Friday, April 29, 2011

Illinois Marathon -- Good Luck

Runners are set for the IM in Urbana and Champaign. Thousands have waited for this day. The 5K on Saturday was taken by Mike Ptack, 25, of Elnhurst, in 15:32, and Alysha Bartosh, 30, of Corapolis, PA, in 20:05. Good luck to everyone running Sunday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Entries Open for Ravenswood Run 5K

The Ravenswood Run 5K on the north side of Chicago is one fine race. If you want to run a fast course for a good cause, give it a try. Race time is this Sunday at 8 a.m. at 4550 N. Hermitage (at Wilson). The 15th annual Ravenswood race is one of the best races not included on the CARA Runners Choice Circuit. Proceeds help fund the Ravenswood Community Services Food Pantry as well as the student health centers at lake View and Amundsen High Schools. For information, go to Entry is $35. It is for a good cause. I have done this race a few times and can tell you everything is done well. I can't make it this year because of other commitments, but still recommend it.

First Midwest Half is Full

No doubt this is old news to CARA Runners Choice Circuit and other long-distance lovers, but the First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon on Sunday in Palos Heights is filled up. Race director Mel Diab has a full house of 2,000 coming to the fourth annual race that is on the Circuit for the first time. With good prize money, there will be a strong regional feel to the lead pack. Here is the prize money structure:
Male and Female Top 5 Finishers: 1st Prize - $1,000, 2nd Prize - $800, 3rd Prize - $700, 4th Prize - $600, 5th Prize - $500
Master 40 and Over Male and Female: 1st Prize - $500, 2nd Prize - $250, 3rd Prize - $100
Veterans 50 and Over Male and Female: 1st Prize - $250, 2nd Prize - $100, 3rd Prize - $75
That is great money for a local race in tight financial times. But the prize money is the tip of the iceberg. All I have heard is this is a great race. I will not be there due to other commitments, but have it on my list for 2012. Location is Route 83 and 76th Avenue in Paolos Heights. Good luck to everyone who got registered.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grete The Great

No doubt, you've read this week of the tragic passing of Grete Waitz of Norway, one of the great marathon runners of all time. Being the age that I am, Grete was one of the many special athletes who forged new horizons for all of us back in the 1970s and '80s. You'll never again see someone win the New York City Marathon nine times, and do it with a smile and humility. Down in my basement is a picture of Grete I had autographed back in the day. I will treasure it more than ever now. Some of you might remember that Grete once appeared at the now-defunct Motorola Half-Marathon in Schaumburg. The one thing she said then that I have never forgotten is "listen to your body." How right she was. Only you know exactly what hurts and what doesn't; all training programs do not fit all, etc. etc. She was a beautiful human being. She was a highlight-reel runner. She will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wiley, Marinangeli Illinois' Fastest at Boston

Robert Wiley, 35, of Gurnee, was fastst Illinois man with a 2:26:06, and Jean Marinangeli, 27, of Arlington Heights, was our top woman with a 2:54:24, on Monday at the 115th Boston Marathon. Running in what have been described to me as perfect conditions, Wiley placed 49th overall in a race in which the top two finishers eclipsed the existing world-best time. Marinangeli was 55th in a power-packed women's field. Our next four men were: Mac McCulley, 26, of Lindenhurst, 142nd overall in 2:34:34; Matthew Thor, 24, of Arlington Heights, 162nd overall in 2:36:50; Richard Heffron, 27, of Chicago, 210th overall in 2:39:42; and Kyle Monroe, 27, of downstate Carbondale, 223rd overall in 2:40:23. Our next four women were: Angelina Anliker, 30, of Chicago, 93rd in 2:58:35; Samantha Kirkham-Iteld, 35, of Hinsdale, 137th in 3:03:26; Jill Czarnik, 22, of Chicago, 149th in 3:04:33; and Heather Weis, 25, of Chicago, 166th in 3:05:51. Three other notable finishes were turned in by Doris Schertz, 72, of Lombard, who defended her title in the W70-74 group with a 4:28:23; Dave Walters, 55, of Lisle, who flew to third in the M55-59 group with a 2:52:12; Ann Schaefers-Coles of Cary, who was fifth in F45-49; Pedro Galva , who was seventh in M65-69 and Nancy Rollins, 64, of Evanston, who came in eighth in W60-64 with a 3:40:35. In the wheelchair division, Adam Bleakney, 35, of Champaign, was sixth in 1:26:03; Aaron Pike, 24,of Champaign, was eighth in 1:29:52; and Ryan Chalmers, 22, of Champaign, was ninth in 1:31:48. Finally, congratulations to Mark Buciak, 50, of Chicago, who completed his 32nd consecutive Boston Marathon in 3:58. Way to go, Illinois runners and rollers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Verzbicas ALMOST Wins Boston Elite Mile

Lukas Verzbicas, 18, of Orland Hills, took second in the field of five on Sunday at the Boston Marathon Elite Mile, a three-lap run near the Boston Marathon finish line with lots of sharp turns. The high school phenom (Sandburg), who is skipping the Illinois high school season so he can run in big national and regional races such as this one, ran a 4:16.8, finishing just behind Andrew Baddeley, 28, of Great Britain, who won in 4:16.7. Craig Miller 23, of Madison, WI, was third in 4:17.4, Kyle Miller, 25, of Austin, TX, was fourth in 4:17.6; and Brian Gagnon, 23, of Hanover, NH, was fifth in 4:24.3.

Lakefront 10 Effect: Cold, Wet and Fun

Sorry I'm late. I've been in Internet purgatory, unable to post anything. Let's go back to Saturday at the Lakefront 10. It was cold and rainy, just as predicted. The puddles and wind added to the blend that kept everyone focused on running . . . and finishing! I personally felt pretty good for about 6.5 miles. Then I seemed to succumb to the weather a bit, but pulled it together at the end to finish smiling. There were 1,261 hearty souls out there with me as we braved the April elements. Leading the way was Chad Ware, 26, of Deerfield, who posted a 52:00.2, winning comfortably over runner-up Jesse Kleinjan, 27, of Chicago, who finished in 52:55.9. Third went to steady and reliable Emisael Favela, 34, of Berwyn, in 54:45.7; fourth went to former CARA Runner of the Year Dave Wilson, 42, of Brookfield, in 56:07.4; and fifth went to Mike Begich Jr., 28, of Naperville, in 56:39.8. Women's champion was Erin Moffett, 29, of Chicago, in 1:00:03.7. Columba Montes, 31, of Chicago, was second in 1:00:29.0. Heather Prekop, 29, of Chicago, was third in 1:00:39.2; Christina Overbeck, 25, of Chicago, was fourth in 1:00:54.8; and Blossom Marimpietri, 25, of Downers Grove, in 1:04:38.6. I have to say CARA pulled off a great race under very difficult conditions. Needless to say, with the race on the Runners' Choice Circuit, the field was loaded.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lakefront 10 Forecast: Wet

The Saturday morning forecast looks cool and wet for runners doing the Lakefront 10 and other big races in the area. The big challenge for the LF10 is what to wear. Just as the Shamrock Shuffle presented some unusual conditions when it got hot last Sunday, it looks like some preparations are in order (maybe hats, gloves etc.) for this CARA Runner's Choice Series race on the north lakefront. I can take temps in the 40s. I can take the rain. I can take the puddles. I just hope the wind dies down. Hope everyone racing tomorrow has a good one.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

River to River Relay -- Southern Exposure

Southern Illinois is hilly, woodsy and rural, aesthetic qualities a lot of runners from northern Illinois don't see on a regular basis. This weekend, rain or shine, 250 teams of eight runners, a good share from the Chicago area, will compete in the River to River Relay. For those of you not familiar with this famed event, runners go 80 miles from the Mississippi River across "Little Egypt" to the Ohio River.
A few showers are predicted with temps ranging from the mid-40s to low-50s on Saturday for this annual event about 350 miles south of Chicago. The stories I hear every year from people who do this relay make me want to do it, but so far, I haven't. I am, however, a member of "The Fossils," who annually do the Madison-Chicago 200-mile relay in June. At any rate, good luck to everyone doing River to River!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Boston Countdown Is On

For those who qualified and managed to get registered for the 115th Boston Marathon, this is a great week of tapering, resting and anticipating for one of the great experiences available in running. I won't be there this year, but will be following many of you via the Internet. I hope the weather cooperates on Monday and some nice times in good conditions are recorded by the 1,011 people who are registered from Illinois. Good luck to all the Boston runners on Patriots Day! This just in: Lukas Verzbicas wil be running in the Elite Mile on Sunday in Boston. He is the slowest runner in the field. It will be interesting to see how he does! Well-known running guru Bud James predicts on Facebook that Verzbicas will run a 4:01.41. We'll hold you to it, Bud! By the way, Bud predicted the winning time of the Shamrock Shuffle would be 22:39. It was 22:38.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Old Fly Young!

So often we (me included) focus on the young, fast runners. Too often we ignore the other end of the spectrum. Yesterday, in very warm (high 70s) and humid conditions with little or no time for bodies to adjust from the cool days leading up to the race, two stalwarts from the Men's 85-89 age group and one from Women's 85-89 started and finished the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle. When you saw 20-year-olds having trouble out there, it added to the perspective. These three are tough. Here's a salute to Robert Taylor, 86, of Oak Park, who ran a 1:12:28, and Frank Waldeck, 88, of Lake Forest, who wasn't far behind in 1:16:1. On the women's side, it was Dottie Gray, 85, of St. Louis, who posted a 1:17:16.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bairu, Verzbicas; Yoder, Marinangeli 1-2 at Shamrock

Canadian 10,000-meter record holder Simon Bairu and local high school phenom Lukas Verzbicas went 1-2 in a warm and humid Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K on Sunday. Bairui made a move around 3.5 miles to secure the win. He won it in 23:38 to a 23:55 by Verzbicas, who attends Sandburg High School in Orland Park. Amy Yoder Begley, a U.S. Olympian, won the women's race handily in 26:50. Local standout Jean Marinangeli of Schaumburg was second in 28:11. It was very warm out there. I pitched my singlet at about 2.2 miles (picked it up later) and just tried to keep an even pace without going overboard. I held a pace just over 7 minutes, which included a couple of stops for water, and I was pleased with that considering how warm it was. One thing we all noticed was the medical tent was very busy. Heat was taking its toll of runners in the registered field of 40,000. Men's 60-64 and women's 50-54 age group results have been adjusted. Kudos to the race organizers! Here are top five men, women:
1. Simon Bairu, Portland, OR, 23:38
2. Lukas Verzbicas, Orland Hills, IL, 23:55
3. Kyle Brady, Naperville, IL, 24:07
4. Andrew Baker, Indianapolis, IN, 24:10
5. Tyler Sigl, Green Bay, WI, 24:14

1. Amy Yoder Begley, Beaverton, OR, 26:50
2. Jean Marinangeli, Schaumburg, IL, 28:11
3. Erin Moeller, Mt Vernon, IA, 28:23
4. Jessica Monson, Powers Lake, WI, 28:25
5. Katie Fenstermaker, South Bend, IN, 28:38

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ware, Montes Win Race That's Good for Life 5K

The third time was definitely the charm on Sunday for Chad Ware. The 26-year-old from Deerfield (right in upper photo near 2-mile mark) said it was like getting a monkey off his back after his victory in the highly competitive Race That's Good for Life 5K in Oak Park that included racing the final straightaway into a strong headwind. Ware won in 14:50.8, soundly beating runner-up Jeff Jonaitis, 29, of Tinley Park (left in upper photo), who ran a 15:12.6. Last year, Jonaitis beat Ware to win the race by one second. Two years ago, Ware lost to Greg Costello for the championship by less than a second. Third this year went to Mike Ptack, 24, of Elmhurst, in 15:24.2; with Andrew Jellema, 24, of Lansing, taking fourth in 15:31.9; and Emisael Favela, 34, of Berwyn, grabbing fifth in 15:45.5. Columba Montes , 31, of Chicago, was the women's champion with a 17:40.3. Jacqui Aubert, 24, of Crystal Lake, was second in 18:04.1; Jessica Langford, 39, of Rockford, was third in 18:30.4; Suzanne Ryan, 36, of West Chicago, was fourth in 18:35.8; and Shannon Javaras, 36, of Palos Park, was fifth in 18:38.8. As usual, the Oak Park Runners Club put on a great race, which served as the opener on the prestigious CARA Runners Choice Circuit. The main events included 415 male finishers and 456 female finishers. The age groups were loaded with fast times and deep talent pools. It was a good day for racing. Photo: Jonathan Cain, Chicago Athlete.

Giuliano, Marinangeli Win Home Team 10K

The Home Team Charity 10K, sponsored by the Bulls, Hawks and White Sox on Sunday, took a field of 1,736 runners from a start line near the United Center on the West Side to a finish at U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side Sunday. Despite going head to head against the CARA Runner's Choice Circuit race in Oak Park, this new event drew a large crowd and some very fast runners. Ryan Giuliano, 26, and Jean Marinangeli, 27, made it a Schaumburg sweep as Ryan won in 32:22 and Jean commanded the women's field in 36:48. Marinangeli won the Oak Park race last year, but opted for the newbie this time. Rounding out the top five men were: Jesse Kleinjan, 27, of Chicago, in 33:14; Jeremy Ruston, 30, of St. Charles, in 34:08; Tyler Zwagerman, 26, of Chicago (last week's Chi-Town Half champ) in 34:12; and Matthew Thor, 24, of Arlington Heights, in 34:16. Rounding out the top five women were: Christina Overbeck, 25, of Chicago, in 37:13; Alissa Hunt, 27, of Chicago, in 39:36; Beth Chenoweth, 36, of Chicago in 39:36 (same time); and Cari Knapp, 27, of Chicago, in 39:48. It's good to see a new 10K on the local racing landscape. It's been a somewhat forgotten distance. It's too bad it was at the same time as the Oak Park race.