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).