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:

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.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wheaton's Run for the Animals

With temps in the high 50s, maybe hitting 60, with very little wind, participants in the annual Run for the Animals 5K and 10K in Wheaton were treated to some very nice conditions. The races, which benefit the Wheaton Park District's Cosley Zoo, had 1,302 and 690 finishers respectively. In the 5K, three guys cracked 16:00 with Kyle Brady, 20, of Wheaton, taking honors in 15:12.8. Next were Brian Runyon, 28, of Chicago, in 15:58.8, and Jerry Olp, 17, of Wheaton, in 15:59.2. Leading woman was truly a master. I'm talking about Sanya Syrstad, 43, of Glen Ellyn, who won it in 18:49.0. Second was Catherine Blume, 12, of Wheaton, in 20:28.2, and third was Mollie Holzwarth, 26, of Gilberts, in 20:49.3. Switching to the 10K, Chase Kadlec, 18, of Wheaton, was champion in 32:10.9. He was followed by Ryan Giuliano, 24, of Schaumburg, in 33:03.7 and Graham Farnsworth, 19, of Wheaton, in 33:52.7. Those are some nice times. Leading lady was Amber Druien, 23, of Woodstock, in 37:34.4. Next was Nicole Lehmann, 29, of Elgin, in 37:47.3, and third went to Suetfei Li, 33, of Schaumburg, in 37:50.5.