Monday, June 27, 2011

Giuliana, Poremba Win Race to Taste

Sorry for the late post. I've been tied up with the final details of putting on the Community bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. Among the many races this past weekend, the HumanaRace to Taste downtown stood out. Accolades go to the winners, who this year were Ryan Giuliano and Denise Poremba. Giuliano, 26, of Schaumburg, who has been doing triathlons, double races etc. etc., won in 15:52. He was followed by Derek Holland, 34, of Chicago, another well-known name on the local scene, who ran a 16:15. Nic Aubert, 23, of Crystal Lake, was third in 16:33. Poremba, 48, of Bridgeview, ran an 18:34. For now, I'll assume that's correct. That's a great time for a masters woman runner. Runner-up was Elizabeth Bilitz, 25, of Chicago, in 19:34, and third was taken by Stephanie Maisel, 29, of Chicago, in 20:06. There 1,149 finishers.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mosop Likes What He Sees in Chicago

Could he get into the 2:02s?
Kenya's Moses Mosop, the debut marathon record holder, announced this week he will run the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, aiming to improve upon his historic first marathon. Mosop's time of 2:03:06 at the 2011 Boston Marathon is the fastest marathon ever run by a first-timer and the second fastest marathon in history. After taking a course tour in Chicago with Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski, Mosop believes he can capitalize on Chicago's flat and fast route and energetic neighborhoods to run even faster in his second attempt at the marathon distance on October 9.

Mosop's Boston time broke the previous debut record of 2:05:50 set by Kenya's Evans Rutto at the 2003 Chicago Marathon. Mosop's performance ranks as the second-fastest marathon all-time behind fellow Kenyan and 2011 Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai's 2:03:02.

"I was very pleased with my performance at the Boston Marathon, especially since it was my first marathon. In my second marathon, I want to run even faster," said Mosop. "I feel that the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is where I have the best opportunity to do that. I like the course, I feel strong in my training and I am looking forward to coming back to Chicago for this great event."

Mosop recently set a new 30-kilometer world record at the Prefontaine Classic track meet in Eugene, OR., on June 3. His time of 1:26:47 was more than two minutes faster than the previous record set in 1981 by Japan's Toshihiko Seko, the 1986 Chicago Marathon champion. Prior to running his debut marathon, Mosop was a 2004 Olympian in the 10,000 meters. He won the bronze medal in the 10,000 at the 2005 World Track & Field Championships, and a silver medal at the 2007 World Cross Country Championships.

"Moses is one of the top runners in the world and his performance at the Boston Marathon this past April was truly amazing," said Pinkowski. "Moses is very athletic and I feel he can go even faster on our course. His track and cross country credentials are impressive and it is that blend of inherent speed and strength that has traditionally produced historic performances at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Familiar Face in Steeplechase

I was watching the 3,000-meter steeplechase preliminary heats Thursday night at the U.S. Track and Field Championships, and who was among those who moved on to the finals? It was none other than Derek Scott, the winner of the 2009 Community bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. When he came to Elmhurst and won the 4-miler produced by the Elmhurst Running Club, he set the current course record of 19:07. When I met him, I found him to be a perfect gentleman. Her had come up from Bloomington, IN, to run the 4-miler that takes place this year on July 4 ( In Thursday's steeplechase prelim, Scott ran an 8:41.02, giving him the 8th-best qualifying time of 14 who made the final. I now have someone to root for in the steeple final. Go, Derek, go!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Good Times at Race Against Hate

Saturday's Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate in Evanston brought out a great cross-section of runneers from throughout the Chicago area. Diversity in running, and in life, is much of what this event is all about.In the 5K, Emma Keenan, 23, was the female winner in 17:18. Next came Columbua Montes, 32, of Chicago, in 17:34; and third was taken by Briana Boehmer, 32, of Waukegan, in 18:09. The men's 5K was taken by Matthew Marol, 20, of Evanston, in 15:36. Ryan Karnes, 19, of Glencoe, was second in 16:36. He was followed by Michael Boehmer, 31, of Waukegan, in 17:02. The 10K female champion was April Likhite, 39, in 37:39. Runner-up was Natalie Fenn, 21, in 39:25; and third was taken by Elise Tropiano, 24, of Evanston, in 40:17. In the male 10K, Daniel Kittaka, 23, of Chicago, was overall winner in 34:30. Christopher Schmidt, 36, of Evanston garnered runner-up honors in 34:42; and Nathan Kennedy, 26, of Bolingbrook, took third in 35:17. There were 1,472 finishers in the 5K and 709 in the 10K. Nice job by everyone!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

North Shore Half -- Whole Lot of Quality

Sunday's North Shore Half Marathon had some big-NAME overall and masters finishers as well as in the individual age groups. Here are the top overall and masters finishers. It's great to see Jenny Spangler on the top masters rung. She is one of the giants in local racing lore. There were 2,518 finishers in the half and another 795 in the 5K.
Place Name No. S Ag Div City St Guntime Pace
1 BELAINESH GEBRE 2909 F 23 F2024 FLAGSTAFF AZ 1:14:52 5:43
2 ELIZABETH BOYLE 2585 F 23 F2024 ELMHURST IL 1:17:06 5:54
3 CAMILLE HERRON 2298 F 29 F2529 WEST LAFAYETTE IN 1:17:40 5:56
4 ERIN MOFFETT 1828 F 29 F2529 SEATTLE WA 1:18:22 5:59
5 EMMA KEENAN 2936 F 23 F2024 NILES IL 1:19:38 6:05

Place Name No. S Ag Div City St Chiptim Pace

1 JENNY SPANGLER 2082 F 47 F4549 LAKE VILLA IL 1:25:16 6:31
2 SANYA SYRSTAD 2784 F 45 F4549 GLEN ELLYN IL 1:25:52 6:34
3 ANN SCHAEFERS-COLES 2991 F 46 F4549 CARY IL 1:27:36 6:42

Place Name No. S Ag Div City St Guntime Pace

1 EZKYAS SISAY 1567 M 22 M2024 FLAGSTAFF AZ 1:03:58 4:53
2 MOSES WAWERU 1582 M 33 M3034 SUN PRAIRIE WI 1:04:05 4:54
3 BENSON CHERUIYOT 1581 M 28 M2529 CRYSTAL LAKE IL 1:04:21 4:55
4 DANIEL KIRWA 2393 M 24 M2024 SEARCY AR 1:04:46 4:57
5 MARK FRUIN 2068 M 25 M2529 ELMHURST IL 1:06:55 5:07

Place Name No. S Ag Div City St Chiptim Pace
1 TED BOWLES 2844 M 42 M4044 BARTLETT IL 1:15:47 5:48
2 MATTHEW ABBOTT 2064 M 43 M4044 ARLINGTON HEIGH IL 1:17:17 5:54
3 ROB CHENOWETH 2816 M 42 M4044 CHICAGO IL 1:17:33 5:56

LaGrange Rocks Draws Strong Field

Friday night's LaGrange Rocks for Youth 5K had some tough runners tucked in the field as 599 crossed the line. Winning overall was Emisael Favela, 34, of Cicero, in a very solid 15:39.4. He was followed by Dave Wilson, 42, of Brookfield, who mastered the course in 16:04.5. Jeff Bailey, 26, of Evanston, was third in 16:13.3, and Kevin Keegan, 25, of Chicago, was fourth in 16:23.8. Jacqui Giuliano, 25, of Schaumburg, was first woman in 17:58.3. Cecelia Dietzen, 29, of Lombard, was second in 18:34.1; Liz Driscoll, 24, of Lagrange Park, was third in 18:38.1; and Katlyn Bednarski, 23, of Des Plaines, was fourth in 18:40.3. This race also was sprinkled with some strong performances throughout the age-group results. Nice job!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sub-4 Lukas V. Joins Elite Historical ranks.

What a day for Lukas Verzbicas in New York today. He ran a 3:59.71!
This story is written by Bill Carey of

NEW YORK -- Lukas Verzbicas sat alone at a table checking his phone, still smiling 30 minutes after he closed out what might be the best high school distance running career ever with a 3:59.71 mile at the adidas Jim Ryun High School Dream Mile at Icahn Stadium in New York City.

The 18-year-old recent graduate of Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ill., was already in rarefied air before he became just the fifth U.S. high school runner to ever break four minutes on Saturday. He won five national championships between December and March, and last weekend, he shattered the national high school outdoor two-mile record by five seconds when he ran 8:29.46 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore. But even for Verzbicas, the sub-4 showing was "unreal."

"For me, this is the most impressive win," he said, "just because it was so difficult and because of the conditions. It was just so hard to do. The fact that I did it made me really proud of that."

He vowed to break four minutes in the mile before he graduated high school, but his splits were slow enough halfway through the Dream Mile that he momentarily stopped thinking about his goal. The 6-foot, 135-pound runner had the cool temperatures he wanted, but the wind coming down the homestretch made his task more difficult, and the 2:02 split for the first half mile was not what he planned.

He expected to take the lead from the pacer, but he hit a snag there, too, as California state champion Jantzen Oshier kept a small advantage. Verzbicas didn't move ahead for good until about 700 meters to go. He put a small gap on the field, but New Jersey's Edward Cheserek, Indiana's Austin Mudd and California's Elias Geydon kept within reach. "I couldn't have done it without all those guys," Verzbicas said.

As he made the first turn of the final lap, Verzbicas flashed a small smile, but at that point, he was only concerned with winning the race. "I thought with around 600 to go that I'm not going to go for a time anymore," Verzbicas said. "I did not know until the last 50 meters. I was really hurting that last lap."

When he saw 3:52 on the clock halfway down the final stretch, he battled his way to the line with a quarter second to spare. Verzbicas said after winning last year's Dream Mile in 4:04 that he thought he planned to return to the meet and run sub-4. He told last month that if the conditions were right, "Why shouldn't it be possible?" But the reality of the feat was still more difficult than he expected.

"Until the race started, I thought this was going to be effortless and I was going to do it," he said. "But once the race got started, it was actually harder than I thought."

Verzbicas, who moved to the United States from Lithuania when he was 8, will now skip the outdoor national meets to prepare for the triathlon junior world championships in Beijing in September. He might even be a better triathlete than runner, having finished fourth at the world championships last year.

But he's in special company on the track. The race's namesake, Jim Ryun, accomplished the feat in 1964 to become the first high school runner to break the four-minute mark. He was on site for the race, and he congratulated Verzbicas afterward. "When it came time to push that last 600, he did," Ryun said of Verzbicas' showing. "With a 100 meters to go, I thought he had a very good chance for it. He made the race in the middle when you had to go with 600 yards and start pushing. I'm just very excited for Lukas."

Two other runners, Tim Danielson in 1966 and Marty Liquori in 1967, went sub-4, but 34 years passed without another runner beating the mark. In 2001, Alan Webb broke four in January and set the high school record of 3:53.43 at the Prefontaine Classic.
Read more:
1 VERZBICAS Lukas USA 3:59.71 PB
2 MUDD Austin USA 4:01.83
3 GEDYON Elias USA 4:02.08 PB
4 CHESEREK Edward KEN 4:03.29
5 OSHIER Jantzen USA 4:06.51 PB
6 CARPOWICH Matt USA 4:07.42
7 BURCHAM Jacob USA 4:07.66 PB
8 ROSA Joe USA 4:07.66 PB
9 MOUSSA Ammar USA 4:08.05 PB
10 EVERETT Daniel USA 4:08.14
11 KADDURAH Omar USA 4:09.52
12 WILLIAMS Blake USA 4:10.01 PB
13 ROSA Jim USA 4:11.11
14 ORMAN Billy USA 4:11.68

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beattie, Verzbicas in Dream Miles Saturday

Kayla Beattie of Woodstock and Lukas Verzbicas of Sandburg are in stellar fields announced today for the High School Dream Miles at the adidas Grand Prix meet in New York on Saturday. The meet begins at noon, Central Time. Check out these fields:

Girls' Dream Mile
Kayla Beattie Woodstock IL
#2 in nation at 3200m
Alli Billmeyer San Diego CA
Won adidas Meet of Champions; #4 in nation 1600m
Lindsay Crevoiserat Glastonbury CT
#2 in nation in the mile
Cami Chapus Los Angeles CA
#2 in nation at 1600m
Kat Delaney San Juan Capistrano CA
#3 in nation at 1600m
Wesley Frazier Ravenscroft NC
#9 in nation at 1600
Eleanor Fulton Highlands Ranch CO
2009 World Youth Championships, 6th in steeplechase
Shelby Houlihan Sioux City IA
#5 in nation at 1500m
Molly McNamara Red Bank NJ
# 6 in nation at 1600m
Maddie Meyers Seattle WA
4:41.93 win in 2010 race here fastest of year in U.S.
Amy-Eloise Neale Snohomish WA
#1 in nation in the mile (4:48.01); #4 1500m, 3200m
Angel Piccirillo Homer City PA
#3 in nation in the mile; Penn Relays winner
Haley Pierce Wilmington DE
#1 in nation at 3000m (9:16.35); #3 at 1600m
Ajee Wilson Neptune NJ
#2 in nation at 800m (2:05.25)

Boys' Dream Mile
Jacob Burcham Ona WV
#6 in nation 1500m; #6 in mile
Matt Carpowich Torrey Pines CA
#2 in nation in mile
Edward Cheserek Newark NJ
#1 in 5K (14:02.33); NJISAA prep champ 1600m, 3200m
Daniel Everett St. Louis MO
2011 Kansas Relays Champion 1600m
Elias Gedyon Los Angeles CA
2010 CA champion 1600m; #3 in nation 1600m, 3200m
Omar Kaddurah Grand Blanc MI
#1 in nation 1500m (3:47.61)
Ammar Moussa Arcadia CA
#2 in nation 3200m; #3 in mile
Austin Mudd Greenwood IN
#1 in nation 800m (1:49.25); #2 1600m
Billy Orman Tuba City AZ
#1 in nation 3200m (8:48.63); #4 1600m
Jantzen Oshier Mission Viejo CA
#1 in nation in mile (4:06.81) and 1600m (4:00.83)
Jim Rosa Plainsboro NJ
3rd here last year in #3 time in nation for 2010
Joe Rosa Plainsboro NJ
2010 2-mile National Champion outdoors
Lukas Verzbicas Orland Park IL
Defending champ; Nat'l HS Record-holder 2 mi, 5000m(i)
Blake Williams Durham NC
#3 in nation 1500m; winner Golden South Classic

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ragnar Relay Draws 362 Teams

Formerly the MC 200 from Madison to Chicago, Ragnar has taken over this popular relay that takes teams of 12 or 6 runners from downtown Madison, WI, across Wisconsin to Milwaukee and then south to Montrose Harbor on Chicago's North Side. A record 362 teams are entered, and the weather appears to look good right now with cool temps and rain holding off. I am on Fossil Velocity, the team in orange shorts that is made up of runners 50 or older exclusively. Our lineup is different every year, but we have a similar and simple mission every time: run fast and have fun. We'll try our best. That's for sure! I've got my headlamp, reflective vest and blinkie lights all packed and ready to go. Good luck to all of the other teams. We'll see you on the trail.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

13.1 . . . A Tough and Sad Day

I've hesitated to write about the 13.1 Half Marathon on Saturday. I wasn't there and have not had contact with any race officials. What I do know is what I've heard. The race was stopped around the two-hour mark, maybe before, because of the oppressive heat. From what I have been told a 22-year-old runner died and 10 other people were taken to the hospital. It seems to me they made the correct call by halting it. You can find results by clicking on the Chicago Athlete results at the right.

Escareno, Beattie Top Tough Fields at Roselle 5K

Christian Escareno ran a 15:41.0 and led a parade of six runners under 16 minutes (photo), and Kayla Beattie fresh off her sensational high school season, blew away the women's field with a 16:29.3 on Sunday at the Sternberg Lighting Run for the Roses 5K in Roselle. The CARA Runners Choice Circuit race was deep in talent as 764 people crossed the finish line, up from 603 a year ago. Escareno, 23, of Mount Prospect, was followed closely by his brother Jesus, 21, who ran 15:44.2. Mac McCulley, 26, of Volo, was third in 15:46; Matthew Thor, 24, of Arlington Heights, was fourth in 15:50; David Wilson, 42 (top master), of Brookfield, was fifth in 15:52.5 and Michael Cauley, 30, of Bloomingdale, was sixth in 15:59. Several more great runners finished just over 16 minutes. It was quite a sight as the lead pack turned the final corner. Meanwhile, Beattie, 18, of Woodstock, who set state records in the 1,600 and 3,200 at the state 2A championships last month running for Woodstock HS, was well ahead of respected masters runner and overall runner-up Jessica Langford, 40, of Rockford, who ran a 17:46.5. Third place was taken by Shannon Javaras, 36, of Palos Park, in 18:16.2. A lot of sterling performances were turned in in many of the age groups as the big names came out on a good day to run. I was nursing my calf from a slight injury last week and enjoyed watching the show.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Verzbicas Sets National HS Mark at Pre 2-Mile

Lukas Verzbicas was in a very loaded field at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR, on Saturday, but it was his chance to shine and he didn't waste it. While Bernard Lagat won a splendidly strategic race with a magnificent kick in 8:13.62, Verzbicas, 18, a recent graduate of Sandburg High School in Orland Park, ran his own race, hanging onto the back of the pack for a few laps, but never falling off the radar screen as the leaders pulled away. In the end, Lukas ran an 8:29.46, setting an American high school record by almost five seconds. Lagat made it a point to shake Lukas's hand after he crossed the line. That was a real class act. The previous 2-mile record was Californian German Fernandez’s 8:34.40, set in 2008. Before that, it was a 8:36.3, run in 1979 by Jeff Nelson of Burbank, CA. Gerry Lindgren, one of the greats during my high school days, ran an 8:40 in Spokane, WA, back in 1964. Just to clear it up, the 2-mile is not the same distance as the 3,200 meters. It is slightly longer.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Prefontaine 2-Mile Next for Verzbicas

Used to being at or near the front, Lukas Verzbicas could be at the back hanging on this Saturday when he runs in a world-class 2-mile race at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR. The University of Oregon-bound Verzbicas, 18, of Orland Park (Sandburg HS), is slower on paper than anyone else in the race. Still, it will be fun to see what he can do. There is a pretty good chat going on about this on the web site. The meet organizers also have added three new Friday night events to spice up the weekend. They are a women's 5,000, men's 25,000-30,000 combined race and a men's 10,000. There could be some changing of races as some 2-miler opt for one of the new races and visa-versa. The last Illinois star I remember running in the Pre Classic was Don Sage of York. It's been a while. Lukas, if you happen to see this, feel free to give us your mind-set going into this high-profile 2-mile race on Saturday, and why you aren't running the mile. Lukas, are you there??
Here's the incredible field for our local high school phenom!

2 Mile

BETT David Kiprotich KEN
FARAH Mohammed GBR
HASS Stephen USA
KIPTOO Mark Kosgei KEN
KOECH Isaiah Kiplangat KEN
MCNAMARA Jordan USA (pacer)
RUPP Galen USA (switching to 10,000)
SOI EdwinCheruiyot KEN

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fully-Loaded Weekend On Tap

The running race schedule is busy again this weekend. I knew we couldn't go more than a week or two without more half-marathons! This Saturday, it's 13.1 Chicago and the Sunburst Half in South Bend, IN. Other great runs include the Cosley Zoo Run in Wheaton on Saturday and the Run for the Zoo (Lincoln Park) on Sunday. The Roselle 5K, a CARA Runners Choice Circuit race, is on Sunday. Those are the highlights. There are a bunch of other runs and training programs as well. What's your favorite June race? Good luck whether you're training, racing or just plain taking it easy! I'm gearing up for the Ragnar Madison-Chicago 200-mile relay late next week.