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 ( 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!