant runner-up was Sarah Grzybek of Chicago in 40:05, with Colleen Gaughan, also of Chicago, third in 41:21. In the 5K, Bradley Runnion of Aurora and Jessica Langford of Rockford ruled. Runnion won in 16:08 with Aaron Skolnick of Chicago second in 17:09 and David Windner of Chicago third in 17:44. Langford ran a 17:57, while Alissa Hunt of Chicago was second woman in 19:39 and Lisa Jurski was third in 20:13.

Monday, June 8, 2009

13.1 Half Goes to Favela

In the continuing run of half-marathons in Chicago, Sunday featured the debut of the "13.1 Marathon Half-Marathon." The first two runners produced some fine times as Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero won in 1:08:54 and Scott Barnacle, 34, of Frankfort, IN, took second in 1:09:51. A distant third was Benjamin Worchester, 20, of Chicago, who ran 1:15:19. The women's 1-2-3 went like this: Sue Dehaan, 42, Chicago, 1:30:53; Suzy Turner, 23, Palatine, 1:31:17; Suzanne Riger, 25, Chicago, 1:32:32. A total of 3,002 runners completed the race.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

15th Roselle Run for the Roses

Anyone who finished after about 18 minutes did it in light to heavier rain on Sunday as the 15th Run for the Roses went off without a hitch. The CARA Best of Chicagoland race drew a nice field with Chip timing and a well-marked course. Pictured are the men's and women's winners, Nathan Kennedy, 23, of Bolingbrook (16:07.1) and Brenda Napholz, 41, of Crystal Lake (19:11.2). There were 458 finishers.