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.