Monday, November 28, 2011

Huge Field, Fast Times at Naperville Turkey Trot

I haven't run the Naperville Noon Lions Turkey Trot 5K for several years, but I've run it and I can tell you it's a great race with a good course that is conducive to nice times. This year, the fuield was huge with 7,188 runners crossing the finish line. The top two broke 15 minutes, the next seven broke 16 minutes and the next eight broke 17 minutes! They were flying. The women's field was spectacular as well with the top three finishing within four seconds of each other. Leading the parade was Kyle Brady, 23, of Naperville, who won it in 14:53. That's 4:48 pace for you people keeping track of such things! Next came David McWilliams, 20, of Naperville, in 14:54. The seven who then came in under 16 minutes were: Mitch Gilbert, 19, of Naperville, in 15:01; Mike Spam, 22, of Naperville, in 15:05; Emisael Favela, 34, of Berwyn, in 15:10; Matt Field, 26, of Wheaton, also in 15:10; Ryan Giuliano 26, of Schaumburg, in 15:31; and Collin Fedor, 18, of Wheaton, in 15:35. Women's honors went to Jocelyn Petrella-Gall, 31, of Denver, CO, in 17:52. Second went to Amber Druien, 22, of Naperville, in17:55; and third was taken by Amanda Fox, 17, of Naperville, in 17:56. Fourth-place finisher Jacqui Aubert, 25, of Crystal Lake, also had a strong race with an 18:06. That is some running. The age-group results also are loaded with excellent performances on a great day to run and be thankful for what we can do when we put our minds to it!

Ware Leads Great Field at 3.14 Pie Run (5K-Plus)

Sorry for the delayed post. I have been in Wisconsin, away from reliable Internet. I did run a great turkey trot 5-miler in Green Bay, but that's for another time. The first annual 3.14 Pie Run in LaGrange, put on by The Runner's Soul, was a smash success from all that I have heard. Incredibly (sort of), the top six all broke 16 minutes for a distance slightly longer than a standard 5K. Leading the way was Chad Ware, 27, of Wheeling, who ran a 15:10.7. Next were Mike Ptack, 25, of Elmhust, in 15:10.0; Emil Bojanov, 27, of Chicago, in 15:20.5; Arthur Bareikis, 25, of Oak Forest, in 15:37.1; Miz Carrera, 20, of Cicero, in 15:41.7; and Juancarlito Barrera, 20, of Cicero, in 15:49.9. The women were led by Lindsay Hattendorf, 28, of Crown Point, IN. She ran an 18:20. Second woman was Christy Adduci, 25, of West Chicago, in 19:53,3; and third went to Maggie McLaughlin, 18, of Riverside, in 20:10.9, There were 964 finishers and could have been a lot more if they didn't have a race cap on entries. Kudos to the organizers of a very fine race.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Prodigy Run 5K Strange But Powerful

The new Prodigy Run 5K in Villa Park on Saturday had incredible prize money, which brought out a very top-heavy field with virtually no back of the pack. Most of the big names from local running were in a field of 91 runners. From the get-go, I think some poor planning/editing on the race signmeup form pretty much prevented it from being big. For a race run on Nov. 12, the following is still on the signmeup form:
Pre-Registration Protocol
Pre-Registration Deadline is midnight October 1, 2011 online and mail-in registration must be postmarked by October 1,2011. A LATE REGISTRATION FEE of $5.00 per applicable event will apply to each category.

Why would you have an Oct. 1 deadline for a Nov. 12 race? I e-mailed them about it, but they didn't seem to see the problem. What a huge screw-up, Oh well.
Kudos to the top three men and women who earned $1,000, $500 and $250 respectively. On the men's side it was Kris Gauson, 23, of New York City, winning in 14:48.5. He was followed by Chad Ware, 27, of Wheeling, in 14:52.4, and Shawn Lucas, 27, of Elgin, in 14:58.8. They were moving fast on a course that included limestone trails that can slow you down. The next eight men broke 16 minutes. The top three women were Emma Keenan, 23, home to come, in 17:18.5; Kathryn Hague, 23, of Chicago, in 17:34.5; and Ashley Saunders, 15, of Gardner, in 17:58.7. The race didn't have traditional age groups. It was different. Were you there? I want to hear about it. I couldn't be there because I was putting on a roller-ski race at the same time.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Verzbicas Switches From Running to Triathlon

USA Triathlon News ReleaseJ
Junior World Champion Lukas Verzbicas Commits to Triathlon Full Time
Former University of Oregon runner to join the Elite Triathlon Academy in Colorado Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 10, 2011)- Triathlon's reigning Junior World Champion Lukas Verzbicas today announced that he will dedicate himself full time to the sport of triathlon in order to pursue his Olympic dream.

Verzbicas, who was victorious at September's International Triathlon Union (ITU) Junior World Championships in Beijing, will relocate to Colorado Springs, Colo., this fall and join the newly established Elite Triathlon Academy. He also will gain resident status at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Verzbicas will enroll as a student-athlete at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in January 2012 after formally withdrawing from the University of Oregon, where he was a freshman member of the cross country team.

Prior to joining the legendary running program at Oregon, Verzbicas fashioned one of the greatest careers in the history of high school distance running. He was named the National High School Cross Country Athlete of the Year as a sophomore and junior (he graduated early and bypassed his senior year) and set national high school records for the outdoor two-mile and the indoor 5,000 meters. He was just the fifth high school runner ever to break the four-minute mile mark.

"This choice was extremely difficult, but after careful thought and consideration I have elected to follow my heart and commit full time to the sport of triathlon. I look forward to pursuing my dream of one day representing the United States in the Summer Olympic Games," Verzbicas said. "I would like to thank my coaches and teammates at Oregon for welcoming me with open arms this fall. The program has a rich tradition and, with so many talented young runners on its roster, I believe is well positioned to compete for a national championship in the very near future. I wish them nothing but the best."

Verzbicas, who also won the 2011 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championship title, made national headlines this summer when he postponed his running career in order to train for the ITU Junior World Championships and ultimately claim the gold medal in honor of his triathlon club teammate and best friend, Kevin McDowell. McDowell, who placed third at the 2010 event in Budapest, was the returning favorite but had his season cut short after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in March 2011. With his treatments behind him, McDowell is now a student at UCCS and training as a part of the Elite Triathlon Academy.

"We are certainly excited to see Lukas return to the sport of triathlon. He has a very bright future as a member of USA Triathlon's athlete development program and we will support his career to the fullest," said USA Triathlon CEO Rob Urbach. "The establishment of the Elite Triathlon Academy makes it possible for our best young athletes - including Lukas - to continue on the path of their chosen sport while attaining a college degree. Lukas' decision speaks volumes about how far triathlon has advanced."

The Elite Triathlon Academy, a landmark program that provides the United States' top up-and-coming triathletes the opportunity to receive a premier college education while benefitting from a full-time coach and the nation's best training resources at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, debuted in August 2011 at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs with national-level support from USA Triathlon and the United States Olympic Committee. Prior to the formation of this program, the top junior triathletes in the U.S. often chose to pursue running and swimming at the collegiate level due to the availability of scholarships. The Elite Triathlon Academy will identify potential Olympians and allow them to continue their multisport development throughout their college years with the potential to earn a collegiate scholarship.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hot Cider 8-Mile More Low Key!

A day after the Hot Chocolate mega-run, it was the Hot Cider's turn out at Danada and Herrick Lake Forest Preserves in DuPage County. Frankly, the Hot Cider Hustle 8-Miler is a cool run with a bit of cross-country and a whole lot of nice chopped limestone with twists and turns to keep it interesting. There were 465 finishers and a whole lot of happy people enjoying a very windy day in the woods and on the prairie (you keep a little of each). Nathan Kennedy, 25, of Bolingbrook, won it in 45:01. The aforementioned course that produced a time like that included a half-mile at the start and a quarter-mile at the end on fairly long grass on an equestrian race track. Second was John Knudson, 31, in 47:01.6, and third went to Dan Ostendorf, 37, in 47:56.6. The leading women were Christy Adduci, 25, in 55:06.7; Michelle Smith, 23, in 55:26.0; and Hailey Krzston, 19, in 58:43.3 This race was well-done, and I believe it was produced by the same group that puts on the Schamumburg Thanksgiving weekend half-marathon.

Hot Chocolate 15K, 5K Attract 31,793

On a beautiful day to run in Chicago, the red-hot Hot Chocolate 15K and 5K runs has huge turnouts. Run on wide streets for the first time, the congestion had to be less than in previous years. Winning a close battle in the 15K, Emisael Favela,34, of Berwyn, shaved 90 seconds off his 15K PR with a winning gun time of 48:11. That was three seconds better than runner-up Christopher Rapp, 23, of Urbana (48:14), and nine seconds better than third-place finisher Matt Field, 26, of Wheaton (48:20). Roudnig out the top five were Matt Flaherty, 26, of Chicago, in 49:29, and Charlie Kern, 42 (top master), of Elmhurst, in 50:09. Women's champion was Nicole Camp. 26, of Willowick, OH, in 53:11. She won by a landslide as second-place finisher Leah Scharl, 34, of Clarkston, MI, came across in 57:21. Third was Marisa Mele, 25, of Naperville, in 57:36. These are all gun times, not chip times. There were 13,430 official finishers in this amazing event. The 5K had even more, 18363. Todd Quednau, 29, of Chicago (16:36) and Racheal Marchand, 25, of Valparaiso, IN (18:03), were the winners. Based on times I saw, the course might have run long. Any comments on the 5K course or the 15K course for that matter?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Palatine, New Trier Take Class 3A Crowns

It really wasn't a surprise when Palatine's boys and New Triers' girls ran to the state Class 3A state cross-country championships on Saturday at Peoria's Detweiler Park layout. Both teams had the horses and delivered. Palatine won the boys' competition with 114 points, god enough to beat Downstate O'Fallon, which broke up the usual Chicago-area podium with a runner-up total of 20. Neuqua Valley (Naperville) was third with 144 and York's rebuilding project took fourth with 151. Rounding out the top five was Buffalo Grove with 191. New Trier's girls won easily with 82 points, well ahead of Wheaton-Warrenville South (144), Naperville North (183, won tie-breaker with faster sixth runner), St. Charles East (183) and Prospect (213). Full results are at Congrats to all runners in all classes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sun-Times' State XC Previews Worth a Read

Sun-Times writer Mike Clark offers a nice column this morning on the emergence of Chicago Public League teams on the state level and also provides boys and girls previews for Saturday's state meets in Peoria. The three pieces are all must-reads for you running fans. While York is in a rebuilding year and not favored to win, the Dukes still won their regional and sectional. With coach Joe Newton and a tightly-bunched group of York runners, there's always a strong element of intrigue. Is this the year for Palatine on the boys' side and New Trier on the girls'? The weather should be good and the running great tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CARA Runners Choice Circuit

What are your favorite races on the CARA Runners Choice Circuit? Which races, not on the circuit, should be on it in the future? How important is the circuit? Let's have some input!