Thursday, December 23, 2010

Next Up: New Year's Day 5K

The weather is iffy for running these days, but chances are good the footing will be OK on Jan. 1 for the 26th annual New Year's Day 5K Run & Walk. Organizers predict about 1,500 runners and walkers for the event that starts at Stockton and LaSalle in the south end of Lincoln Park in Chicago. Here's to a great 2011 for runners. This race is a great way to get things started on the right foot!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

1,034 Run Rudolph's Ramble 5M

It was chilly, snowy and windy on Sunday, perfect weather for Rudolph Ramblers in downtown Chicago. This was not a day for fast times, even by fast runners. Men's winner in the 5-mile race was Emil Bojanov, 26, of Chicago, in 28:59.2. Ladies honors went to well-known Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, in 32:01.7. Second and third men were Steven Bugarin, 25, of Chicago, who ran 29:09.7, and Shawn Romery, 25, of Evanston, in 29:12.5. Second and third women were Christina Overbeck, 24, of Chicago, in 32:16.0, and Samantha Kirkham-Iteld, 35, of Hinsdale, in 33:10.5. If you ran, how were the conditions? There were 1,034 finishers.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Verzbicas Takes National Foot Locker Title

It was a double first for Lukas Verzbicas on Saturday as he won the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship in San Diego. When the Carl Sandburg High School junior won the 5K race in 14:59, he became the first runner to win the Nike Cross National and Foot Locker titles (one week apart) in the same year. How many people at any level can say they won national titles two weeks in a row? Verzbicas won this time by 11 seconds over runner-up Futsum Zeinasellassie of Indianapolis. Lukas beat Futsum by three-plus seconds back in November in a more tactical duel at the NXN Midwest Regional. Also on Saturday, York's Jack Driggs earnedf All-America honors with a 13th-place finish in 15:29. In the girls' race, Woodstock's Kayla Beattie placed 12th in 17:48, also earning All-America honors. The top 15 are All-Americans in the Foot Locker finals.

Friday, December 10, 2010

End of the Line for Park Forest 5-Miler

This is one of the saddest stories of the year. Park Forest, for more than 30 years known as the home of one of the nation's top races on Labor Day Weekend, has decided that the 5-mile race, which ran for three years after the glorious days of the famed 10-miler, is finished. Long-time director of both the 10-miler and 5-miler, Bud James, knew it didn't look good. "I had told them that I would help them as long as they wanted it to continue and after the three-year stint they felt that the community was not really into it," James told me via e-mail. "There were only eight people from Park Forest who ran this past year. It has been harder to get the locals involved, so I think it was a wise decision. The folks at the Parks and Recreation department are super and they only wanted the best for the community all along. So I guess this ends another chapter in the running community. We are not making any major announcement so you can put the information out as you see fit." My personal take on this is the Chicago area has lost a great event. I'd like to thank Bud for all the great work he has done over the years.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jonaitis, DeProsperis Run Well at Sacramento

Jeff Jonaitis, 29, of Tinley Park, arguably the best "citizen's" long-distance runner in the Chicago area, ran a 2:19:24 (gun time) at the California International Marathon on Sunday. The strong performance on the fast Sacramento course netted him seventh place. Dylan Wykes, 27, of Canada, was the overall winner in 2:12:39. Kate DeProsperis keeps getting close to the 2:46 she needs to qualify for the Olympic Trials. This time, the Downers Grove athlete ran a nice 2:48:29, good for 23rd overall woman. Top female for the day was Buzunesh Deba, 23, of Ethiopia, who ran a 2:32:13.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Verzbicas Wins Nike Cross Nationals

Lukas Verzbicas, the super triathlete/runner from Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, won the first of two national titles he's seeking, taking the Nike Cross Nationals on Saturday at Portland Meadow in Portland, OR. Verzbicas, a junior who plans to graduate this school year, won the 3.1-mile race in 15:59.2, with Edward Cheserek from the Northeast Region placing second in 16:01.5. Aracadia XC Club of California was the boys team champion. Illinois was represented by Naperville XC Club (Neuqua Valley) in 12th place and Elmhurst XC Club (York) in 14th. Columbus XC of Indiana (Columbus North), the team York beat to win the Midwest title, placed third. The bigger story was the girls race, which was won by Fayetteville Manlius (NY) High School for the fifth consecutive year. Their boys team was second. That is very impressive. Actually, it's incredible. Brooke Wolf of Prospect was the top Illinois girl to finish, taking 18th in 19:18.8, a full minute behind the winner. Palatine XC finished eighth and Wheaton South XC came in 18th. So what is next for Verzbicas? Next week, he'll be in San Diego trying to defend his national title at the Foot Locker championships.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Weekend Runs Will Be Wintery

Around Chicago, you never know what kind of weather will hit in early December. It really appears we'll get accumulating snow starting Friday night and continuing through Saturday morning. We're right on the line for a couple of inches or maybe six or more, depending on how the front flows through. Among running events that could be affected by this snow event are Saturday's La Grange YMCA Reindeer Run 5K at Brookfield Zoo and the Road to Boston opening run downtown. Sunday's Cross Country Challenge in Gilberts, the Santa Hustle 5k in the city and the Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run 5K at Herrick lake in Warrenville also could be quite snowy. Dress in layers and be careful if it's slippery.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday's Champs Edge Sunday's at Schaumburg

In the first half-marathon doubleheader I've ever heard of, the Saturday winners came in just ahead of the Sunday winners at the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half-Marathons Nov. 27 and 28 at Busse Woods between Schaumburg and Elk Gove Village. On Saturday, Brent Alexander, 30, of Wilmette, won in 1:11:18.2, compared to Sunday winner Mac McCulley, 26, who ran 1:11:52.6. It was similar on the women's side as Jean Marinangeli, 26, of Arlington Heights, won on Saturday with a 1:21:07.4, nudging Sunday winner Meghan Kennihan, 29, of La Grange, who ran a 1:21:31.9. This two-race concept must have been a challenge beyond belief for race organizers, but it appears they pulled it off. Decent weather did help, I'm sure.
Back to Saturday, the field was tougher as Ryan Giuliano, 25, of Schaumburg, took second in 1:12:48.5, and Brian Grudowski, 29, of Buffalo Grove, took third in 1:14:37.8. Conversely on Sunday, Marco Alfaro, 23, placed second in 1:16:58.3, and Alfredo Delgado, also 23, was third in 1:16:59.1. Saturday's women's runner-up was Sherri Albus, 27, in 1:27:27.6, and third was taken by Angela Homberg, 39, in 1:29:48.6. Sunday's second and third women were Maria Cristi Homorozan, 35, in 1:30:47.3, and Aneta Ziemianska, 32, in 1:31:03.3 There were 681 finishers on Saturday plus 330 in the 5K. There were 581 on Sunday.
Some people ran both days, including Marinangeli, who jogged a 1:34 on Sunday! If you ran, give us your report! Congrats to all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Verzbicas 'Coasts' to Foot Locker Midwest Win

Watching Sandburg's Lukas Verzbicas finish the Foot Locker Midwest boys cross-country championship on Saturday at UW Parkside in Kenosha, WI, you got the idea he just wanted to get in ahead of Fatzum Zeinasellassie of Indianapolis and save a little for next weekend's Nike Cross Nationals in Oregon. Lukas won it, looking back a couple of times in the last 100 meters, with a 14:44.2. Zeinasellassie was second in 14:47.6. They were way out in front in this studded field as third place went to Tony Smorgiewicz of Rapid City, SD, in 15:00.9. The rest of Illinois' top five went like this: 5. Jack Driggs, Elmhurst (York), 15:06.9; 13. Michael Clevenger, Decatur, 15:21.3; 18. Ben Silver, Downers Grove (North), 15:24.8; 36. William Hague, Winnetka (New Trier), 15:43.5. The girls title was won by Allison Woodward of De Pere, WI, in 17:18.6. Ilinois had five runners in the top 18. They were: 6. Kayla Beattie, Woodstock, 17:33.6; 12. Kelly Whitley, Geneva, 17:55.4; 15. Jill Hardies, Hinsdale, 18:11.2; 17. Alyssa Schneider, Bartlett, 18:16.7; 18. Julie James, Gridley, IL, 18:18.1. There are some good videos at

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thousand-Plus Trot in Lincolnwood

The Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 5K and 10K produced some nice late-fall times on Sunday as 696 runners completed the 5K and 483 the 10K. Michael Lucchesi, 32, of Lisle, won the 10K in 32:50 with Colleen Baker of Evanston taking the women's title in 40:29. Jeff Hojnacki, 36, of Chicago, won the 5K in 16:31, and Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, took the women's honors in 17:51. There was some bib-sharing in the 10K (don't get me started, but I am sick of it). There is no way the 63-year-old listed as second overall in 32:51 really was. We'll give the runner-up spot to Juan Munoz, 43, of Cicero, who ran a 35:39 and was listed as third. Someone apparently finished second, just a second behind Lucchesi, but can't be the person listed. Does anyone know who it was? On the women's side in the 10K, Sang Boon Lee, 40, of Chicago, was second in 40:55, and Julie Wankowski, 40, of Glen Ellyn, was third in 41:07. In the 5K, Matt Cook, 17, of Lake Villa, was second in 16:59, and Felipe Lopez, 34, of Chicago, was third in 17:05. In the 5K women's competition, Mimi Smith, 13, of Wilmette, was second in 18:58, and Kayoko Hamamura, 49, of Chicago, was third in 20:00. A plethora of turkey trots is on the menu for Thursday morning. Check the Chicago Athlete schedule.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pilgrim Pacer to Santino, Bingham

I ventured to La Grange today for my first-ever run at the 10th annual Pilgrim Pacer 5K. This one belonged to the young as Patrick Santino, 16, of Chicago, won in 16:22, while Kala Bingham, 20, of La Grange, was the female winner in 19:19. Male runner-up was Jack Keelan, 15, of La Grange Park, in 16:23 (one-second loss), and third went to Nick Peney, 20, of Crystal Lake, in 16:33. Second-place woman was Lisa Menninger, a good friend and the female course-record holder, in 19:43. Third was taken by Haley Prokaski, 15, of La Grange Park, in 20:17. There were 595 finishers. As part of The Runner's Soul team, it was fun to see new customers from the new store located less than a mile away in this excellent community event put on by the local Rotary Club. As I said, this was the first time I've run the Pilgrim Pacer, and I must say it's a good race on a nice course through beautiful neighborhoods. It was also great to see people I knew from the CARA circuit sprinkled in the crowd in a lower-key non-circuit environment.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

North Central 2nd in NCAA Div. III

Naperville's North Central College placed second on Saturday at the NCAA Division III men's cross-country championships at Wartburg (Iowa) College. North Central went in with a slight chance of winning its 13th NCAA title under coach Al Carius, but Haverford (Pa.) was too strong and won with 87 points to North Central's 104. Here's the NC lineup and results:
2 Michael Spain, Sr 24:24.6
11 Neal Klein, Jr 24:40.2
21 Matthew Perez, Fr 24:48.4
28 Nathan Warstler, Sr 24:54.3
42 Matt Brinkmeier, So 25:11.1
58 Dan Kerley, So 25:18.9
81 Timothy Hird, Fr 25:29.9
Total Time = 2:03:58.4 Total Places = 104
In the women's race, Middlebury (Vt.) was the champion. University of Chicago was the top area team, finishing 10th.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkey Trots Here, There and Everywhere

It's that time of the year. We're talking turkey from one end of the Chicago area to the other and then back again. Turkey runs do well with college kids back in town, runners hungry for fast times as well as dinner on Thanksgiving Day and just the spirit of giving that pervades the crisp autumn air this time of year. Lincolnwood and La Grange (Pilgrim Pacer) are two of the good ones for this weekend, and then a bunch more (see Chicago Athlete's schedule) take place Thursday. Others have already been run (Tinley Park, Montgomery for example) I've run a few in the past (Elmhurst's Dan Gibbons Run, Downers Grove and Naperville) and really have enjoyed them. The most unique turkey (trots) are in Schaumburg. The Schaumburg Half-Marathon and 5K on Saturday and Sunday (that's right), Nov. 27 and 28, includes a half-marathon in Busse Woods both days. The Saturday half is sold out, but the Sunday half still has some openings. Incredible. If you can work a turkey trot of any length into your schedule, go for it. Most of them are for very worthy causes. In this economy, helping people less fortunate is a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

High School XC Skiing in Illinois?

Michigan's got it. Minnesota's got it. Wisconsin's got it. Why can't we at least have high school XC skiing at a bare-minimum level in Illinois? We have some of the strongest cross-country running programs in the nation. Surely, there must be a runner out there who would also like to be good on skinny skis. I realize those other states have much more snow, but when we get it, we know how to use it. My goal is to have a low-key high school division at the Northern Illinois Nordic cross-country ski races at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton on Saturday, Jan. 8. If you know of any high school athlete who wants to compete on cross-country skis at any level, please leave a comment or e-mail me directly at

Sunday, November 14, 2010

York Leaves No Doubt at Midwest Regional

I'll admit I thought York (Kroy T.C.) faced a stiff challenge on Sunday at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional in Terre Haute, IN. But Kroy did the job, winning the boys title and an automatic berth in the nationals next month with 140 points.
Palatine's girls also led their parade, winning tickets to Oregon in December. York (Kroy) was led by Jack Driggs, who finished second to Carl Sandburg's Lukas Verzbicas with a 15:05.2. Verzbicas blew the field away with a 14:53.1 on the 5K course. The rest of York's (Kroy's) top five were Nick Gornick, 17th in 15:48; Ron Hedman, 31st in 16:00; Matt Simo, 40th in 16:03; and Tom Hedman, 50th in 16:08. Columbus North, the Indiana state champions and rated ahead of York in national rankings, took second with 146 points. Illinois teams dominated from there with Palatine T.C. (Palatine) third at 169, Naperville South T.C. (Neuqua Valley) fourth with 185, Oak Park Ghost Ruinners (Oak Park) fifth with 230 and Belvidere T.C.(Belvidere North) sixth with 251. Alpine (Lake Zurich), second in the Illinois state meet, finished ninth. Belvidere North, the Illinois Class 2A champion that did beat York early in the season, surprised me. I really thought that was the team York would have the most trouble beating. Back to the girls, Palatine had a top five consisting of Courtney Brown, 2nd in 18:09; Tess Wasowicz, 11th in 18:39; Sarah McIntosh, 16th in 18:51; Emily Schulte, 19th in 18:58; and Becca Sund, 24th in 19:04. Congrats to Kry T.C. and Palatine T.C.! One more thing. If you look at the boys open race. York (Kroy) showed its future hand, dominating the competition to win with 42 points. The Midwest Regional consists of the best teams and individual runners from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri. Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota teams compete in the Heartland Regional out in South Dakota.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Favela, Gabrys Tops at Gobbler Hobbler

The annual Gobbler Hobbler 10K in far-west suburban Montgomery drew its usual strong field on Saturday with Emisael Favela and Abby Gabrys posting victories. Favela, 33, of Cicero, won it going away in 32:45. Second was long-time local workhorse Chris Toepfer, 47, of Chicago, in 34:44.0, and third went to another strong masters runners, Bob Cisler, 41, of Clarendon Hills, who ran a 34:55.3. Gabrys, 27, of Oswego, was the women's winner in 41:21.5. Claire Peters, 24, of Naperville, was runner-up in 42:06.4, and Briana Stuepfert, 16, of Yorkville, was third in 42:28.3. Warm temps held on for this race, which had 529 finishers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mythical Duel: York vs. Belvidere North

As some people have confided in me, Class 3A state champion York wasn't the fastest team in the state cross-country meet but had people in the right places, which is really the only thing that counts. In Class 3A, runner-up Lake Zurich had a faster total time by 9 seconds, but then York did have a runner disqualified, which skewed and slowed its total time. More interesting is Class 2A champion Belvidere North, which creamed its division with a 28-point final total. It was faster in total time than York and only two seconds slower than Lake Zurich, but it can be argued that its runners had fewer high-quality opponents to navigate through than the Class 3A champs and runners-up did. One good friend took the times of the top five runners for York and Belvidere North and came up with a mythical 21-34 dual-meet victory for Belvidere North. I think it would be much closer, maybe 27-28, with both teams having a chance to win. Any thoughts? The Midwest Regionals in Terre Haute, IN, could be extra-special.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kern, Ryan 'Choc' Up Chocolate Wins

Charlie Kern of Elmhurst and Suzanne Ryan of West Chicago managed to stay ahead of the big field on Saturday and won the expanded third annualk Hot Chocolate 15K. The race, which had 12,364 official finishers, was on a new course (about 9.3 miles) that started in Grant Park and went south and back, including some stone path on portions of the trail. Kern, 41, one of the best coaches in the country (my opinion) won in 50:50, easily bested runner-up Josh Yelsey, 27, of Chicago, who ran a 51:13. Third place went to Jeff Thomas, 30, of Chicago, in 52:43. Ryan, 36, of West Chicago, won the women's race in 57:29, also easily triumphing over second-place Vidthya Abraham, 25, of Chicago, who ran a 59:01. Third went to Kristen Herrman, 24, of Ann Arbor, MI, in 59:43. In the 5K, which as 12,702 fun-loviong, chocolate-loving finishers, victory went to Jeff Hojnacki, 36, of Chicago, in 16:11, and Pamela Staton, 23, of Ingleside, in 18:06. Second and third men were Anton Sella, 26, of Chicago, in 16:21, and Eric Lesch, 34, of Chicago, in 16:32. Second and third women were Ashley Ralph, 22, of Chicago, in 18:29, and Meg Sullivan, 31, of Downers Grove, in 18:42. From what I've heard, it was not easy to run fast in the two Hot Chocolate races. It was a very crowded race, better suited for social running than PRs. Did you run? What did you think? By the way, Ryan was the women's winner on Sunday in the Hot Cider Hustle 8-mile in Wheaton with a time of 50:03. Not a bad weekend when you win the Hot Chocolate and Hot Cider!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

York Does It -- State Title No. 27 for Joe Newton

York's Dukes won the Class 3A boys state cross-country championship on Saturday, but it was close. The Elmhurst school won it with 162 points with second-place Lake Zurich coming in at 164. Congrats to York, which did it with six runners. I do not have the story on why No. 7 did not finish. Congrats to individual winner Lukas Verzbicas, who came close but did not break the course record set by Craig Virgin in 1972. Here are the basics:
1. Elmhurst (York) 162
2 Lake Zurich 164
3 Naperville (Neuqua Valley) 180
4 Palatine (H.S.) 189
5 O'Fallon (H.S.) 200
6 Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest) 232
7 Winnetka (New Trier) 245
8 Barrington 268
9 LaGrange (Lyons) 296
10 Orland Park (Sandburg) 304
Top Individuals
1 Lukas Verzbicas, Orland Park (Sandburg) 13:54
2 Jack Driggs, Elmhurst (York) 14:16

Schaumburg won the girls title, 112-121 over rival Palatine.
In Class 2A, Belvidere North won with a very impressive 28-point total.
Complete info on all the races is at

Friday, November 5, 2010

High School State Meet Playing in Peoria

Tomorrow is the big day for the top high school runners in Illinois. Peoria's Detweiller Park again will host the IHSA State Meet, which includes competition in three classes for boys and girls. In the big races (Class 3A), York has a chance to win its 27th boys state championship under legendary coach Joe Newton, but it's not a lock. The Dukes are led by Jack Driggs, but it will be up to his teammates to dig down and beat Neuqua Valley, New Trier, Oak Park and maybe others. In the girls competition, it will be a battle between Schaumburg and Palatine. Individually on the boys' side, all eyes will be on Lukas Verzbicas of Sandburg (photo) as he takes his last shot at Craig Virgin's course record of 13:50.6, which was set in 1972. On a personal note, good luck to good friend Will Kupisch, who is stepping down as coach at Downers Grove North after the race. Also, for anyone going to Peoria today, the Illinois Valley Striders will host the annual IHSA Cross Country Social tonight from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the LaSalle Room at the Hotel Pere Marquette in Downtown Peoria. "Coaches, Officials, Volunteers, and Friends of the IHSA Cross Country Championships are invited to this Open House event," a press release stated. For very good previews of the state meet, check out today's Chicago Sun-Times. Mike Clark does an excellent job of summing things up.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monster Dash Goes to Ware, Hattendorf

The half-marathons just keep on coming, even on Halloween weekend. The Team Ortho Monster Dash 13.1 was run in the city in times that seem slow to me, judging by whom some of the runners were. Good examples are the winners. Chad Ware, 26, of Deerfield, who I know wants to run a sub-2:20 marathon, won it in 1:13:43. Lindsay Hattendorf, 26, of Cedar Lake, IN (another former 4 on the 4th winner!), took the women's race in 1:22:56. On the men's side, the runner-up was Brian Butzler, 27, of Waukesha, WI, in 1:15:37, and third was earned by Paul Rollet, 26, of Chicago, in 1:20:23. Yes, the field was not deep despite 2,405 finishers. On the women's side, Anna Weber ,22, of Michigan City, IN, took second in 1:25:11, and Krista Vrombaut, 28, of Rock Island (out on the Mississippi River) placed third in 1:25:42.

Carrera de los Muertos to Favela, Montes

Saturday's Carrera de los Muertos (Race of the Dead) in Chicago was taken by Emisael Favela, 33, of Cicero, in 15:57 and Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, in 18:06. Both are prominent runners on the Chicago running landscape, and both are still alive after their winning runs! This race, which features a little bit of everything when it comes to Halloween weekend, had 655 male finishers and 863 female finishers. With some costumes, it might have been tough to tell which was which! At any rate, runner-up male was Juan Hiatt, 32, of Chicago, in 16:22, and third went to Jeremy Borling, 30, of Chicago, in 16:47. It's good to see Jeremy racing after a long year of helping produce the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. On the women's side, Clara Prouty, 35, of Oak Park, was second in 18:10, and Hayden Kristiansen, 31, of Chicago, was third in 19:58. I saw the names of lots of good friends in the results of this race. You know who you are. Congrats!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bareikis, Myrda 1st, 3rd at Dells Marathon

The first annual Wisconsin Dells Marathon on Sunday featured two Illinois runners as Archie Bareikis, 24, of Oak Forest, won in 2:43:24, and Jan Myrda, 39, of Palos Heights, took third in 2:56:16. Myrda was right behind Bareikis through the halfway point, 1:22:35.00 to 1:22:35.10, but faded and was passed for the runner-up spot by Kris James, 27, of Wheeler, MI, who finished in 2:50:57. Julie Faylona, 33, was the women's winner in 3:09:28. Congrats to Archie and Jan. I am a big fan of Jan's because he also is a cross-country ski phenom.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tharaud, Manuel Win Frank Lloyd Wright 10K

The Frank Lloyd Wright 10K, serving as the final CARA Runner's Choice Circuit race of the year, was won by Jerome Tharaud, 30, in 32:49 on the streets of Oak Park. On a course with more than a few houses designed by F.L. W., Larisa Manuel, 28, took the women's title in 37:48. Runner-up on the men's side was Brian Grudowski, 29, in 32:59, and third place went to Matt McCulley, 26, in 33:48. Second-place woman was Isabel Polsky, 39, in 40:02, and third went to Lori Hokeness, 29, in 42:24. This race, which had 889 finishers, was a mixed bag of Ciruit and non-Circuit runners. Nice job by everyone. I saw some pretty fast times in the age-group results. A special welcome back to racing must go to 70-year-old Ron Thomas, who ran a great 44:58. In the 5K, David Carter, 25, won in 16:55, and Mary Blankmeier, 11, took the female championship in 20:16. There were 786 finishers.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Akita Wins Fall 50 in Door County

Elmhurst College cross-country and track coach Jim Akita is one-for-one in ultramarathons after winning on Saturday in the Fall 50 up in Door County, WI. Akita won the 50-mile trek from Gills Rock at the tip of the peninsula to Sturgeon Bay in 6:06:41, an average of 7:21 per mile. Second place went to Stuart Kolb, 48, of Green Bay, in 6:18.50. The women's winner was Sonya Decker, 44, of Minneapolis, in 7:14:59. The event also included two-person and five-person relays. There were 240 teams entered. I've run this relay on a five-member team and highly recommend it if you ever get the chance.

Scott, Overbeck Win Go Go Green 5K

Derek Scott last got my attention when he came in and set a course record of 19:07 at the 2009 Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. Scott, 24, of Lynchburg, Va., came back to town on Saturday and easily won the Peggy Notebaert Go Go Green 5K in Lincoln Park. Scott won it with a 15:31; Jeff Bailey, 25, of Evanston, took second in 15:48; and Jeff Hojnacki, 36, of Chicago, placed third in 16:16. Christina Overbeck, 24, of Chicago, was the women's winner in 17:55. Runner-up honors went to Susanna Rivard, 23, of Indianapolis, in 18:02; and Kalina Michalska, 33, of Chicago, ran third in 18:49. There were 554 finishers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Interview with B.A.A.'s Morse A Must See

Hey, Illinois runners, if you haven't seen it yet, the interview with B.A.A. Boston Marathon executive director Guy Morse on the B.A.A. web site regarding what has transpired this week is very good and worth viewing. It is 7 minutes 56 seconds in length and really presents the picture of what is going on very well. Look for a larger field and tighter standards next year. Morse is a man of great integrity and wants what is best for running and runners. Take a look. It is a lengthy link address, but here it is if you don't go directly to the B.A.A. site.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boston Demand Exceeds Supply

When Boston Marathon registration was shut down today (Monday) at 4:03 p.m. CDT, it was unprecedented and left a lot of Boston qualifiers stunned and very disappointed.
Last year, registation was open for more than two months. This year, it was just over eight hours with some technical difficulties early in the morning adding to the anxious day at the keyboard. Marathon executive director Guy Morse says everything will be on the table next year, including tighter qualifying standards. Believe me, Guy Morse is a guy who does not like the idea that qualifiers are not getting into the Boston Marathon. He will work to come up with a solution for 2012. What it is, we can only guess as the 2011 race goes ahead under the current rules and qualifying standards. So you're a good runner who has the qualifying time, but you're not entered. What do you do? There are other marathons, and I've already suggested London, Paris and Rotterdam to one good friend. Stay tuned. This is quite a story. You have my total sympathy if you didn't get in. As one writer put it, runners with fast feet but slow fingers on the keyboard, were out of luck today. When I first ran Boston in 1990, there were 6,000 runners. My, how time has changed.

It's Sign-Up-for-Boston Day --It's Filled! Unreal!

If you're qualified and plan to run the 2011 B.A.A. Boston Marathon, you'd better sign up asap. Registration opened today, and I think it will go faster than ever. I'm not qualified, so I can sit and watch it fill from the sidelines. If you plan to run, do it now! One unconfirmed report said registation already was more than 16,000 as 2 p.m. CDT. Update: It is filled. Repeat. It is filled. I don't believe it, but the B.A.A. doesn't lie.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright Run Filled Up

The Frank Lloyd Wright 10K (CARA Runners Choice Circuit), 5K and 5K walk are closed. The events in Oak Park on Oct. 24 have reached their combined 2,500 capacity. Openings still exist for the youth mile as of this posting. I was on the fence to do this race, and the closing makes it easy. I can't do it. In my case, I am third in my age group in the CARA standings, and know I can't get second if my friend and rival John Albanese runs the race. He is faster than I am, and I would have to throw out a race (you're allowed a maximum of nine for scoring) and he wouldn't. However, there might be other runners who could move up a place, especially in the top three overall or in a specific age group, who won't get the opportunity. I hope that isn't the case. If you are doing this run, it is a great one with a fast course and beautiful scenery.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let the Post-Marathon DQs Begin

Actually, they already have. You know I am vehemently against bib sharing, and now I must add that I blatantly oppose people jumping in to pace friends etc. As I write this, in a quick spot check, two high finishers in the women's 60-64 group are disqualified. Good friend Nancy Rollins has moved up to second as a result. Neither alleged culprit had any splits before the half-marathon mark. When I checked the men's 60-64 group, the one runner I know, Stephen Essig, has moved from 18th to 13th. I'm sure there is much more. What a shame our sport has people who have no regard for result fiascos and potential medical disasters.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saluting Joanie and Locals Who Beat the Heat

Hats off to everyone who survived the high temps at Sunday's 33rd Bank of America Chicago Marathon. For the record, as of now, there were 19,973 male finishers and 16,186 female finishers. That's impresive on a day that was much better for spectating than running. My first salute is to the icon of icons, Joan Benoit Samuelson, who at age 53, ran a 2:47:50 in less-than-ideal conditions. She is amazing and always will be. Now on to the top locals I am able to decipher from the results. I'm sure I am missing people and I hope you let me know.
On the men's side, kudos to Patrick Rizzo, who was 13th in 2:16:12; Kyle Brady, 69th in 2:29:05; Andrew Jellema, 70th in 2:29:23; Eric Wallor, 76th in 2:29:48; and Emisael Favela, 85th in 2:31:26. On the women's side, here's to Tera Moody (we'll take her, even though she lives in Colorado now), 10th in 2:30:53; Claudia Becque, 27th in 2:41:28; Heather Prekop, 54th in 2:50:11; and Jean Marinangeli, 60th in 2:51:16. Here is another of the great local performances. Dave Walters, 55, of Lisle, ran a 2:51.40 to win M55-59. His half-marathon splits, despite the conditions, were virtually identical (1:25:40, 1:26:00).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wanjiru, Shobukhova Show us How to Win -- Again

I've been unable to get to my computer until now. Here are the offficial press releases from the marathon office and from World Marathon Majors on today's incredible race. It was hot for some and hotter for others. It was not a day to run a PR. Congrats to all, starting with repeat champs Sammy Wanjiru and Liliya Shobukhova. Their tactics and strong wills were insurmountable on the streets of Chicago today.

Shobukhova Wins Women’s World Marathon Major Series; Wanjiru Likely Earns
Men’s Series Title with Victory in Chicago

CHICAGO – The 33rd running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon today witnessed a record 38,132 participants start the race and 36,159 runners cross the finish line, two defending champions, and a course record in the men’s wheelchair competition.
“The 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon was the epitome of everything marathons could, and should be,” said Carey Pinkowski, Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director. “It was one of the most exciting races in the 33-year history of the event and it lived up to its auspicious date of 10-10-10.”
Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) defended his North American record victory at the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with another impressive sub 2:06:30 effort. His official time of 2:06:24 bested 2010 Virgin London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede (ETH) and 2010 Boston Marathon champion Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (KEN) in what was the most competitive Chicago Marathon field ever.
Wanjiru, Kebede, and Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) matched paces through the 35 kilometer mark in a battle of the youngest elite men at 23, 23 and 20 years old, respectively. Lilesa dropped after 35K leaving Wanjiru and Kebede trading leads until the very end when Wanjiru kicked hard at mile 26 to claim victory. Kebede finished in 2:06:43 with Lilesa reaching the podium in 2:08:10.
Wanjiru now holds a 10-point lead in the World Marathon Major Series, all but giving him the title and $500,000 prize, barring an unexpected decision from Kebede to race in New York next month. Kebede would need to finish second or better in New York to overtake Wanjiru.
On the women’s side, Liliya Shobukhova also defended her 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon title while setting a personal record and new Russian record. Shobukhova overtook Astede Baysa (ETH) at the 35K mark and ran solo through the chute, finishing in 2:20:25. Baysa finished second, more than 3 minutes back of Shobukhova at 2:23:40. Maria Konovalova (RUS) took third in 2:23:50, American Desiree Davila finished fourth in 2:26:20 and Irina Mikitenko (GER) rounded out the top five in 2:26:40.
Shobukhova’s second Major victory of 2010—she previously won the London Marathon in April—secured her the World Marathon Major Series title with 85 points.
The men’s wheelchair competition saw 12-time Paralympic Gold Medalist and 12-time World Champion Goal Medalist Heinz Frei (SUI) set a new course record in his Bank of America Chicago Marathon debut. Frei, a 52-year-old race veteran, finished in 1:26:56, outlasting a younger field that featured 9-time Boston Marathon Champion Ernst Van Dyk, who made his Bank of America Chicago Marathon debut.
American Amanda McGrory captured her third Bank of America Chicago Marathon championship in the women’s wheelchair division in 1:47:25, reclaiming victory over her University of Illinois teammate and defending 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Tatyana McFadden (USA). McGrory won a sprint down the final stretch of Columbus Drive with Wakako Tsuchida (JPN) who crossed two seconds later in 1:47:27. McFadden finished in 1:56:11.

Shobukhova Wraps Up World Marathon Major Win with Victory at Bank of America Chicago Marathon Wanjiru Races to Victory; All but Ensures World Marathon Majors Title

CHICAGO, October 10, 2010- Liliya Shobukhova set a new Russian women's marathon record when she finished in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 25 seconds taking home the Bank of America Chicago Marathon victory and the World Marathon Majors Title. In the men's race, Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya finally broke away from Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia just after mile 26 to win by 19 seconds in 2:06:24.

At the beginning of the day, Wanjiru and Kebede each had 50 points in the World Marathon Major standings. After staying close throughout the race, Wanjiru and Kebede ran side-by-side and traded off the lead at mile 26, before Wanjiru surged to the front and never looked back. His strong finish gave Wanjiru 25 points, bringing his total up to 75 and the lead with only one event, the ING New York City Marathon, remaining in the series. Kebede's second-place finish (2:06:43) gave him 15 points, bringing his total to 65. The only opportunity for Wanjiru to be defeated would be for Kebede to make a quick recovery to run New York, and finish second or better.

In the women's race, Shobukhova took hold of the lead around the 35K mark and did not face any competition the rest of the race, with Astede Baysa of Ethiopia finishing second, over three minutes behind. In addition to a personal best and the Russian women's marathon record, the victory gave her an additional 25 points in the World Marathon Majors standings, bringing her total to 85 and guaranteeing her the title and $500,000 purse.

The top five men and women finishers at the Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York World Championships and Olympic Marathons will earn points in a $1 million two-year series to crown the World Marathon Majors champion. The 2009-10 series will conclude at the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 7. The men's and women's champions will both win $500,000. The points breakdown is 1st -25, 2nd-15, 3rd-10, 4th-5 and 5th -1.

The current 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors standings are:

Place Name Country Point Total
1 Samuel Wanjiru KEN 75
2 Tesgaye Kebede ETH 65
3 Deriba Merga ETH 35
3 Emmauel Mutai KEN 35
5 Jaouad Gharib MOR 30

Place Name Country Point Total
1 Liliya Shobukhova RUS 85
2 Irina Mikitenko GER 41
3 Salina Kosgei KEN 36
4 Teyba Erkesso ETH 30
5 Xue Bai CHN 25
5 Bezunesh Bekele ETH 25
5 Atsede Habtamu ETH 25
5 Aberu Kebede ETH 25
5 Derartu Tulu ETH 25

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Locals Set Their Marathon Goals

Sure, there will be a bevy of elites from Africa, Europe and even the United States on Sunday at the 33rd Bank of America Chicago Marathon. But there will be plenty of strong local runners trying to reach high aspirations. Many will be trying to meet Olympic Trials standards (2:19 for men, 2:39 [A] or 2:46 [B] for women). Others will be looking to do well in their age groups. Names like Kyle Brady, Chad Ware and Emisael Favela come to mind. So do others. Dave Schaefers of Fast Track/Dick Pond was kind enough to share some names and numbers from that club. If you're a man trying to break 2:30 or a woman hoping to go under 2:50, please leave a comment on this message. I want everyone who deserves publicity to get it. Here is that Fast Track group:
Eric Wallor ... sub 2:25
Jean Marinangeli... women's Olmypic marathon qualifier (sub 2:46)
Kate DeProsperis... women's Olympic marathon qualifier (sub 2:46)
Ann Schaefers-Coles... top Illinois Masters woman
Alona Banai... women's Olympic marathon qualifier (sub 2:46)
Don't be shy. Let's add to this list.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Field, Wachtel Win Bucktown 5K

Matt Field, 25, of Wheaton, led a parade of fast finishers on Sunday at the Bucktown 5K in Chicago, posting a 15:13 for the victory. Field was followed by runner-up Andy Derks, 30, of Chicago, who ran 15:26, and third-place finisher Emil Bojanov, 26, of Chicago, who ran a 15:47. Women's honors went to Jacki Wachtel, 31, of New Port Richey, FL, in 17:54. Melissa Hardesty, 33, of Chicago, was second in 18:52, and Michelle Densmore, 29, of Chicago, took third in 19:08. As it always does, the Bucktown 5K drew a lot of runners, with 3,535 crossing the line as of this post.

Fall Color 5K Fills Arboretum

The Fall Color 5K at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle had 1,780 finishers on Sunday. What a great success on a cool autumn morning. From a quick perusal of the results, some runners were there to tune up for next week's marathon and many others were there to run in a beautiful place and that's it. Jeff Bailey, 25, of Evanston, won it in 15:49, with Jonathan O'Brien, 23, of Downers Grove taking second in 16:57.9, and Jacek Walasik, 28, of Chicago coming in third in 17:26.7. Alissa Hunt, 27, of Chicago, won the women's race in 18:45.8. Runner-up was Magan Baganz, 33, of Naperville, in 19:12.2, and third went to Joanne Singleton, 38, of Chicago, in 20:18.5. Have you ever run at the Morton Arboretum? It is a gem.

Setzlers Sizzle at Milwaukee

Neither won, but Cari and Chris Setzler , Wonder Lake, IL, made their day at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon very worthwhile on Sunday. Cari, 32, was second overall woman with a 3:02:24, and Chris, 37, was fifth overall in 2:36:28. The 30th annual Beer Town 26.2-miler was won by Scott Jansky, 37, of Two Rivers, WI, in 2:31:41. Second went to Wynn Davis, 29, of River Falls, WI, in 2:33:47, and Dan Held, 44, of Pewaukee, WI, well-known at big Chicago-area races over the years, took third in 2:34:27. Women's winner was Nacole Fredrickson, 31, of Milwaukee, in 3:01:42, and third was taken by Sue Miller, 36, of West Bend, WI, in 3:04:15. At last count, there were 1,903 finishers in the well-produced event.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

CARA Names Jaehn Executive Director

Wendy Bensley Jaehn will become executive director of the Chicago Area Runners Association on Nov. 17. Jaehn can run fast and has a strong pedigree in the non-profit organization field. Jaehn, who ran a 1:32 at the Chicago Half Marathon on Sept. 12 (her first 13.1-miler), comes to CARA after a successful career at the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance where she is president and executive director. She earned a masters degree in Non-Profit Management from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern).

Final Marathon Elite Fields Announced

Despite Ryan Hall pulling out, the field put together by race director Carey Pinkowski for the 33rd Bank of America Chicago Marathon is loaded with A-plus runners. The additions of Ethiopians Feyisa Lilesa and Deriba Merba on the men's side give the race five runners with PRs under 2:06 with another under 2:07. On the women's side, three new Ethiopian entries make it a stellar field with all kinds of possibilities. Geez. Does it get better than this?
Here are the elite rosters as of Sept. 30:
Name Country Personal Record

Sammy Wanjiru KEN 2:05:10
Vincent Kipruto KEN 2:05:13
Tsegaye Kebede ETH 2:05:18
Feyisa Lilesa ETH 2:05:23
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot KEN 2:05:52
Deriba Merga ETH 2:06:38
Negari Terfa ETH 2:07:41
Wesley Korir KEN 2:08:24
Laban Moiben KEN 2:09:43
Ridouane Harroufi MAR 2:10:14
Nick Arciniaga USA 2:11:46
Jason Hartmann USA 2:12:09
Justin Young USA 2:13:52
Chad Johnson USA 2:15:03
Mike Morgan USA 2:15:11
Luke Humphrey USA 2:15:22
Patrick Rizzo USA 2:15:48
Mike Sayenko USA 2:16:38
Fasil Bizuneh USA 2:16:47
James Carney USA 2:16:54
Boaz Cheboiywo KEN 2:21:40
Shadrack Biwott KEN Debut
Juan Carlos Romero MEX Debut

Name Country Personal Record

Irina Mikitenko GER 2:19:19
Askale Tafa Magarsa ETH 2:21:31
Naoko Sakamoto JPN 2:21:51
Liliya Shobukhova RUS 2:22:00
Atsede Baysa ETH 2:22:04
Mamitu Daska ETH 2:24:19
Lidiya Grigoryeva RUS 2:25:10
Magdalena Lewy-Boulet USA 2:26:22
Colleen De Reuck USA 2:26:35
Desiree Davila USA 2:27:53
Liz Yelling GBR 2:28:33
Kaori Yoshida JPN 2:30:58
Melissa White USA 2:32:55
Tera Moody USA 2:32:59
Zoila Gomez USA 2:33:53
Dot McMahan USA 2:35:02
Maria Konovalova RUS 2:35:21
Erin Moeller USA 2:36:51
Andrea Pomaranski USA 2:37:44
Fiona Docherty NZL 2:37:55
Kim Duclos USA 2:38:21
Jennifer Houck USA 2:39:02
Jia Chaofeng CHN 2:40:33
Diane Nukuri-Johnson BDI Debut
Molly Pritz USA Debut

Wheelchair Men
Name Country

Adam Bleakney USA
Rafel Botello ESP
Heinz Frei SUI
Joshua George USA
Tony Iniguez USA
Saul Mendoza MEX
Santiago Sanz ESP
Masazumi Soejima JPN
Ernst Van Dyk RSA

Wheelchair Women
Name Country

Kelsey LeFevour USA
Maggie Frederick USA
Tatyana McFadden USA
Amanda McGrory USA

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

25 Years Later, Here Comes Joanie

The woman who pioneered women's marathon running has not completed her competitive days. Joan Benoit Samuelson has done countless things to better our sport. Among her major accomplishments was a victory in the 1985 Chicago Marathon in 2:21:21, an American record that stood for 18 years until Deena Kastor finally broke it in London with a 2:21:16 in 2003 and broke it again with a 2:19:36, also in London, in 2006. Anyway, Joanie will be running Chicago this year at the age of 53. She has been training hard with 80-mile weeks and wants to break 2:50, something she already has done at Boston and New York since turning 50. In a wonderful interview with David Leon Moore of USA Today, one quote really caught my attention. I've been experiencing longer recoveries etc. for quite a while as I have become an older runner. Here is the quote from USA Today:
Q: What should runners know once they turn 50 and want to keep running competitively?

A: Everything in moderation. I'm certainly not doing the mileage I once did, though I'm still running around 80 miles a week, at least in preparation for this race. It's really a fine line sometimes. Recovering becomes more difficult as you age. It's important to remember to run your own race. I run my own race. You can't run anybody's race but your own.

Steve Jones, who won the men's race at Chicago in 1985, also is running Chicago again this year.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hats Off to Lake Zurich Half

As I perused the numerous race results from the past weekend, one stood out. It was so great to see that the 32nd Alpine Races Half Marathon was a success. I felt very bad a couple of years ago when this race losts its CARA Circuit status. The Alpine runners, and from my personal experiences, the work done by Pat and Beth Onines, have done a great job over the years. The half-marathon had 251 finishers with Jason Doland, 40, of Inverness, taking individual honors with a 1:15:23.38. Women's winner was Jacqui Aubert, 24, of Crystal Lake, with a 1:30:14.44. An accompanying 5K and kids race completed the package. There were bigger races, but this was one I was glad stuck around.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Giuliano, Marinangeli Win 33rd Park Ridge Charity Classic

As I wondered why my lungs and legs weren't cooperating as we ran the first half of the Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K on Saturday, I marveled at the parade of great local runners coming back the other way on this fast, flat out-and-back course. Knowing I wasn't where I wanted to be as we fought a vicious headwind before the turnaround in this key CARA Runners Choice Circuit race, I got to watch first-hand as the battles within the battle took place on the other side of the road. First up and down Busse Highway this blustery fall morning was Ryan Giuliano, 25, of Schaumburg, who posted a fine 15:44.77. Second went to Michael Straza, 40 (yep, a master), of Bloomington, IL, in 15:53.94, and third belonged to Cyril Pinchak, 26, of Chicago, in 16:00.81. Jean Marinangeli, 26, of Arlington Heights, solidified her lead in the CARA overall standings with a first-place 16:53.43. Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, was second in 17:26.77, and Suzanne Ryan, 36, of West Chicago, took third in 17:43.79. The top threes don't tell the whole story. The fields were deep, overall and in most age groups. There were 372 finishers, small but a quality field all the way. I saw a lot of runners I hadn't seen in quite a while. It was a fun day despite my own sluggish performance.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yes, We Are a Major Sport -- Here's Proof

Frankly, we are in a sport that is indeed major and needs more support from fans and media. But it has come a long way since back in the day. The evolution of the World Marathon Majors circuit (Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Olympics, World Championships) has created a PGA-NASCAR stable of runners, which is good for competition and exposure. At any rate, things get going this weekend with the Berlin Marathon. Chicago waits in the on-deck circle. Here is the latest WMM release with all the pertinent information.

World Marathon Majors Series Resumes with
$1 Million Prize Purse to be Claimed
Stellar fields will compete at remaining 2010 WMM Races

A-to-head battle for the World Marathon Majors series crown between Samuel Wanjiru and Tesgaye Kebede at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon next month and the first appearance of world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie at the ING New York City Marathon in November highlight the Fall World Marathon Majors campaign that kicks off in Berlin this Sunday. The real,- Berlin Marathon resumes the series on Sunday, September 26, followed by the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 10 and will conclude with the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 7.

Runners have already earned points (25 points for first place, 15 for second, 10 for third, 5 for fourth, and 1 for fifth) for top-five finishes in April’s B.A.A. Boston Marathon and Virgin London Marathon, as well as top-five finishers in each of the five marathons in 2009, and at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in 2009. Men’s and women’s winners of the series will share a $1 million prize purse.

Wanjiru and Kebede currently share the lead in the men’s series with 50 points apiece, while Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova leads the women’s field with 60 points, with Germany’s Irina Mikitenko second with 40 points. All four will race in Chicago, along with who currently sits in sixth place wiRobert Kiprono Cheruiyot th 26 points. While the titles are likely to be decided in Chicago, Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai could come from behind if both Kebede and Wanjiru finish third or lower in Chicago and Mutai wins in New York. Salina Kosgei, who will toe the line in New York, is the only woman besides Mikitenko with enough points to potentially defeat Shobukhova.

Each of the three fall WMM events will host an impressive elite field. At Berlin, seven men have run faster than 2:07, and three under 2:06. Kenyans Patrick Makau and Geoffrey Mutai lead the field after running the top two times in the world this year when they placed first and second at the Rotterdam Marathon in 2:04:48 and 2:04:55.

In Chicago, besides the WMM contenders, the men’s elite field includes Kenyan Vincent Kipruto who placed third last year and U.S. Olympian Ryan Hall, who will attempt to break the 2:05:38 American record set by Khalid Khannouchi in 2002. Hall currently shares 10th place in the WMM series with 20 points. The women’s field includes Russians Lidiya Grigoryeva, 2008 Chicago Marathon champion, and Maria Konovalova, U.S. Olympian Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, British Olympian Liz Yelling, Japanese star Naoko Sakamoto and up-and-coming U.S. runner Desiree Davila who placed 11th at the 2009 IAAF World Championships Marathon.

New York features one of the deepest elite fields ever, highlighted by Gebrselassie making his New York debut. The world record holder in the marathon and multiple Olympic and World Championships gold medalist, Gebrselassie has become a running legend in his native Ethiopia and worldwide. He currently sits ninth in the 2009–2010 WMM standings. The men’s and women’s elite fields hold 24 Olympians, 14 World Championships Medalists, eight WMM race winners, seven World Champions and four Olympic Medalists. The Olympic medalists include Gebrselassie (1996 and 2000, gold, 10,000m) and fellow Ethiopian Derartu Tulu (1992 and 2000, gold, 10,000m), who is tied for fifth in WMM standings. 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist and 2009 New York Champion Meb Keflezighi of the U.S. will try to defend his title and better his sixth place WMM ranking. The United States’ Shalane Flanagan (2008, bronze, 10,000m) will make her marathon debut.

WMM series points earned in 2010 will also count toward the 2010–11 series championship. If either Kebede or Cheruiyot wins in Chicago, they'll enter the 2011 season with a virtually unbeatable 50 points. If Shobukova wins in Chicago and Erkesso wins in New York, they will enter 2011 with a tie at 50 points. Complete WMM Series leaderboards are posted at

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Fox Valley Marathon Goes Well

Under partly cloudy skies and with the temperature at 56 degrees, runners in the first Fox Valley Marathon had a good day to run on Sunday out in St. Charles. The program included a full marathon, 20-mile event and half-marathon. Winners of the main event, the 26.2-miler were Michael Iacofano, 42, of Medina, OH, in 2:41:29, and Anna Siliciano, 27, of Madison, WI, in 3:06:00. Iacofano, a track and cross-country coach at St. Vincent High School in Akron, OH, was uncontested, as Florida-based Trey Howell, 30, took second in 2:49:43. Lorne Litwora, 32, took third in 2:50:33. The women's race was much closer as Siliciano had plenty of company from runner-up Jennifer Benitez, 37, who ran a 3:06:17, and Karen Meraw, 25, who was third in 3:06:31. There were 483 finishers in the marathon. In the 20-miler, technically a training run but competitive nonetheless, Steve Breese 32, of Schaumburg, won in 1:59:02, and Tera Moody, 29, of Colorado Springs, CO (St. Charles native and fifth-place finisher in the 2004 women's Olympic Trials marathon) was the women's winner in 1:59:42. The half-marathon was taken by Brian Grudowski of Buffalo Grove in 1:09:06. Joan Vitro was the women's winner in 1:39:24. There were 312 finishers in the 20-miler and 101 finishers in the half. All of this is subject to revision. Did you run? How was it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inaugural Naperville Trail Half Draws 593

With a half here and half there (Chicago and Crystal Lake) on the same morning, I wasn't sure how the new Naperville Trails Half Marathon would do on Sunday (Sept. 12). The returns are in, and the race on the chopped limestone trails of Danada and Herrick Lake Forest Preserves in DuPage County was a resounding success with 593 finishers. First across the finish line was Justin Henry, 26, of Gunnison, CO, who ran a 1:14:17. Second went to Jeff Vilinek, 40, of Glen Ellyn, in 1:21:19, and third went to David Gramer, 23, of Cortland, IL, in 1:23:30. And, like Crystal Lake, this one had a women's winner in her 30s. Second and third were, too! Winner was Julie Rakow, 37, of West Chicago, in 1:31:26. Next came Maegan Harris, 31, of Aurora, in 1:36:27, and third was Joanne Singleton, 38, of Chicago, in 1:37:23. Looks as if three halfs equalled a whole lot of contented runners this past weekend.

Monday, September 13, 2010

35-year old Is Women's Winner at Crystal Lake

The Crystal Lake Memorial Half Marathon always is run in the shadow of other races, but each year, it produces fine performances with little or no fanfare. This year, that honor goes to Kristen Jordan, 35, of Palatine, who was the women's overall winner in 1:27:09. One note to the race organizers: She is not 53 as listed in the results. Shanna Piggott, 32, of Round Lake, was second in 1:28:19, and Kimberly Leal Tortomasi, 30, of Palmyra, WI, was third in 1:29:42. On the men's side, Jon Hiatt, 32, of Chicago, won in 1:12:47, taking a tight race from Michael Bigda, 29, of Bloomington, IN, who ran a 1:12:59. Joshua Uvodich, 19, of Lakewood, was third in 1:13:20.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Out-of-Towners Rule Chicago Half Marathon

Nathan Krah, 24, of Boston, and Andrea Pomaranski, 28, of Farmington Hills, MI (Hansons team) enjoyed their runs on the southern Chicago lakefront on Sunday, collecting victories in the 14th annual Chicago Half Marathon. It was a sun-drenched day with temps in the 60s and very little wind as 13,546 (at least for now) runners finished this 13.1-miler that starts and finishes near Jackson Park. When I saw the men's and women's leaders coming south as I was heading north, Krah and Pomaranski seemed to have control of the race. Krah won it in 1:07:11, with David Jankowski, 25, of Blowing Rock, NC, second in 1:07:48. This just in. Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times had a nice story on the race in Monday's edition and reported that Jankowski had the lead early but had to make a pottie stop. Meanwhile, first local finisher and third overall was Emisael Favela, 33, of Cicero, who came in at 1:08:16. Not too shabby, Emisael! Fourth went to Chad Ware, 25, of Deerfield, close to Favela at 1:08:21, and fifth was taken by Eric Waller, 27, of Chicago, in 1:10:31. Pomaranski owned the women's race, winning in 1:13:15. This one was settled early. Runner-up was Renee High, 28, of Virginia Beach, VBA, in 1:17:48. Third and first local was Erin Moffett, 28, of Chicago, in 1:19:06, with fourth going to Andrea Viger, 32, of Boulder, CO, in 1:19:50, and fifth went to local favorite Jean Marinangeli, 26, of Arlington Heights, in 1:20:13. Personally, I played it a bit conservatively early and tried to push it late. That course is beautiful, and my temperamental feet survived the concrete on Lake Shore Drive just fine. Here's a special shout to Team Fast Track's David Schaefers, who gave my a nice handshake about a quarter-mile into the race as he led the 1:30 pace group. Thanks, Dave! And it was very much fun seeing and running near a lot of my teammates from the Fossil Velocity team that does the Madison-Chicago Relay each June as well as the Elmhurst Running Club. Hope your races went well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Akita, Paprocki Win Oak Brook Half

Elmhurst College coach Jim Akita told me it would be a practice run for him at the Oak Brook Half-Marathon. He's been coming back from a hamstring injury suffered in May at the Green Bay Marathon. Practice made perfect for 30-year-old Akita on Monday as he easily won the third annual Oak Brook Half-Marathon in 1:11:45.3. Now, he plans to "race" this Sunday in the Chicago Half-Marathon. We'll see! Akita's winning counterpart in the women's competition was Angie Paprocki, 35, of Hoffman Estates, who took the title in 1:27:22.6. Back to the men, Brian Runyon, 29, of Chicago, took second in 1:14:56.9, and Todd Quednau, 28, of Downers Grove, grabbed third in 1:16:04.5. Women's second-place finisher was Heather Swink, 37, of Chicago, in 1:28:14.7, and third went to May Chavez, 35, of Oswego, in 1:29:04.3. On a weekend full of races and marathon training runs, race director Tom Hepperle's event had 1,482 finishers, 759 men and 723 women. How did it go for you? Comments are welcome.

Quality Shines Through at Park Forest

The little run that could did it again with a stellar field, great organiazation and wonderful atmosphere on Monday down in Park Forest. Kudos to race director Bud James for holding things together as the "new" five miler was held for the third time after 30 dashing years of the national-class Scenic 10-miler. There were 290 finishers, but not many slow ones! Defending champion Julius Kiptoo, 33, led a Kenyan 1-2-3 sweep on the men's side with a 23:46 (chip time 23:45), despite having to run much of the last mile into a stiff headwind. Second went to Moses Waweru, 32, in 24:01 (chip time the same), and third belonged to James Boitt, 31, in 24:12 (chip time the same). First non-Kenyan was fourth-place finisher Brandon Mull, 24, of Wheaton, who ran 24:18 (same chip time). On the women's side, CARA overall leader Jean Marinangeli, 26, of Arlington Heights, moved into the lead at about 3.5 miles and crossed the line first in 28:21 (chip time 28:19). Bethany Brewster , 30, of Madison, WI, was second after vying for the lead with a 28:34 (28:33 chip), and Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, was third in 28:55 (28:54). Prize money was $500 for the winners, $400 for the runners-up and $300 for the third-place finishers. Two-time women's champion Lucie Mays-Sulewski, 40, of Westfield, IN, was fourth in 29:30.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hird, Ryan Win Close Peapod Half-Madness 13.1

Close races on the men's and women's side made for exciting racing on Sunday in the Peapod Half-Madness 13.1 in Batavia. Nick Hird, 26, of Naperville won in 1:08:10 (5:10 pace), but close behind were second-place finisher Kyle Brady, 22, of Wheaton (winner of the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 3rd and DeKalb Cornfest 10K), who came in at 1:08:20, and defending champion Lars Juhl, 33, of Chicago, who was right in the mix at 1:08:26 for third. The women's race for first was equally tight as Suzanne Ryan, 36, of West Chicago, eeked out a victory in 1:22:07, with Jessica Hopkins, 25, of Lisle, grabbing second in 1:22:17. Third went to Cari Setzler, 32, of Wonder Lake, as she ran a 1:25:49. The accompanying 10K was won by Ryan Giuliano, 25, of Schaumburg, in 33:17. Brooke Bean, 31, of Geneva, was the women's victor in 45:49. The half-marathon had 982 finishers. The 10K had 222.

Stampeders Number Nearly 1,000

Counting the walk, there were 970 finishers on Sunday at the Buffalo Grove Stampede. Cool temps made for ideal conditions in the north suburban 10K/5K put on by the Buffalo Grove Park District. Emisael Favela, 33, of Cicero, no stanger to these posts, won the 10K with a nice 32:32.7. Brian Gradowski, 28, of Buffalo Grove, was second in 33:03.8, and Phil Latter, 28, of Fort Collins, CO, was third in 33:29.9. Katie Hanser, 29, of Colymbia, MO, was the women's 10K winner in 37:19.2. Second went to Marlene Patterson, 27, of Evanston, in 38:07.0, and third was taken by Holly Ochs, 28, of Milwaukee, in 38:54.2. In the 5K, Derek Ericson, 21, of Crystal Lake, won with a 16:22.8. Mike Somers, 23, of Mundelein, was the runner-up in 16:41.0, and Tom Jordan, 29, of Hanover Park, was third in 18:01.3. The women's 5K winner was Meg Sullivan, 30, of Downers Grove. She took it in 19:17.8, with Kendelle Krause, 23, of Lombard, taking second in 20:48.4, and Colleen Seville, 57, of Chicgao grabbing a nice third in 22:06. There were 316 finishers in the 10K, 512 in the 5K and 142 in the 5K walk.

Oak Brook Half Still Has Openings

The third annual Oak Brook Half-Marathon on Monday (Sept. 6) has closed on-line registrtion, but in-person sign-up is still possible today at The Runner's Soul, 5 S. La Grange Road, La Grange. When the 2,000 limit is reached, registration will close. If 2,000 isn't reched today, there will be on-site race-day registration, but get there very early. The weather looks very good for this race in and around the village of Oak Brook in the west suburbs. The following is directly from the race Web site: "The Half-Marathon will start at 1450 Kensington Road, one block west of Jorie Blvd., and finish in Oak Brook’s beautiful Central Park. Kensington Road is in Oak Brook, IL between 22nd St and 31st St (Oak Brook Rd)." I'm not sure who will be at the front of the pack. Elmhurst College coach Jim Akita, who has been injured, is using the race as a training run. Race director Tom Hepperle has a good one going this year. It should be fun for the runners and the spectators. Race time is 7 a.m.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Park Forest Scenic 5M -- Can Ya Say Kenya?

The total numbers are small, but race director Bud James has an all-star cast running on Monday (Sept. 6) at the Park Forest Scenic 5-miler. James says the total registration is about 335 compared to about 380 last year. Oh well, that means more pancakes for the runners who are running! Just kidding. Defending overall champion Julius Kiptoo (Kenya), 45, of Durham, NC (23:30 in 2009), will be back, James said. Other big names on the running circuit who are planning to compete in Park Forest include Matt Thull of Milwaukee, Mike Egle of Glenview and Kenyans Philip Lagat, Geoffrey Kiprotich, Julius Rotich, Sammy Rotich,Rael Murey, Grace Wanjiru Kimani and Moses Waweri. "Not a bad field," James said. "The weather should be good, so it should be fast."

Tradition A Constant at BG Stampede

Always run on a Labor Day weekend loaded with high-quality races, the Buffalo Gove Stampede has carved out a spot among those top-tier events, and the latest edition will take place at 8 a.m. on Sunday (Sept. 5). Start and finish are at Rylko Community Park at 951 McHenry Road for the 10K/5K races produced by the Buffalo Grove Park District. As they have done several times, the Rotich brothers (from Kenya) of West Des Moines, IA, won last year, Julius taking the 5K in 16:06 and Sammy winning the 10K in 35:12. I'm not sure who will be there this year, but the field is always large and deep. Best of luck to all participants.

Half-Madness -- All Systems Go

The third annual Peapod Half-Madness 13.1 (and a new 6.2 this year) is set for Sunday morning (Sept. 5) at 7 a.m. in far-west suburban Batavia. The "scenic and challenging" course starts and finishes in downtown Batavia, but includes plenty of picturesque running along the Fox River and in surrounding neighborhoods. Put on by the Multisport Madness club, a major player on the triathlon scene, the event has just over 1,100 entered in the half-marathon and about 200 in the 10K. The 10K starts at 7:15. Defending champions from last year's 989 finishers are Lars Juhl of Chicago (1:07:45) and Lisa Phillips of Aurora (1:27:42).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scovill, Ryan Best at Windrunner 10K

High humidity on the limestone trails at Danada and Herrick Lake Forest Preserves didn't deter 289 finishers on Sunday at the annual Windrunners 10K through the two DuPage County Forest Preserves near Wheaton. Overall winner was Jeff Scovill, 36, of Minneapolis, in 33:58.6. The women's champion, also 36, was Suzanne Ryan of West Chicago, who ran a 38:07.7. Archie Bareikis, 24, of Oak Forest, was second overall in 34:31.4, and Colin Young, 34, of Mount Prospect, was third in 34:45.1. Considerably behind Ryan on the women's side was runner-up Kate Kostal, 25, of Winfield, in 42:47.3, and third-place finisher Maegan Harris, 31, of Aurora, in 44:39.3. I've always wanted to do this race, but confess I haven't because it was close to other races I've done a week later on Labor Day weekend. I think I would love it because I've run, roller-skied and snow-skied on those trails hundreds of times. Kudos to the Lisle Windrunners for producing a high-quality event.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Baby's Due in March -- Deena out of NYC Marathon

Deena Kastor is pregnant and will not compete in this year's New York City Marathon. If you didn't read it in the Sun-Times or Tribune today, you have now. Deena, a Chicago favorite for her past wins in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle 8K, is one class act. Who can forget her memorable bronze-medal run at the 2004 Olympic marathon in Athens? Best wishes and godspeed to Deena, her husband, and their expected child next March.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cornfest Results Corrected

Results from the Cornfest 10K in DeKalb have been fixed. A note from the race director with the race survey said that apparently the initial results had been posted as gun time, not chip time. It's been corrected for all of the hungry CARA Runners Choice Circuit runners (as well as people who just ran it to run it), and from a personal point of view, I'm happy. I got the time I thought I'd run. OK, 44:59.2 isn't going to get me into the hall of fame, but in 100 percent humidity, I'm a happy old fart with a performance like that. Kudos to the race for getting it right. They did another great job out there.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Champion's Race Goes to Flaherty

The Dick Pond Champion's Race 10K on Saturday was a newbie, but as the USATF "state championship," it drew a decent contingent of runners, mostly from the city. Matt Flaherty, 25, was the winner in 31:52.30 on the course that started and finished near Montrose Harbor. Mark Wehrman, 23, of Chicago, was second in 33:47.35, and John Taylor, 38, was third in 34:15.75. The women's top three went like this: Sue DeHaan, 43, in 40:48.85; Jennifer Pfaff, 34, in 41:07.70, and Kristen Frey, 26, in 41:18.95. In the 5K, Kevin Granato, 32, won in 16:55.60, while Holly Porter, 34, was the women's winner in 19:41.00 This was intriguing to say the least. Dick Pond is located in the suburbs not the city. I'll bet organizers meant for it to be Champions' (plural possessive), not Champion's (singular possessive) Race. And going up against the DeKalb Cornfest 10K CARA Runners' Choice Circuit race didn't help, but some powerful runners did show up to make this event a success.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Two Geneva XC Runners Medal at Youth Olympics

Standout Geneva High School cross-country runners Kevin McDowell and Kelly Whitley won silver and bronze medals respectively last week in the triathlon at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Both competed in events that included 750-yard swims, 20K bike rides and 5K runs. McDowell finished second to Aaron Barclay of New Zealand. Whitley was third, losing only to winner Yuka Sato of Japan and Ellie Salthouse of Australia. McDowell and Whitley train with the Illinois-based Multisport Madness Triathlon Team and qualified for Singapore at the April 16 ITU Triathlon American Youth Olympic Games Qualifier in Monterrey, Mexico.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Brady, Marinangeli Pace Humid Cornfest 10K

The humidity couldn't have been much higher, but at least temperatures were only in the high 70s on Saturday at the CARA Runners Choice Circuit's westernmost race, the DeKalb Cornfest 10K. The event drew its usual strong field with Kyle Brady, 22, of Wheaton, winning the overall title in 31:33:33, and Jean Marinangeli, 26, of Arlington Heights, taking the women's crown in 36:08:19. Brady bested Chad Ware, 25, of Deerfield, who led early, but couldn't hold on against Brady in the brutally sticky weather. Ware ran 31:46.76. Both times are superb considering both runners are in full-bore marathon training with some triple-digit mileage weeks under their belts. Third went to always reliable Emisael Favela, 33, of Cicero, who also got under 32 with a 31:58.64. I'm not certain if Favela plans to run a fall marathon or not. Matt Thull of Milwaukee, who took second last year, was registered but did not compete. Back on the women's side, Marinangeli had things to herself. Second place was taken by Olivia Aranda, 31, of Rockford, who posted a 39:04.18, just edging third-place runner Tammy Lifka, 40, of Glen Ellyn, who came in at 39:05.5, easily the first female masters finisher. Top male master was Bob Cisler, 41, of Darien, who ran a 34:57.46. Immediately after the race, finish times were off by 16-17 seconds. I think they are still off by 3-4 seconds. Does anyone else think the times are slightly off? I know mine is shown as 4 seconds slower than what I got on my watch. There were 564 total finishers, up from 561 in 2009. Driving through almost zero-visibility fog to get there from the Chicago area added to the interesting day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

CARA Adjusts Circuit

With DeKalb's Cornfest tomorrow and Runners' Choice Circuit runners wondering what was up because of the cancellation of the competitive version of the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10-miler, CARA made the following announcement today.

Due to the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 Mile being cancelled because of severe weather, the CARA Race Committee has made the following changes to the Runners' Choice Circuit scoring:

Individual: Runners will now only need to participate in six (6) races to be eligible for a Runners' Choice Circuit award. We will now score your best nine (9) races instead of ten.

Corporate: The Chicago Half Marathon will be the replacement race for the cancelled Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 Mile.

Long Distance: To be eligible for a Long Distance Award, runners need to complete 5 races of 10 miles or more.

There will be no changes made to the Club or Participation Award rules. If you have any questions, please contact Brian Ulery, Road Race/Volunteer Services.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

K-Fest 5K Goes to Favela, Brewster

Prize money and a fast course based from the Foster Bank on the north side of Chicago brought out some top-tier runners for the annual K-Fest 5K on Sunday. Sponsored by the bank and the Chicago Korean-American Chamber of Commerce, the race was won by Emisael Favela, 33, of Cicero, in 15:29.5. Joe Guinness, 25, of Chicago, was second in 15:51.4, and Daniel Kittaka, 22, of Chicago, was third in 15:55.3. Bethany Brewster, 25, of Madison, WI, was the women's winner in 17:33.3. Chicago-area regular Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago, was second in 18:05.7, and Simonetta Magnani, 42, of Catawba, OH, was third in 18:30.7.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's New? Plenty

The race landscape around the Chicago area just keeps on changing. Three events that really are grabbing my attention are a new Park Forest Running and Pancake Club 10-miler on Saturday, Sept. 4; the inaugural Naperville Trails Half Marathon on the chopped limestone trails of Danada and Herrick Lake Forest Preserves on Sunday, Sept. 12; and the Prairie State Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K, all based from Independence Grove Forest Preserve near Libertyville, on Saturday, Oct. 9. With all of the other events and training programs alrteady in place, it's amazing to me to see this happening. The Park Forest run will be on bike trails in Mokena, not Park Forest, and does not replace the current 5-miler in Park Forest on Sept. 6. The new 10-miler will not be competitive, but possibly a trial run for a new serious 10-miler in the future (we all remember and miss the PF Scenic 10 that was discontinued by the village . . . not the club), organizer Joe Baska told me. The Naperville race goes head-to-head against the Chicago Half and is two weeks after the Peapod Half Madness (Sept. 5) and Oak Brook (Sept. 6) Halfs on Labor Day weekend. The new marathon in Libertyville will get some people left out of Chicago and some limestone trail lovers who like to go long. It's all very interesting. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bear Down! Chicago Half Start Time Now 7 a.m.

This is the week for announcements of start time changes. First, there was the Xtreme 10, and now there is the Chicago Half Marathon on Sept. 12. The time has been moved from 7:30 to 7 to accommodate the city, which among other things that day, will be dealing with the Bears' opener at Soldier Field just up Lake Shore Drive at noon. Here is the official announcement:
The 2010 Chicago Half Marathon will start at 7:00 AM! This marks a change from the advertised time of 7:30 AM. The start time of the event was changed due to the Chicago Bears home opener also occurring on September 12, 2010.
The Chicago Half Marathon has worked in conjunction with the City of Chicago to make this change to lessen the impact of both large events occurring on the same day.
Please plan accordingly. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rizzo, Moody Rule Humid Rock 'N Roll Half

I'm betting it was way more humid on Sunday than it usually is in Colorado where Illinois natives Patrick Rizzo and Tera Moody do their training. Neither set a PR at the Rock 'N Roll Chicago Half Marathon, but both had enough in their tanks to win this huge mid-summer race. As was the pattern for just about everyone, splits were faster early, even for the elites. Rizzo won in 1:06:19, a 5:04 pace, but went through the first 5K at 4:58 pace before settling down. Moody's pattern was similar. She was at 5:31 pace through the 5K and finished in 1:13:36 (5:37 pace). On the men's side, second place went to Daniel Jackson of Michigan in 1:07:12, and third went to Justin Grunewald of Minnesota in 1:07:52. Runner-up woman was Flora Docherty of Colorado in 1:14:45, and third was taken by Jessica Graf of Michigan in 1:19:36. As of now, there were 18,555 finishers, including Today Show weatherman Al Roker. As for the rest of us, it was deceptively tough. The temperature was tolerable, but the humidity was high. You had to moderate your pace or pay the price.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ware Wins Run for Gus 5K

At least I think Chad Ware, 25, of Deerfield, was the winner of the Run for Gus 5K in Chicago Thursday night. I'm sure it will be corrected, but at the moment, a woman named Rachel Klein , 29, of Chicago, is listed as first overall with a 14:52.1. Assuming Ware won in 15:15.7, Lars Juhl, 33, of Chicago, was second in 15:34.0, and John Hauser, 28, of Columbia, MO, was third in 16:29.2. Second woman (but probably first) was Katie Hauser, 28, of Columbia, MO, in 18:21.9, and third (maybe second) was Kayla Beattie, 17, of Woodstock, in 19:20.7.

Mull, Shemyakina Win Viking Sunset 5K

Brandon Mull of Wheaton won the Viking Sunset 5K in Geneva Wednesday night with a 15:19.80. Mull (20-24), who placed fourth in the 2008 Division III NCAA cross-country championships for Wheaton College, won by just under eight seconds as Emisael Favela of Cicero (30-34) took second in 15:26.52. Mark Phillips (15-19) of Wheaton placed third in 15:37.38. Elena Shemyakina (50-54)of Geneva was the women's winner in 19:52.43. Second went to Jordana Lesavage (15-19) of Streamwood in 20:32.12. Michelle Plummer-Legge (30-34) of Gilberts was third in 20:33.88. There were 523 total finishers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Verzbicas Cruises at Run for Hunger 5K

Lukas Verzbicas, the amazing runner at Sandburg High School in Orland Park, had a nice race on Sunday at the Run for Hunger 5K in Elmhurst. He blew away the field with a 15:45.48, but Lukas, 17, isn't focused on running right now. At this point in 2010, he is totally committed to triathlon training. He told me he is deep in workouts with full complements of swimming and cycling along with Level "A" running. He added he was not tapered, peaking or anything like that. It simply was a "training" race with fellow members of the Multisport Madness Triathlon Club. That's Lukas posing in front of the start line on Sunday near the Yorkfield Presbyterian Church where the Run for Hunger is based. Second male was Micael Carrera, 18, of Northlake, who ran a 16:40.79, while third went to Mark Sulkin, 21, of Elmhurst, in 16:52.38. It was a sweep for the far west suburbs on the women's side. Kelly Whitley, 17, of Geneva, won in a strong 17:36.87. Jenn Howland, 16, of Elburn, was second in 19:28.15, and Jen Clay, 17, of South Elgin, was third in 20:10.17. All three are members of the Multisport Madness club. There were 303 total finishers in this event that helps local food pantries.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Xtreme10 Called Off

With several inches of rain and heavy flooding, race director John Gervase regretfully has called off this morning's Sam's Club Waterfall Glen Extreme 10. An e-mail from the race will go out later with a possible new date. There is still thunder and lightning out there with a ton of rain as I write this. A few hours later, race official Meghan Kennihan said rescheduling is under consideration. That will require talks with the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. Nothing is for sure right now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Connelly, Braswell Best at Women's Fest

Sticky summer weather was no problem for Margaret Connelly and Erica Braswell on Sunday (July 18) as they won the 10K and 5K respectively at the Fleet Feet Sports Women's Festival races along the lakefront. Connelly, 18, of Western Springs, won the 10K in 37:16, well ahead of Christina Overbeck, 24, of Chicago, who placed second in 37:44. There was international flair in the bronze position as Simonetta Magnani of Parma, Italy notched third with a 38:52. There were 1,471 finishers in the 10K. In the 5K, Braswell, 29, of Birmingham, AL, also won comfortably, clocking 17:31 to 17:57 for runner-up Heather Prekop, 28, of Chicago. Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, a regular on the CARA Runner's Choice Circuit as well as other top-tier races such as this one, finished third in 18:14. The 5K had 1,055 finishers.

Elmhurst's Kern Has Sweet Homecoming in Buffalo

Maters runner and coach extraordinaire Charlie Kern went back to his hometown of Buffalo last Friday (July 15) and came back to Elmhurst with the masters championship at the Subaru 4 Mile Chase, an extremely competitive race loaded with Ethiopians and Kenyans. Kern, 41, told me he keyed off of Canadian master Steve Boyd through the first 1.5 miles and then started moving up. He came up on Kenyans Joseph Ekuom (New Paltz, NY) and Gideon Mutisva (Eufaula, AL) late and took down both of them in the late stages of the race. As it turns out, both of the Kenyans that Charlie passed were masters runners, so it was quite a finish for Kern, a nine-time state champion at Sweet Home High School in the Buffalo area. Kern was first masters finisher, placing 12th overall, in 20:35. Ekuom was next (13th) in 20:25, followed by Mutisva (14th) in 20:42 and Boyd (15th) from Kingston, ON, in 20:45. That was quite a quartet of masters that finished well up the ladder in a world-class field that had 1,011 finishers in all. Hats off to Charlie for another job well-done.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brady, Marinangeli Win 4 on the 3rd (Updated with Quotes)

Kyle Brady of Wheaton (in photo near 2.05-mile turnaround at right against Christian Escareno at left) won the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 3rd race on Saturday, July 3. Brady, 21, a recent graduate of Division III power North Central College, broke away from Christian Escareno of Mount Prospect with just under a mile to go to win the 4-mile race handily in 19:30.
"My goal going into the race was to compete well and do the best that I could," Brady said. "I'm in the middle of training for the Chicago Marathon right now and off of some pretty big mileage weeks so I know my legs aren't completely under me or sharp by any means right now. I just wanted to run hard and see what happens.
"I knew that he's (Escareno) a pretty good runner and we've raced a few times in the past. I try not to worry about anyone else in the race or anything that I can't control. I was just going to run my race and see what everyone else did. It was good he was there because it gave me someone to compete with for over 3 miles.
"I think I did have a shot at the course record (19:07) but it was a very fast time. I had no clue to expect with my legs seeing that I haven't done anything fast so far this year and was just hoping to run well."
Jean Marinangeli, 26, of Arlington Heights (photo) conquered a strong women's field to win in 22:13. "I went out at a 5K effort with the goal to hang on as long as I could to the pace," Marinangeli said. "At the turnaround, seeing everyone, especially my Fast Track teammates, helped carry me through the 5K. The end was just hanging on and feeding off of the spectators." Escareno, 22, made one last push for the lead at the underpass downhill on Mile 3, but Brady wouldn't budge and took control with about eight-tenths of a mile to go. Escareno finished in 19:43 with Matt Blume, 28, of Chicago, taking third in 19:50. Amanda Domich, 25, of Crystal Lake, was second woman in 22:54, and Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, was third in 23:40. The CARA Runners Choice Circuit race had 737 finishers.

Music Set for Rock N Roll Half

(Press release)
On Saturday, August 1, 2010, more than 25,000 runners, walkers and spectators will celebrate the second annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon benefiting the American Cancer Society, to the sounds of Five for Fighting. The postrace concert will take place at the finish line festival at Grant Park, directly after the race.
For years, John Ondrasik , of Five for Fighing, has been making a name for himself as an evocative and emotional storyteller. With hits like “100 years” and “Superman,” Five for Fighting connects with audiences unlike many other acts of this generation.
The name Five for Fighting comes from the term used for the five minute penalty for fighting in hockey,”I’ve always appreciated the grace and toughness of hockey. It’s one of the few occupations as bruising as the music business”, said Ondrasik, in the aftermath of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Victory.
The post-race concert at the finish line will feature an opening act, Hello Dave , taking the stage from 7:30 am - 9:45 am. Awards will be handed out at 10:00 am followed by Five for Fighting, who will play from 10:30 am until noon. The post-race concert is free and open to the public.
Even though the race has sold out, limited entries are still available through the event’s charity partner, the American Cancer Society.
By joining the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation program, runners and walkers can dedicate their training and participation in the event to the fight against cancer. Members of the DetermiNation endurance program receive special benefits leading up to and the day of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, including free team training, elite race-weekend VIP amenities, invitations to exclusive social events and online tools needed to make achieving fundraising goals easy and fun.
“We are thrilled the event was such a success in its inaugural year that even more runners registered even earlier this year,” said Elizabeth O’Brien, Event Director. “For runners still looking for a way into this year's field, a limited number of entries remain available through the American Cancer Society, our official charity.”
”DetermiNation runners and walkers who participate in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon will not only benefit from a great training and team-building program, they also will be helping to raise critically needed funds so that the American Cancer Society can continue to expand cancer research and support those facing cancer,” said American Cancer Society DetermiNation Co-Chair Ed Dragomer.
For more information about the event, along with a full biography and photos for Five for Fighting, please visit For more information about how to join the growing DetermiNation team, please call 312-279-7243 or visit

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Plenty of Haste at Race to Taste

The annual Humana Race to Taste 5K downtown had 1,358 finishers on Sunday, with John Taylor, 37, of New Lenox, leading the way with a 16:30. Rich Heffron, 27, of Chicago, was second in 16:43, and Bob Mathews, 43, of Chicago, shwoing his strength as a masters runner, garnered third in 16:45. Well-known Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, was the women's champion in 18:13. Shannon Phelan, 22, of Champaign, took second in 18:20, and Maria Cicero, 27, of Elmhurst, grabbed third in 18:51. Nice running on a muggy day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Byrdsong Race Against Hate a Winner

The annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate 5K and 10K in Evanston was another resounding success on June 20. The race, named for the former Northwestern basketball coach, promotes cultural harmony and understanding, both of which we need more of in this complicated world. In the 10K, Emisael Favela, 33, of Cicero, won in 33:17. Second went to Michel Jacques, 27, in 34:52, and third went to Elpido Vilchez, 39, of Chicago, in 35:49. April Likhite, 38, won the women's division in 38:24. Next was Olivia Aranda, 30, of Rockford, in 39:15, and third was taken by Colleen Baker, 19, of Evanston, in 40:31. The 5K was also fast with Jordan Horwitz, 24, of Evanston, taking honors with a 15:15. Christian Escareno, 21, of Mount Prospect, was second in 15:25, Matthew Marol, 19, of Evanston, was third in 15:26, and Ryan Giuliano, 25, of Schamburg, was fourth in 15:34. That's a tough top four. On the women's side, Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, was first in 18:21. Second went to Jacqui Aubert, 24, of Crystal Lake, in 18:49, and third went to Erika Vazuez (that's how it's spelled in the results), 30, in 19:06. There were 676 finishers in the 10K and 1,294 in the 5K.

Jammin' at the Jim Gibbons 5K

It was the night of June 17, and in Chicago, Jeff Jonaitis, 29, of Tinley Park, continued his local spark, easily winning the Jim Gibbons Traffic Jam 5K, held in honor of former Channel 7 newsman Jim Gibbons. Jonaitis won in 15:39, easily beating runner-up Neal Klein, 20, who ran a 16:09, and third-place finisher Mike Hesslan, who ran a 16:52. Christina Overbeck, 24, of Chicago, well-known in local racing circles, was the women's winner in 18:07. Second woman was Elizabeth Bilitz, 24, in 19:52, and third went to Stephanie Wagner, 36, of Lombard, one of my Elmhurst Running Club teammates, in 20:00. A lot of familiar names are in the results, including Channel 7's John Garcia, who was third in his age group with a 19:52. Way to go, John!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back in Town, Next Up: 4 on the 3rd

Sorry I've been absent. We were at a wedding in Northfield, MN, and just got back in town. I'm going 24/7 as co-director of the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 3rd race, but I'll get caught up soon. We did take our bikes along and got in a couple of nice rides up north. It looks as if some great races were run in the Chicago area over the past few days. Stay tuned. I'll be updating soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CARA Update -- Not Much New

CARA is searching for a new executive director as mentioned in the previous post. I'm not sure if the Board wants to keep going in the same direction or perhaps make a shift. These are interesting times. That's for sure. Not much new, but thought I would check in. I personally think we need a central running organization and a Circuit like the one we have. What do you think?

Monday, June 14, 2010

CARA's Executive Director Resigns

Chicago Area Runners Association executive director Valerie Bush has resigned. I have very little information other than she is gone. Bill Fitzgerald has been named Interim Executive Director and Kim Mueller is Assistant Interim Director. With Fitzgerald at the helm as marathon training kicks off and the Runners' Choice Circuit kicks into high gear, CARA will be in good hands as it searches for a permanent replacement.

North Shore Half to Austin, Marx

The newly-designed North Shore Half-Marathon, with start and finish in downtown Higland Park, went off well in the high humidity Sunday morning with Patrick Austin, 22, of Yorkville, taking home the overall championship in 1:13:35. Michele Marx, 37, of Lake Forest, was the women's winner in 1:29:03. Second and third men were Brice Young, 25, of Waukegan, in 1:16:56, and Ben Worcester, 21, of Chicago, in 1:17:21. Second and third in the women's standings were Allison Harris, 41, of Northbrook, in 1:29:40, and Cassie Baert, 24, of Batavia, in 1:29:58. In the 5K, Verdo Gregory, 31, of Chicago, won in 16:24. Julie Wiemerslage, 17, of Gurnee was the women's champ in 20:58.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Downers Grove 10-miler to Sparks, West

The Downers Grove 10-miler, two laps on the hilly 5-mile course instead of one for the Circuit race, produced some nice running in humid, sweaty conditions on Sunday. The 10-miler, which is the original in this longstanding event, was won by Connor Sparks, 22, of Geneva, in 56:11. It was fairly close as Eric Hofman, 23, of Homewood came in second just 10 seconds back at 56:21. Third went to Jim Milner, 26, of Palatine, who was across the line in 56:43. Kristin West, 31, of Downers Grove, was the women's 10-mile winner in 1:08:47. Noriko Valentin, 49, if Indianhead Park, was second in 1:13:12, and Maureen Wilkey, 26, of Chicago, was third in 1:13:25. The results are a bit in need of fine-tuning at the moment, but it appears there were about 160 finishers, give or take a few. By request, here are the Downers Grove results:

Escarenos, Marinangeli Take Downers Grove 5M

Christian and Jesus Escareno of Mount Prospect went 1-2 in the men's division, and Jean Marinangeli of Arington Heights took the women's crown on Sunday in the 5-mile event at the 33rd annual Downers Grove 5&10 Mile races. The Fast Track Racing Club sweep was done on a humid morning in the west suburbs as Christian, 22, ran 26:48, and Jesus, 20, ran 27:31, Tim Hamlton, 24, of Grayslake, placed third in a competitive field with a 28:04. On the women's side, Marinangeli, 26, won in 28:57 to get a clear-cut win over runner-up Jessica Langford, 39, of Rockford, who clocked 29:51. Kate Deprosperis, 31, of Downers Grove, was third in 30:38. There were 269 finishers in the 5-mile, which is on the CARA Runner's Choice Circuit.