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:

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: