Saturday, December 29, 2012

Heading for 2013 -- Full Speed Ahead

Boy, where did 2012 go? Running seems to carry me right through, no matter what is happening in the "real" world. While real-life topics such as "fiscal cliff" and "gun control" capture our interest, we manage to keep our running going through thick and thin, good and bad, no matter what it takes -- barring injury. Today, I started the day helping fellow runner Nancy Rollins and her crew put on a small 5K in snowy Northbrook. It was fun to apply new meaning to "sweeper" as I swept the first and last few hundred yards of the course. After this fun race, which drew about 120 runners, I headed home and took my own run of about 8.5 miles on the snowy, but very run-able Illinois Prairie Path in the west suburbs. It is SO nice to be running with no injuries and no imminent race plans. There are New Year's Eve and New Year's Day races coming up, so good luck to all participants! I'll be running, but not racing, and as many of you know, I'll be cross-country skiing when I find skiable snow. That's another great running-related sport full of great races, short and long. Back to pure running, I have now done it for 50 years, and believe me, I am thankful for that. Good luck as you make plans for 2013, and congratulations for all of your progress and accomplishments in 2012. I know I'm ready for wherever the running adventure takes me!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gilbert, Staton Win Schaumburg TT Half

It was cold, but not windy for the large field on Saturday in the fourth annual Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon. Temps around 30 made for a robust morning, but some great running took place despite the chill. Winning was Mitch Gilbert, 20, in a nice time of 1:12:13.3. Second was TJ Luby, 23. in 1:14:33.5, and third was Michael Cauley, 31, in 1:14:53.3. The women's competition was taken by Pamela Staton, 26, of Chicago, in 1:20:29.4. Runner-up was Amanda Daws, 25, in 1:23:20.5, and third is where it gets interesting. Ashley Shares, 21, is listed as third with a time (gun and net) of 1:24:15.3. However, Amy Campbell, 24, is one place ahead of her in the net time column with a 1:24:05.9. Her gun time was 1:24:42.7. Things get a little dicey in this age of computer chip timing. There were 1,646 finishers in this turkey trot, which was one of too many to count over the past week. Thanksgiving is definitely the time when the most people race in the Chicago area in non-marathons. There also was a 5K run in conjunction with the half-marathon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tokyo Joins World Marathon Majors

Tokyo Marathon will be Sixth Event in Series, along with
Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City

Press Release
New York, NY - The World Marathon Majors® (WMM) today announced the addition of the Tokyo Marathon to the World Marathon Majors Series. The seventh Tokyo Marathon, which will be held on February 24, 2013, will be the first race in the 2013 - 2014 World Marathon Majors scoring period. The Tokyo Marathon is the first World Marathon Majors event to be based in Asia.
"Tokyo is honored to join the World Marathon Majors," said Tad Hayano, Tokyo Marathon Foundation Race Director. "As the first marathon from Asia, we will continuously make an effort to expand the brand of the WMM in Asia. Likewise, as the one of the World Marathon Majors, we believe that the Tokyo Marathon can make an even more positive contribution to the world marathon scene by working with our new partners."
Founded on January 23, 2006 by the Boston, Virgin London, BMW Berlin, Bank of America Chicago, and ING New York City marathons, the World Marathon Majors is a race series offering a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners in the world. In addition to the six other races, the IAAF World Championships and Olympic marathons also serve as scoring events in the years in which they are held. Athletes earn points by placing among the top five in each race during a two-year scoring period. The champions of the WMM will be the man and woman who score the greatest number of points during the two-year scoring period.
In a joint statement from the World Marathon Majors Race Directors, Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association and Boston Marathon, added, "We at World Marathon Majors are delighted to have Tokyo join our group. The Japanese have a magnificent history and tradition in the marathon, and the Japanese people have long embraced the marathon and distance running in general. They are among the finest fans in the world for our sport."
The inaugural Tokyo Marathon was held on February 18, 2007 and drew 95,044 applicants and 30,870 participants. Kenya's Daniel Njenga (2:09:45) and Japan's Hitomi Niiya (2:31:01) were the race's first champions. Since 2007, the Tokyo Marathon has grown to over 300,000 applicants and nearly 36,000 participants. In addition to serving as the first race of the 2013 - 2014 WMM scoring period, the 2013 Tokyo Marathon will double as the Japanese men's national team trials for the 14th IAAF World Championships Marathon in Moscow. Prior to the establishment of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation in 2007, the city of Tokyo hosted two separate marathon events for elite men and women, dating back to 1980 and 1979, respectively.
Each of the World Marathon Majors races boasts an international elite field for both men and women, has a mass participatory field completing the same course as the elite runners, takes place in a major international market, and is regarded as among the best in the industry.
About the Tokyo Marathon
Organized by the Tokyo Marathon Foundation and established in 2007, the Tokyo Marathon hosts nearly 36,000 participants on a tour of Tokyo's iconic tourist attractions. Through its theme, "The Day We Unite," the Tokyo Marathon unites runners, volunteers, and spectators on race day. Following the 2011 race, the Tokyo Marathon instituted "Tsunagu," a companion charity program for the Tokyo Marathon. Donations go to charitable activities in various fields according to the concept of "Tsunagu," or solidarity. Registration for the 2013 Tokyo Marathon, which closed on August 31, drew over 300,000 applicants.
About World Marathon Majors (WMM)
Established in 2006, the World Marathon Majors is a race series comprised of the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin London, BMW Berlin, Bank of America Chicago, and ING New York City marathons. In the years in which they are run, WMM also includes the IAAF World Championships and Olympic marathons. At the conclusion of a two-year cycle, WMM offers a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners in the world. The inaugural 2006 - 2007 series launched at the 110th Boston Marathon on April 17, 2006 and concluded on November 4, 2007 at the ING New York City Marathon. The 2013 - 2014 series begins with the Tokyo Marathon on February 24, 2013 and will conclude on November 2, 2014 at the ING New York City Marathon.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Giulianos Sweep Halloween Hustle 5K

On an accurate course on a cold day, the seventh annual Halloween Hustle 5K in Palatine made its debut on the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit on Saturday morning. This race, known for its super-fast times on what had been a very short course, produced no complaints about course length this year. A bunch of turns, some leaves on some corners and temperatures in the mid-30s slowed everyone a bit, but recently married Ryan and Jacqui Giuliano of Champaign, still were plenty fast as they won the men's and women's competition. Ryan, 27, won the overall crown in 15:52.9, with Jacqui, 26, leading the ladies in 17:59.87. Runner-up male was Mark Wehrman, 26, of Chicago, in 16:05.15, and third was taken by Tim Hamilton, 27, of Grayslake, in 16:10.38. Second-place woman was CARA Executive Director Wendy Jaehn, 37, of Chicago, in 18:23.39, and third was taken by Heather Swink, 39, of Barrington, in 18:47.75. This was the season finale on the Runners' Choice Circuit. I was happy to run it and get my 10th Circuit race into the books. There were 675 finishers, many in great costumes. My costume goal was to look like a fast runner. I don't think I fooled anyone!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Men's Course Record, Great Women's Finish!

Kebede's Course Record and Thrilling Women's Finish Highlight 35th Running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Ethiopians Dominate the Podium with Sweep of Men's Race and Women's Victory
Press Release
CHICAGO --Today's 35th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon witnessed historic performances by men's champion Tsegaye Kebede and women's champion Atsede Baysa, both of Ethiopia, as an event record 37,455 participants crossed the finish line under cool conditions in Grant Park. Kebede's time of 2:04:38 broke the previous course record by nearly a minute, while Baysa's one-second margin of victory over Rita Jeptoo of Kenya in the closest women's finish in race history.
"I can't think of a better way to celebrate the Bank of America Chicago Marathon's 35th year than by rewriting the record books," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "Tsegaye took advantage of great racing conditions and stiff competition to smash the course record, and Atsede and Rita treated us to a spirited battle all the way to the finish tape. Their performances set the pace for a wonderful day of marathon running in Chicago, and it's my pleasure to congratulate all race finishers, and to thank our volunteers, city partners, and sponsors who help make this event possible."
With a start time temperature of 42 degrees and light winds, the lead men's pack of 12 runners reached the halfway point in 1:02:54. At 25K, Kebede forged to the lead and the race was on. Along with fellow Ethiopians Tilahun Regassa and Feyisa Lilesa, they attacked the second half, putting the course record in jeopardy. But Kebede was a man on a mission, and the 2010 Chicago runner-up advanced to the top of the podium in style, blazing the last 13.1 miles in 1:01:44 en route to victory. Not only was Kebede's win the first by an Ethiopian male in Chicago, but he was followed across the line by Lilesa (2:04:38) and Regassa (2:05:27) for an Ethiopian sweep, all three bettering the previous record of 2:05:37 set by Kenya's Moses Mosop in 2011. Michigan native Dathan Ritzenhein was the top U.S. finisher in ninth, establishing a more than two-minute personal best of 2:07:47 and becoming the third fastest American of all time.
In the women's race, three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova's reign came to an end as she was fourth in a race where the top four finished under 2:23. Shobukhova ran in a pack of nine that covered the first half in 1:11:15, before she fell five seconds behind the leaders at 30K. Also trailing was Ethiopia's Atsede Baysa, who then surged to catch the pack by 35K. Over the final miles, it was a three-woman race between Baysa and Kenyans Rita Jeptoo and Lucy Kabuu. Baysa and Jeptoo battled all the way to the tape in the closest women's finish in race history. In the end, only one second separated the two with Baysa edging Jeptoo, 2:22:03 to 2:22:04, both personal bests. Kabuu was third in 2:22:41. Oregon's Renee Metivier Baillie, running her debut marathon, was the top American in eighth with a 2:27:17.
In the wheelchair race, defending women's champion Tatyana McFadden of Champaign, Ill., returned to the winner's circle with a powerful performance, winning by more than six minutes in 1:49:52. In the men's race, last year's fourth-place finisher, Canada's Josh Cassidy, moved up to the top spot on the podium, besting Adam Bleakney of Champaign, Ill., 1:32:58 to 1:34:23.
The fourth annual Nike Northside/Southside Challenge featured the area's top high school cross country athletes competing in a unique race that covers the final 2.62 miles of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course. In the boys' race, Pat McMahon of Carl Sandburg High School finished first in 13:07. In the girls' race, Carly Krull, also of Carl Sandburg High School, won in 15:18. In the team challenge, the Northside squad captured the title over the Southside team.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

D'Amico, Lifka Win Lake Zurich Half

It'sa a great run on a great course, and when it was over, Joseph D'Amico, 38, of Palatine was the winner of the Lake Zurich Alpine Races Half-Marathon on Sunday with a 1:19:53.51. Tammy Lifka, 42, of Glen Ellyn, was the women's champ in 1:24:32.47. On a course with nice views and some healthy hills, it was pretty close on the men's side as 51-year-old Janusz Malski of Chicago showed the younger runners how it's done with a great 1:20:21.35 runner-up performance. Gavin Campbell, 36, of Deer Park, was a close third in 1:20:32.94. Stephanie Wagner, 38, of Lombard, ran a 1:31:56.99 for second place female overall, and Hannah Klinger , 26, of North Fond du Lac, WI, was third in 1:32:23.95. There were 284 finishers in this event put on each year by the Alpine Runners. They also had a 5K and kids events.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wallor, Saunders Fastest at Park Ridge

The 35th Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K has its usual stacked field on Saturday. Eric Wallor, 29, of Chicago, was overal winner on the fast course in 15:46.91, and Ashley Saunders, 16, of Gardner, was the women's winner in 17:33.58. Mark Wehrman, 26, of Chicago, logged second place with a 15:55.09, and Emisael Favela, 35, of Berwyn, was third in 15:58.94. The top eight were under 16:16 in this highly competitive CARA Runners' Choice Circuit race. Runner-up on the women's side was Pamela Staton, 25, of Chicago, in 17:36.10, and third went to Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, in 17:43.02. Hats off to 65-year-old Nancy Rollins of Evanston who clocked a 20:58.89. Incredible. There were 519 finishers in this race that has stood the test of time (pun intended) quite well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gillette, Meneses Win Fox Valley Marathon

It was a great morning of running in the Fox River Valley Sunday as Justin Gillette and Vanessa Meneses won the Advocate Dreyer Fox Valley Marathon, which starts and finishes in St. Charles. Gillette, 29, of Goshen, IN, won by more than 10 minutes with a race record 2:31:34. According to the marathon staff, this was Gillette's 51st all-time marathon victory and 14th this year! The distant second-place runner was Gregory Maves, 25, who finished in 2:41:52. Third male was Steve Nusser, 43, who "mastered" the course in a very nice 2:49:36. Meneses, 27, of Peoria, won the women's competition in 3:03:46, also an event record. Second was Hailey Kryston, 20, in 3:14:58, and third went to Samantha Vander Heyden, 28, in 3:15:41. There were 1,060 finishers in the main event. There also was a 20-mile and a half-marathon. Both were well-attended.

Mull, Staton Lead 4,868 at Bucktown 5K

It was a great day for the annual RAM Racing Bucktown 5K, and as of now, there were 4,868 finishers. Some familiar names topped the men's and women's leaderboards in this neighborhood staple event in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood. Brandon Mull, 26, of Wheaton, was the overall winner in 15:19. Women's champ was Pamela Staton, 25, of Ingleside, in 17:53. They were moving. Runners-up were Andrew Leonard, 28, of Chicago, in 15:36, and Melissa Hardesty, 35, of Chicago, in 18:13. Third places were taken by Lars Juhl, 35, of Chicago, in 15:46, and Jill Czarnik, 24, of Chicago, in 18:25. Great job by everyone in this festive and competitive race.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Marathon Elite Fields Announced

Kebede and Kidane Among Talented Group of International Athletes
Set to Compete for 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Crown

Smyth, Grabow and Metivier Baille Highlight Promising U.S. Contingent
Press Release
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon Wednesday announced its full elite athlete field for the event's 35th running on October 7. Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede tops a stacked roster of athletes hungry for a breakthrough performance on Chicago's international stage, while the women's field welcomes, among others, Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, coming off a fourth-place finish in the 10,000-meter race at the London Olympics. These athletes join previously announced 2012 Boston Marathon champion and Chicago runner-up Wesley Korir of Kenya, three-time U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, and three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia.
"The men's field is the deepest we've ever had in Chicago, and I think it will take a career performance to win on October 7," said Carey Pinkowski, executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. "In the women's field, with the addition of Werknesh Kidane, you are looking at some of the most talented athletes on the planet, each of whom will be trying to figure out a way to beat Liliya Shobukhova on what has become her home course. These are going to be magnificent races to help celebrate the Chicago Marathon's 35th anniversary."
Kebede returns to Chicago after a memorable duel against the late Sammy Wanjiru at the 2010 race. During the Olympic champion's brief but spectacular period of dominance in the sport, Kebede, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, was Wanjiru's most famous opponent, with the 2010 Chicago Marathon being the pinnacle of their rivalry. He'll be joined by countrymen Feyisa Lilesa, the 2011 World Championship bronze medalist; 2:05 performers Dadi Yami and Shami Dawit; 2012 Paris Marathon runner-up Raji Assefa; and Tilahun Regassa in his highly anticipated debut.
Kenya's Levy Matebo is the fastest entrant in the field, with a 2:05:16 performance at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon. He'll challenge fellow Kenyan Wesley Korir, who came from behind to steal victory away from him at the 2012 Boston Marathon. The Kenyan contingent also includes 2012 Tokyo Marathon champion Michael Kipyego, 2011 Chicago Marathon runner-up Bernard Kipyego, 2011 Amsterdam Marathon runner-up Laban Korir, 2012 Lake Biwa Marathon champion Samuel Ndungu, and Sammy Kitwara, the fifth-fastest half-marathon performer of all time.
A strong group of Japanese men is led by Takashi Horiguchi, who cracked the top 10 in Chicago last fall and ran a personal best of 2:09:16 at the Lake Biwa Marathon in February.
Kidane owns history's eighth-fastest 10,000-meter performance, and, like former track stars Shobukhova and Ejegayehu Dibaba, she'll look to Chicago's flat and fast course to capitalize on her superior track speed. She's joined by fellow Ethiopians Atsede Baysa, the 2010 Chicago Marathon runner-up and two-time Paris Marathon champion, and Belainesh Gebre, the fourth-place Chicago finisher last year.
In addition to 2:19 performer Lucy Kabuu, the Kenyan women will be represented by former Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and Caroline Rotich.
Shobukhova will be joined by Russian teammate Maria Konovalova, the third-place finisher from the 2010 Chicago Marathon.
Smyth, Grabow and Metivier Baille highlight U.S. contingent
Along with Ritzenhein, the top U.S. entrants include University of Notre Dame All-American and 2010 U.S. Half Marathon runner-up Patrick Smyth; California's Jimmy Grabow, who ran 2:12:35 in his debut at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in January; 2:13 athletes Jeffrey Eggleston of Arizona and Patrick Rizzo, a Chicago native; and Oregon's Craig Leon.
Recent U.S. 20K champion and 11-time NCAA All-American Renee Metivier Baille of Oregon headlines the U.S. women in her marathon debut. She's joined by fellow debutant Stephanie Pezzullo, and U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers Deanna Ardrey and Addie Bracy. To view the complete 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon elite athlete roster, go to www.chicagomarathon.com/2012eliteathletes.

Susan Croll Memorial This Saturday

A memorial for Susan Croll, a great runner and wonderful person, will be this Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at Lou Malnati's, 8515 Redtail Drive in Lakewood, IL 60014. According to Susan's daughter Ande, the restaurant is about 15 minutes north on Randall Road from I-90. "We are inviting anyone from the family, running community, etc who wants to come," Ande said in an e-mail. "The room has space for 100 people so we think we should be just fine. We will be serving pizza and drinks. "If anyone would like, we are asking that donations in memory of mom be given to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Details for giving are at http://www.theaftd.org/about/get-involved/donate." Susan passed away after a difficult multi-year struggle. She will be greatly missed by the Chicago-area running community.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Frazer, Nedlo Swiftest at Chicago Half Marathon

I did run the Chicago Half on Sunday, so I got to see how far in front Thomas Frazer was after the turnaround. It was impressive. Frazer, 30, of Lake Forest, wanted to even go a little faster, but won easily in 1:07:12. The Irish native who ran for Butler University, has his eyes on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which he ran last year in 2:19:42. He is coached by Tom Houchin, is associated with Jenny Spangler Racing and wants to lower that PR. Winning woman on Sunday in cool, somewhat windy conditions was Meagan Nedlo, 29, of Salem, MA. She clocked 1:18:20. Back to the men, Scott Fraser (different spelling, not related), 26, of Edinburgh, Scotland, was second in 1:08:37, and Andy Derks, 32, of Aurora, a regular in local racing, was third in 1:10:09. Fourth-place male was Chris Vargo, 30, of Colorado Springs, CO, in 1:10:23, and fifth was taken by Matthew Field, 27, of Wheaton, in 1:10:29. Runner-up female was Kristen Heckert, 25, of Lisle, in 1:19:53, and third was Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, in 1:21:13. Fourth went to Sydney Messick, 23, of St. Louis, MO, in 1:21:29, and fifth was taken with a 1:21:40 PR by Tammy Lifka, 42, of Glen Ellyn. Heckert, Montes and Lifka also are gearing for the Chicago Marathon. Dale Bowman has a nice wrap-up in today's Sun-Times. As of now, there were 12,105 finishers.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Next Up: Chicago Half Marathon

The weather looks good for the 16th annual Chicago Half Marathon along the south lakefront on Sunday. This has been one of my favorites over the years, but it's never easy to actually get there! I am on the fence as I write this. As much as I want to run, I do not want to make two trips to the city in two or three days. Time will tell. Ideally, I need to run it to stay in the CARA standings age-group points mix. Realistically, I just don't know. Some top-tier racers will be competing alongside thousands of everyday runners. Good luck if you're competing. I might, or might not, see you there!

Monday, September 3, 2012

40-Year-Old Wins Oak Brook Half

David Williams, 40, of Milwaukee, has a strong running pedigree, including a 2:24 at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. On Monday in Oak Brook, the rookie "master" took it all at the Oak Brook Half Marathon, taming the somewhat challenging 13.1-mile course in 1:12:53. That was enough to beat runner-up Jim Akita, the cross-country and track coach at Elmhurst College. Akita, 32, of Elmhurst, ran a 1:13:49. Third male of the 1,066 overall finishers was Jeff Bailey, 27, of Chicago, in 1:16:25.8. Another prime out-of-stater, Lindsay Hattendorf, 28, of Crown Point, IN, was the women's winner in 1:24:26.5. Like Williams, she is a school teacher who could teach runners a thing or two. Second was Jane Finck, of New York, NY, in 1:28:20.4, and third in the humid conditions went to Laura Papageorgiou, 25, of Skokie, in 1:32:20.3. Congrats to all who braved the conditions to finish a great half-marathon.

Kremske, Saunders Win Stampede 10K

Dan Kremske, 23, of Woodstock, nade it two wins in two weeks on the CARA Runners Choice Circuit with a 32:25 victory on Sunday and the humid, but non-rainy 17th annual Buffalo Grove Stampede 10K. Ashley Saunders, 16, of Gardner, IL, notched her second Circuit win, topping the women's field with a 39:19. Saunders is home-schooled, and therefore eligible to race this time of year. Kremske was a minute, 18 seconds slower than a week before at DeKalb, but it didn't make any difference. Second place this time went to Andy Derks, 32, of Aurora, in 33:07. Next was Eric Wallor, 29, of Palatine, with a 33:36. Runner-up on the women;s side was Kristine Jennings Burgess, 27, of Mundelein, who got under 40 with a 39:56, and third place was taken by Aneta Zeimiansica, 32, in 40:45. There were 421 finishers in the 10K on the course that had many turns, a couple of hills and was 60 percent chopped limestone. I felt good actually beating my time from DeKalb by three seconds. On a sadder note many of us in older age groups ran in honor of Susan Croll, who passed away on Saturday. Just a few years ago, Susan was a very tough runner on the Circuit, and she always was a beautiful human being. She shall be missed. We send condolences to her family.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Spain, Lifka Win Peapod Half Madness 13.1

It's back to half-marathon season (does it ever end?), and things got rolling in the Chicago area on Aug. 26 at the Peapod Half Madness 13.1 in Batavia. It was a strong field as alweays for this well-organized race, and leading the way were Mike Spain and Tammy Lifka. Spain, 23, of Normal, is no stranger to me. He won the 2011 4 on the 4th in Elmhurst. In Batavia, he ran a 1:09:37 to easily win over runner-up Nick Hird, 28, of Naperville, who came across in 1:11:57. Hird had run the rugged DeKalb Corn Classic 10K the day before. Third went to Daniel Woldesilassi, 20, of Wheaton, in 1:15:15. In the women's field, Lifka, 42, of Glen Ellyn, had a battle on her hands, but won in 1:24:20. She's also no stranger, having run very well at the 4 on the 4th more thyan once. Second place was taken by Angie Fiese, 35, of Mableton, GA, in 1:24:38, and third went to Jacqui Aubert, 26, of Crystal Lake, IL, in 1:26:51. Special kudos go out to Dave Walters, 57, of Lisle, who finished fifth overall in 1:18:09! There were 986 finishers, and in a somewhat rarity these daysd, there were more men than women, 512-474. Next up on the half "circuit" is the Oak Brook Half Marathon on Monday morning. Registration is still open. Good luck to you, whatever you've got planned this weekend.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kremske, Todd Best at DeKalb Cornfest

It's been a year for bad corn, but it wasn't for good runners on Saturday at the 31st DeKalb Cornfest 10K, the farthest stop west on the Chicago Area Runners Association Runners' Choice Circuit. Temperunners in the finishing field of 564. Temperatures were tolerable with the mercury in the mid to high 70s, but humidity made it a tough go for many of the well-seasoned competitors in the field. Winning the battle from a strong lead pack was Dan Kremske, 23, of Woodstock, in 31:07.8. Second went to Patrick Geoghegan, 22, of Oak Park, in 31:40.35; and third went to Nick Hird, 28, of Naperville, in 32:05.65. Out-of-state women dominated as Melissa Todd, 37, of Timnath, CO, won in 35:51.8, followed by Megan Herrick, 26, of Flagstaff, AZ, in 36:25.25. Third was local standout Kristen Heckert, 25, of Lisle, who is gearing up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She ran a 37:17.08. Age-group competition was fierce and deep up and down the results. I can't remember a Cornfest ever not having a top-tier field. I got to the finish line, but boy, was I spent. It was rough for me, and I think a lot of others. No one said it would be easy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shobukhova, Dibaba in Chicago Marathon Field

Press Release
Liliya Shobukhova Aims for Unprecedented Fourth Consecutive Victory at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Shobukhova Joins Kenya's Lucy Kabuu and Ethiopia's Ejegayehu Dibaba to Headline Talented Women's Field
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that Liliya Shobukhova of Russia will go for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the event's 35th running on October 7. After she was unable to finish the Olympic Games Marathon on August 5 due to stomach cramps, Shobukhova, a pre-race gold medal favorite, will look to get back to her winning ways in Chicago where she is undefeated in three appearances.
"It was heartbreaking to withdraw from the Olympic Marathon after I had trained so hard and my preparation had gone so well," said Shobukhova. "But I am still very fit and in good health, and I am going to focus all my energy on a great performance at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. There is no place that I feel more comfortable than when I am competing in Chicago. I love the course and appreciate the support from the fans. I am especially motivated to win for the fourth time in a row, which has never been done before in Chicago."
Shobukhova, who ran the third-fastest time in history (2:18:20) to win last year's race, will face her stiffest competition yet in the bid for her fourth title. Sub-2:20 performer Lucy Kabuu of Kenya (2:19:34) stands in her way, as does Ethiopia's Ejegayehu Dibaba, who ran 2:22:09 in a runner-up finish to Shobukhova last year. These three athletes have the potential to put Paula Radcliffe's 10-year-old course record of 2:17:18 in jeopardy. Kenya's Florence Kiplagat was forced to withdraw from the field due to an injury.
"Liliya has already made history at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with three victories in a row, and this year she has a chance to join the great Khalid Khannouchi with four total victories," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "She is truly one of the great champions of the sport, and while her race at the Olympics was not what she had wished for, she has a chance to return to the top of the world in Chicago."
Last year, Shobukhova became the first runner to win three consecutive Chicago Marathon titles, and a fourth victory would tie her for the most ever in Chicago. Khalid Khannouchi won four times in the span of six years (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

10K Is Big 10's Bigger Race Sunday

It really was a Big Four! The first four finishers in the Big Ten Network Big 10 10K on Sunday in Chicago ran terrific times as "Illinois" swept. Leading the way was Dan Kremske, 23, of Woodstock, in 31:55. Next was Michael Frigo, 22, of Elmhurst, in 32:25. Third was Brent Alexander, 31, of Chicago, in 32:26, and fourth was Ryan Giuliano, 27, of Schaumburg, in 32:51. At 5K, they were within five seconds of each other. Those are some of the "Big" names in Chicago-area running! On the women's side, Jacqui Aubert, 26, of Crystal Lake (ILLINOIS), won in 38:05. Second was Melissa Hardesty, 34, of Chicago (INDIANA), in 39:21, and third was Jill Czarnik, 24, of Chicago (ILLINOIS), in 39:34. A total of 2,636 runners representing Big 10 schools finished the race. In the 5K race, James Heroux, 20, of Sturgeon Bay, WI, (WISCONSIN), won in 16:19. The Door County native wson easily. Paul Anderson, 21, of Naperville (NO SCHOOL LISTED), took second in 17:23, and Sam Hoffman, 18, of Winfield (PURDUE), placed third in 17:43. The women's 5K was won by Kelli Palm, 30, of Chicago (INDIANA) in 19:48. She was followed by Laura Mount, 27, of Chicago (ILLINOIS), in 20:12, and Erica Agran, 40, of Chicago (INDIANA), in 21:19. There were 1,769 5K finishers.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two Sub-2:20 Women Enter Chicago Marathon

PRESS RELEASE
Sub-2:20 Performers Lucy Kabuu and Florence Kiplagat to Clash at 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Kenyan Women Look to End 10-Year Winless Streak in Chicago
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that two of the fastest female marathon runners in the world will compete in the October 7 race, as sub-2:20 performers Lucy Kabuu and Florence Kiplagat, both of Kenya, will match strides on Chicago's flat and fast course. Kabuu currently has the No. 3-ranked performance of the year and No. 14 all-time after her 2:19:34 at the Dubai Marathon in January; while Kiplagat is ranked No. 18 all-time after winning the 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon in 2:19:44.
"Lucy and Florence are two of the most exciting athletes in the sport," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "They are both relatively new to the marathon, which, combined with what they have accomplished on the track and in cross country, promises a very bright future ahead. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a course that will suit them well and I think these two athletes will push each other to even greater heights."
Kabuu is a two-time Olympian with top 10 finishes in the 10,000 meters at the 2004 and 2008 Games. After breaking from competition in 2009 and 2010 to recover from injury and start a family, she turned her attention to the roads and found immediate success. Dubai was her first marathon, and her debut ranks as the second fastest all-time (behind marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe). In April, she placed fifth at the 2012 Virgin London Marathon, narrowly missing out on making her third Olympic team.
Kiplagat is Kenya's 10,000 meter record-holder (30:11.53) and has won two gold medals on the world stage-the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country title (long course) and the 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon title. After she was unable to finish the 2011 Boston Marathon, Kiplagat conquered the marathon distance in Berlin, besting stalwarts Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain and Irina Mikitenko of Germany for the win. Her bid to make her first Olympics fell agonizingly short; with the top three finishers qualifying for the Kenyan team, she placed fourth in her country's marathon trials (2012 London Marathon) and 10,000 meter trials.
It was also announced that Kenya's Caroline Rotich, the fourth place finisher from the 2011 Boston Marathon with a personal best of 2:24:26, will compete in her first Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Incredibly, it has been 10 years since a Kenyan woman broke the finish tape in Chicago-that being Catherine Ndereba in 2001 in a then-world record of 2:18:47. In fact, since Ndereba's runner-up performance the following year, a Kenyan woman has not finished among Chicago's top three, and only Joyce Chepchumba (fourth, 2004) has finished among the top five. This trio of Kenyan athletes will look to put an end to the winless streak at the 2012 event.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Salazar, Castner Win Fitness for America Half

The heat was up and the humidity high on Saturday, but some very good running still took place at the America for Fitness Half Marathon in Hoffmann Estates. Mario Salazar, 32, was the overall winner in 1:14:57.6, and masters ace Kim Castner, 48, of Naperville, was the women's overall champ in 1:27:12.2. Runner-up male was Josh May, 30, in 1:16:22.5, and third place was earned by Andy Remley, 31, in 1:19:09.4. Second-place woman was Ashley Molidor, 28, in 1:29:12.4, and third-place woman was Lori Buratto, 41, in 1:29:20.2. Some of the newer timing companies are not supplying hometowns. I plug them in when I know them or find them. Congrats to the 536 finishers in this race.

Results Are In: Favela, Montes Win Xtreme 10

The race itself was a long ordeal with high humidity making it a very difficult day to race, but the wait for the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10-Mile results was also long. You knew things were going to be tough on the course by Mile 3 on Saturday, and you knew things were going to be tough with the results when no age-group results were kicking out of the computers. As it turns out, there were missing ages, missing names and possible questions about people starting in the wrong wave (they started three minutes apart). But when all was said and run, Emisael Favela, 35, of Berwyn, was the overall winner in 54 minutes, 28 seconds, and Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, was the women's champ in 1:05:10. The next two men were Noah Lawrence, 32, in 56:06, and Tim Hamilton, 26, in 57:46. The next two women were Wendy Jaehn, 37, in 1:06:26, and Kristine Jennings Burgess , 27, in 1:06:40. I know I went out with a plan to start moderately and pick it up. Well, I started moderately, but backed off! I think a lot of others did, too. This was a tough race. The big rocks on the detour and the extra distance on the uneven grass added to the challenge. That's why they call it the Xtreme 10. I was glad to see the finish line!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mexican, Pole Win Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half

PRESS RELEASE
London Bound Olympians Pass Final Exam at XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon
Mexico’s Daniel Vargas Sanchez and Poland’s Karolina Jarzynska take home titles; 4th annual event welcomes 20,000 entrants; Headliner Cobra Starship rocks for celebrity participants including television personalities Kate Gosslen and Dr. Andy Baldwin, Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig and NASCAR driver Nelson Piquet Jr.
CHICAGO, Ill. (July 22, 2012) – With the countdown to opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games just five days away, it was only fitting two London-bound athletes emerged victorious on the streets of downtown Chicago this morning for the 4th annual XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. First across the finish line adjacent to Buckingham Fountain, was 24-year-old Daniel Vargas Sanchez from Mexico, who covered the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 18 seconds. Karolina Jarzynska, 30 from Poland won the women’s race in 1:13:04.
“This was my first time in Chicago and running was a great way to see the city. The course is perfect, it’s very flat and fast,” said Jarzynska, who pulled away from Kenyan Pauline Thitu at 3 miles and ran uncontested to the finish line. “This is my final test before the Olympic Marathon in two weeks and I’m excited to begin my final preparations, it will be my first time competing at the Olympic Games.”
The pace of the men’s race was set early by Sanchez’s Olympic teammate Carlos Cordero G√≥mez, along with Kenyans Edward Tabut, 29 and Geofrey Terer, 34. They lead a pack of 7 runners through two miles in 9:45, hitting the 5k split in 15:17. The lead pack stayed together through 10k in 30:44, but as the course turned down Michigan Ave along Grant Park, Sanchez gradually took control, and by Mile 8 he had victory comfortably in hand.
“The race was difficult, my goal was to run 3:05 per kilometer and the morning humidity affected me a little bit. But I ran with the rock ‘n’ roll rhythm and I’m very pleased with my time,” said Sanchez, who will arrive in London on August 1st, eleven days before the Olympic Marathon. “I have three weeks until the race on August 12, my training has gone very well. I expect to be the top runner from Mexico and hope to run under 2:10.”
The event attracted more than 20,000 entrants to downtown Chicago, including NASCAR driver Nelson Piquet Jr., won his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race last month. Piquet drove 225 miles on Saturday night in the American Ethanol 225 Truck Race at Chicagoland and then completed his first half-marathon Sunday morning with a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 44 seconds.
“The spectators cheering along the route were amazing,” said Piquet, a 26-year-old Brazilian who had previously completed in a few triathlons. “The 13.1-mile distance was tough after the race last night, I didn’t get much sleep so I just tried to give it the best I could.”
Other notable runners included television personality Dr. Andy Baldwin (1:38:22), who joined Natalie Davila (older sister of U.S. Olympic Marathoner Desi) and more than 350 participants completing the “Rock N’ Mud Challenge” at both Saturday’s Columbia Muddy Buddy Chicago and the XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. Sunday’s event also featured a ‘min-marathon’ distance of just over 3 miles, and featured reality television personality Kate Gosselin and former NFL player Roger Craig, a three-time Super Bowl Champion with the San Francisco 49ers.
The event concluded with a post race finish line concert, headlined by “Good Girls Gone Bad” band Cobra Starship in Grant Park.
For complete results, photos and more, visit Competitor.com.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heat Returns for Big Race Weekend

After a slight temperature respite today and tomorrow, the heat comes back for this weekend's big races. On a schedule loaded with events, three stand out. The Xtreme 10-miler on Saturday morning at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve near Darien tries to dodge severe weather, which hasn't always been the case for this CARA Runners' Choice Circuit race. The Alexian Brothers Fitness for America Half-marathon, 10K and 5K run/walk, also on Saturday, in Hoffman Estates, already has issued a well-worded heat advisory. The XC Sport Fitness Rock 'n' roll Half Marathon benefiting the ACS, on Sunday, starting at 6:30 in Grant Park, promises to be a hot one with temps heading back toward 90 or higher. Thousands will run the Rock 'n' roll. Hundreds will run in the other two. And there are many other fine races to run in as well, including the Run for Hunger 5K on Sunday in Elmhurst. This race was not held last year because of lightning. If you can get there, they need the support. And what's on my docket? I'm running the Xtreme 10 and then heading north to man a water station on Sunday at the Door County (WI) Half-Ironman Triathlon. I know a lot of you are in the early stages of marathon training if you're not racing. Have fun and be careful.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brady, Saunders Capture 4 on the 4th Titles

Kyle Brady, 23, of Naperville, made it two titles in three years (he took second last year by a whisker) as he won the 2012 Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th on Wednesday morning. Brady and eventual runner-up Andy Derks, 32, of Aurora, were side-by-side for the most part until the end of the underpass hill on the third mile. That's when Brady put in a small surge to finally break Derks who hung tough to the end. Brady won in 20:04 on a very warm and humid race course. Derks crossed the finish line at Elmhurst College in 20:16 for second. Third place in the hotly-contested race for that spot was Emisael Favela, 35, of Berwyn, who ran a 20:19. Fourth place was taken by Jerome Tharaud, 32, of Oak Park. Tharaud, who won the Downers Grove 5-miler 10 days earlier, ran a 20:26. Fifth went to Michael Frigo, 21, of Elmhurst (the first hometown finisher), who posted a 20:38. Ashley Saunders, 15, of Gardner, IL, added her name to the list of 4 on the 4th women's winners with a 23:19. She was 11 seconds ahead of runner-up and past winner Lindsay Hattendorf, 28, of Crown Point, IN, who came in at 23:30. Third place went to Kristen Heckert, 25, of Lisle, and a force on the local scene. She came in at 23:34. Fourth went to past winner Jean Marinangeli, 28, of Schaumburg, in 23:56; and fifth went to Christina Overbeck, 26, of Portland, OR (and Chicago) in 24:03. Many more top names came in close behind the two top fives. As race director, I can say the hosting Elmhurst Running Club was thrilled to welcome so many great runners along with so many other great weekend warriors. While the results currently say we had 853 finishers, there were at least 30-35 more who ran with race numbers over 1,000 but without chips. We ran out for the first time in our eight years and appreciate people understanding the situation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ritzenheim Running Chicago Marathon

U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein Returns to His Midwest Roots for the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Decision to Run Chicago Made on the Heels of Qualifying for Third Olympic Team
Official Press Release
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has announced that U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein will set his sights on the October 7 race after he represents Team USA in the 10,000 meters at the Olympic Games on August 4. The 35th edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will mark Ritzenhein's first time toeing the line in Chicago and will be a unique opportunity for him to perform in a world-class competition less than 200 miles from his boyhood home in Rockford, Mich.
"I am extremely excited to return to the Midwest to run the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon," said Ritzenhein. "Growing up just across Lake Michigan, everyone in western Michigan set their sights on fast times at Chicago and hopefully I can do the same. Coming off a healthy year of great training, I plan to carry the momentum from the Olympic Games and the track season to a great race on October 7. I feel stronger than ever and I can't wait test myself on the streets of Chicago."
Last Friday, he punched his ticket to his third Olympics with a third place finish in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Previously, he qualified for the 10,000 meters at the 2004 Athens Games and the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Games, where he was the top American finisher in ninth place.
The 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be Ritzenhein's first marathon since placing fourth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January in a personal best 2:09:55, leaving him one spot shy of making the U.S. squad. His return to the track and focus on the Olympic 10,000 meters will serve him well on Chicago's flat and fast course.
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon was built for a guy like Dathan," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "It's a track-like course and he runs with great rhythm and speed. What's even more exciting is that he's a hugely successful athlete who grew up just a short drive from Chicago in Michigan. He'll have a lot of supporters lining the course cheering for him on race day, especially with so many of our participants hailing from the Midwest."
After a high school career that included numerous state and national titles, Ritzenhein burst onto the world scene by winning a bronze medal at the 2001 IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships, becoming only the second American to do so. Success continued in college at the University of Colorado, winning the 2003 NCAA Cross Country title. Currently based in Portland, Ore., and coached by Alberto Salazar, he had his best year as a professional in 2009, when he placed sixth in the 10,000 meters at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in a personal best 27:22.28, set a then-American record of 12:56.27 in the 5,000 meters, and captured the bronze medal at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in a personal best 1:00:00.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Downers Grove 5M - 35 Years Old, Still Tough

The hills and humidity ganged up on some of Chicagoland's best runners Sunday morning in what really was a typical Downers Grove 5-Miler. The 35th annual event, back on CARA's Runners' Choice Circuit this year, proved to be difficult if you pushed too hard at the wrong times. A small but hearty field of 399 finised this year. The winner's circle belonged to Jerome Tharaud, 32, of Oak Park, who won the overall title in 25:51.5, and Kristen Heckert, 25, of Lisle, who was the women's winner in 30:03.4. Second-place male was Emisael Favela, 35, of Berwyn, in 25:56.5, and third went to Ryan Giuliano, 27, of Schaumburg, in 26:23.6. Second-place female was Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, in 30:52.5, and third was taken by Kristina Jennings Burgess, 27, of Mundelein, in 31:29.5. Hats off to the Downers Grove Park District for putting on another top-level race.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Byrdsong Run A Special Race

In the local race that best promotes racial and gender equality as well as non-violence, large fields showed up in Evanston today for the annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate. I so respect this race and what it stands for, especially in the world we live in today. In the 5K, Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, one of the top female runners in the Chicago area, won with a nice 18:11. Second-place woman was Mariana Trego, 22, of Chicago, in 19:08. She was followed by Erika Vazquez, 32, of Chicago, in 19:34. Matt Marol, 21, was the men's winner in 15:38. Next was Micah Beller, 17, in 15:54, and third went to Alec Dinerstein, 14, in 17:34. Masters wnners were Kayoko Hamamura, 51, of Chicago, in 20:40, and Christopher Travis, 40, of Evanston, in 17:40. And I can't leave out the 62-plus winners, good friends Nancy (22:04) and Carle (23:26) Rollins, of Evanston. There were 1,694 finishers in the 5K. The 10K women's crown went to Laura Papageorgiou, 25, in 40:52. Runner-up female was Debbie Ackerman, 44, in 41:02, and No. 3 was Jenn Terry, 18, in 42:26. Leading male and overall winner was Jesse Kleinjan, 28, of Chicago, in 33:18. Second was Jeffrey Pentek, 26, in 34:15, and third was takn by Andrew Leonard, 27, in 34:21. The top masters were Carol Wada, 44, in 44:05, and Mark Smith, 40, in 37:31. The over 62 winners were Linda Brown in 59:59 and Yakov Beyrak in 45:34. There were 697 finishers in the 10K. If anyone who ran this race is reading this, you are cordially invited to enter the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th (www.4on4th.com).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Terer, Rionotukei Win North Shore Half

I do crazy things, including the Ragnar Relay in hot weather, but there was no way I was going to run the North Shore Half Marathon on Sunday. It was very warm. But that did not stop 2,353 runners from starting and finishing this long-standing race in Highland Park. Another 917 ran the 5K. In the half, it was Kenyan-flavored as Geofrey Terer, 28, a resident of McDonough, GA, won in 1:07:13. That was just good enough to beat Patrick Cheptoek, 26, of Bowling Green, KY, who came in at 1:07:18. Third place was taken by David Tuwei, 33, of Coon Rapids, MN, in 1:07:26. Women's champion was Chemtai Rionotukei,23, of Lansing, MI, in 1:18:15. Second went to Rebekah Smeltzer, 22, of Lansing, MI, in 1:21:43, and third went to Amber Druien, 26, of Woodstock, in 1:25:26. In the 5K, Sean Choate, 21, of Chicago, won in 17:12. Caroline Hryczyk, 33, of Round Lake was the female champ in 20:42. This race has been around a long time. Those top threes in the half were among its strongest runners ever.

Rotich, Hattendorf Win Allstate 13.1

Sorry for the delayed posts, but I was occupied running the Ragnar Relay and then came home to an AT@T failure that kept me off the computer until now. Considering it was quite warm, the 4th annual Allstate Life Insurance Chicago 13.1 Marathon on Saturday along the south lakefront still produced impressive results. Sammy Rotich, 25, a Kenya native living in West Des Moines, IA, set a course record while winning the men's half in 1:08:02, while Lindsay Hattendorf, 28, of Crown Point, IN, ruled the women's field with a 1:22:40. The men's race was close as Phillip Metto, 36, of West Des Moines, took second in 1:08:10. Third place was taken by Emisael Favela, 33, of Berwyn, in 1:11:08. Runner-up in te women's standings was Meagan Nedlo, 29, of Beverly, MA, in 1:23:12. Third went to Caroline Bauer, 20, of Winnetka, in 1:23:54. Results show that 3,566 completed the course. In the Karhu 5K, Marcus Benzel, 18, won in a field of 378 with a time of 17:13. Christina Overbeck, 26, of Chicago, was women's winner and second overall in 18:19. For a wrapup, the story on the event's web site can be found at: http://www.131marathon.com/chicago/PDF/Chicago2012.pdf

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Half- Marathon Tidbits

The North Shore Half Marathon, the level-setter for all of the other area half-marathons, is this Sunday in Highlnd Park. Just a reminder for you. Also, today is the last day for on-line registration or this Saturday's Allstate 13.1. Finally, today only, you can get an entry discount for the Rock 'N Roll Half. Check web sites for details. Back to the 4 on the 4th . . .

Monday, June 4, 2012

Leaders Scorch Courses at Zoo Runs

Sunday's United Run for the Zoo was one fast day of racing for the leaders in the 10K and 5K. With ideal temperatures and a fast course with fast runners, the results were eye-opening to say the least. Let's start with the 10K. Brent Alexander, 31, of Chicago, lit it up, running a 32:19, but he had to because runner-up Geoffrey Marrion, 33, was close behind in 32:33. Third was Hector Lopez, 19, with a time of 35:55. The women's race was won by Jacqui Aubert, 28, of Crystal Lake, who ran a 40:18. Jennifer Hershfang, 19, was second in 40:54, and Sarah Gryzbek, 32, was third in 41:10. A total of 1,454 runners finished the 10K. In the 5K, the times were really something. Todd Ptacek, 27, of Chicago, won a close one with a very strong 14:55. Second in the same awesome time, maybe by design (?), was Matthew Blume, 30, and taking third was Jeff Hojnacki, 38, in 16:23. Christina Overbeck, 26, of Chicago (good to have her back in town) blistered the course for the women's tile in 17:16. Heidi Sarna, 30,was second in 18:07, and Laura Sanders, 25, was third in 18:25. There were 1,871 finishers in the 5K. I have not run the Zoo Run for quite a few years, frankly, since it was on the CARA Circuit. I do need to get back there. It's a classy, long-time Chicago race.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Emisael, Montes Take Titles at Roselle

If ever there were a "buenos dias" at the Sternberg Lighting Run for the Roses 5K in Roselle, Sunday was the day. Emisael Favela, fresh off a fifth-place 2:31 at the Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 20, had just enough in his legs to win with a 15:51.6 on a good morning for racing. Favela, 33, of Berwyn, just edged Mitch Gilbert, 20, of Roselle, who had the same time. Luke Bally, 20, of Roselle, took third with a 15:55.7. Favella told me before the race that he never had run Roselle and didn't have much turnover back in his legs after the marathon. Things turned out quite well for him. In the women's race, Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, took the title with a 17:57.7. Second went to CARA Executive Director Wendy Jaehn, 37, of Chicago, in 18:06.1, and third went to Mary Blankenmeier, just 12, of Oak Park, in 18:31.8. Roselle has a fun and fast course with a few twists and turns and few minor hills. It was really enjoyable to run it again after several years of not running it. As it always is, the fied was very deep with passionate talent. My special thanks go to fellow Elmhurst Running Club member and ABC-7 television reporter John Garcia for keeping me company out there. He had run another race the day before, the Runnin' With the Horses 5K at Balmoral Park in Crete, and was a bit tired. You can read John's report on the weekend at http://runningnewsguy.abc7chicago.com/2012/06/5k-mania.html .

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dorgan Runs 33:07 at Run for Animals

On a very nice morning to race, Patrick Dorgan, 31, of Glen Ellyn, won the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 10K in Wheaton on Saturday with a nice 33:07.3. Jacob Waterman, 20, of Wheaton, was next in 34:47.8, and Matthew McAndrews, 20, of Wheaton, took third in 35:20.6. The female competition was won by Katie Frederick, 11, of Wheaton in 41:56.2. Laura Gann, 17, of Wheaton, was scond in 42:33.5, and Lynn Kupczyk, 36, of North Barrington, was third in 42:53.1. Kyle Brady, 23, of Naperville, won the 5K in 15:16.1. Colin Fedor, 18, of Wheaton, was second in 16:26.5, an Michael Straza, 42,of Bloomington, IL, was third in 16:31.8. Kate Lueders, 22, of Naperville, was first woman with a 19:27.9. Second was Rachel Walton, 19,of Wheaton, in 19:45.0, and third went to Erin Herrmann, 17, of Wheaton, in 20:29.3. 528 finished the 10K, 1079 the 5K. See comment below on results.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jonaitis 1st, 4th at Ridge Runs

Best in show at the historic and beautiful Ridge Run 10K and 5K on Monday went to local elite runner Jeff Jonaitis, 31, of Tinley Park. Jonaitis won a very competitive 10K on the hilly layout in the Morgan Park-Beverly neighborhood on Chicago's South Side in 33:09 and followed up with a 16:03 in the 5K, good for fourth place in another very strong field. Second in the 10K was Ryan Giuliano, 27, of Schaumburg, with a 33:20. He then placed seventh in the 5K with a 17:02. How do these guys do it? Third in the 10K was Artur Bareikis, 25, of Oak Forest, with a 33:24. And how did he do in the 5K? He took third again with a 15:55! The women's 10K went to Lindsay Hattendorf, 28, of Crown Point, IN, with a 38:21. Second was taken by Helen Nuttall, 30, of Oak Park, in 43:10, and third was taken by Maggie Mulchrone, 23, of Chicago, in 43:18. Special kudos go to Charlie Kern, 42, of Elmhurst, who was th masters winner by a landslide with a 36:54. Moving onto the 5K, which included a lot of the 10K runners, Emil Bojanov, 27, of Chicago, took individual honors with a 15:38. Next across the finish line was Brian Hague, 27, of Chicago, in 15:51. Bareikis then took third in striking fashion with his 15:55. Women's 5K champion was Kathryn Hague, 24, of Chicago, in 18:24. Runner-up was Marianna Trejo, 22, of Chicago, in 19:58, and third went to Maggie O"Loughlin, 17, of Chicago, in 20:23. Total finishers with many repeaters were 831 in the 10K and 1.381 in the 5K.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ptacek, Teunisse Win Soldier Field 10M

From everything I've seen and heard, the Fleet Feet Soldier Field 10 Miler was a rousing success this morning. Temperatures were in the 60s, which is great when you're running 10 miles in late May. The field was strong and huge. The CARA Runners' Choice Circuit race had 12,907 finishers according to the latest results. The overall finish came down to the wire with Todd Ptacek, 25, of Chicago, getting the official victory in 55:04. Finishing second in the same time was Brent Alexander, 31, of Chicago, and third was taken by Jack Kafel, 36, of Oak Park, in 55:44. The equally powerful women's field was led by Shannon Ring Teunisse, 29, of Belvidere, in 1:01:25. It was close for second and third as Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, placed second in 1:01:33, and Kristen Heckert, 25, of Lisle, placed third in 1:01:48. I saw lots of nice photos and accounts on Facebook. I coudn't be there this year, but will run a low-key 10K tomorrow up in Door County, WI.

Tower Trot Does Annual Daily Double

The Western Springs Tower Trot has been around for a long time, and with all the races around, continues to be a special event for a lot of people. As it has been in recent years, it is set up so you can run both the 10K and 5K if you want in the "Double" category. In the 10K, Mark Holt, 19, of La Grange Heights, won in 34:36. He was followed in by Joel Schaefer, 45, of La Grange, in 37:12, and third place was taken by Chris Pusinelli, 19, of Chevy Chase, MD, in 37:44. The women's 10K was won by Samantha Kirkham, 36, of Hinsdale, in 40:42. Second went to Susan Duteau, 48, of Hinsdale, in 41:45, and third went to Erin Fort, 31, of Western Springs, in 43:27. The 5K was won by Mike Jansek, 21, of Western Springs, in 16:43. No. 2 went to David Ostendorf, 38, of Elmhurst, in 17:17, and third went to that same Mark Holt, winner of the 10K, who came back to run a 17:49. In the 5K women's race, Olympic marathon trials runner Kate DeProsperis, 33, of Downers Grove, won in 19:11. Runner-up was Megan Baganz, 35, of Naperville, in 19:20, and third was earned by Claire Costelloe, 16, of Naperville, in 20:26. The 5K had 816 finishers and the 10K had 311.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sunday's Madison Marathon Canceled

Heat concerns based on forecasts that could put temperatures in the low 90s on Sunday have forced organizers of the Madison (WI) Marathon to cancel Sunday's race. The half-marathon will go on, and marathon registrants will be shifted to the 13.1. Here is a report from the Milwauke Journal Sentinel:
Because of concerns about hot weather, the Madison Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, was canceled, officials announced Friday.
The forecast predicts temperatures to increase dramatically to a danger zone level by 10 a.m. and extreme danger by noon. Temperatures are expected to reach 92.
Full marathon registrants will automatically be entered in the half marathon.
"This was an incredibly thought-out decision to make," said Madison Festivals Inc. President Rita Kelliher. "It's heart-breaking for all of us, and we understand the runners' investment of training, fees and travel expenses."
Race officials who made the decision included the race director, medical director, course director and the board of Madison Festivals. Madison Festivals is the nonprofit group that runs the Madison Marathon. The decision was made in accordance with American College of Sports Medicine guidelines.
"Based on race organizers' 2010 numbers, when high temperatures overwhelmed many runners and overtaxed the race's medical team and city emergency resources, only 1% would complete the marathon in Sunday's predicted heat," said race director Keith Peterson.
"Canceling the race before it starts has a safety advantage for the community because experience from mid-race cancellation shows many participants continue to run on the course after cancelltion. This makes it difficult to track and manage runners' specific medical problems, and it further taxes an already overloaded medical system."
Kelliher said full marathon registrants will automatically be entered into the half marathon. Full marathoners who choose to run the half will receive a full marathon medal at the finish line. Marathoners can get their marathon T-shirt at the Runners Expo at Monona Terrace (Friday, 4-7 p.m and Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.) or have it mailed to them at their request postage-free.
Each full marathon entrant, regardless if he or she chooses to run in the half, will receive a $20 credit for the 2013 Madison Marathon, despite the event's "no-refund" policy. Runners will be contacted in June with further details.
In the half marathon, race officials cautioned runners who still plan to run on Sunday to slow their pace and take breaks in the shade and drink plenty of fluids. Six medical stations and eight water stations will be located on the course, along with medically trained personnel on bikes between stations.
The course will be open until 11:30 a.m.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Madison Marathon Might Be in Jeopardy

The Madison Marathon this Sunday (Wisconsin's state capital) faces a possible cancellation with the decision coming on Friday. Heat predicted to be in the high 80s is the problem. Coming a week after a controversial cancellation at Green Bay, this is a big deal. Tom Held, an excellent Badger-state blogger, goes into the story in detail at the following URL: http://theactivepursuit.com/in-the-hot-seat-madison-marathon-director-faces-cancellation-decision/

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Soldier Field 10M Close to Selling Out

So what's new today? Well, the Soldier Field 10-miler is down to fewer than 300 spots. If you want to run it, enter now. And the June 10 North Shore Half Marathon in Highland Park has announced fee increases, effective next Tuesday. Finally, there is a bit of a controversy in Green Bay over whether the marathon should have been stopped because of heat on Sunday. The Green Bay Press-Gazette even ran an editorial saying it was the right decision. I agree with the newspaper. If you feel like Googling, there are some interesting newspaper articles. Closer to home, hats off to Rockford's and Schaumburg's marathons for getting through the heat with no major problems that I know about.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Sun for Spring Marathon, Half Marathon

It was heated competition, or perhaps survival, on Sunday at the Chicagloand Spring Marathon and Half Marathon in Schaumburg-Busse Woods. What a tough day it was, but Robert Friedman, 29, managed a 3:03:54.3 to win the marathon, and Laura Jortberg, 45, was leading woman in 3:30:52.1. Second and third men were Brian Hurlbut, 35, in 3:13:29.5, and Dennis Petrushkevich, 55 (that's right), in 3:16:245.3. Second and third females were Ashley Dick, 24, in 3:33:58.7, and Erin Asgedon, 30, in 1:27:08.3. There were 255 finishers on a very difficult day to run a marathon. In the half-marathon, not exactly an easy race, either, 892 finished with Lionel Montenegro, 23, winning in 1:18:21.6. Women's winner was Jennifer Sagat, 29, in 1:27:08.3.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Heat Stops Green Bay Marathon

On a very warm and humid Sunday morning with a race that began at 7 a.m., the following is posted on the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Web site: Due to hot weather, the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon closed its course at 9:35AM. Those finishing after the course was closed will not receive an official finish time. More information will be posted to the website. Thank you for your understanding. David Tuwei, Coons Rapids, MN, won in 2:27.11, and Leah Thorvilson of Little Rock, AR, was the women's winner in 2:45:2. It is not clear right now how many people actually finished.

Season Starter 5K Ignores Oldies But Goodies

It was on CARA's Runners Choice Circuit, but Sunday's Seven Bridges Season Starter 5K in Woodridge bunched all of the runners age 65 and older in one age group for each gender. How can this happen? I have no idea. When I mentioned it to a race official, the person told me CARA knew about it and apparently it wasn't a problem. As an "oldie in training," I find it quite offensive. How would you like to be 90-year-old Frank Waldeck and get listed 20th out of 21 in the men's 65-99 category? The guy is 90 and beat 44 people. As I have told him personally, we will have a 90-94 age group for him at the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. Plenty of other men and women in their 80s were mixed in with runners in the 60s and 70s in the results. That's bad. I know CARA will get it right in its standings (with the exception of 90-94), but it shouldn't happen like this, especially in a Circuit race. As for the race itself, it was a hot, humid day with a fairly tough course. Mark Wehrman, 25, of Chicago, led the way with a very impressive 15:49.5 on a layout that included some fairly soft chopped limestone for portions of miles two and three and a couple of hills. Michael Cauley, 31, of Bloomingdale, was second in 16:07.3, and Christian Escareno, 24, of Chicago, was third in 16:24.9. The women's race also was won in an impressive time, considering the conditions, as Kristen Heckert, 25, of Lisle, triumphed in 17:46.1. Runner-up was Kristin Frey, 28, of Schaumburg, known for some impressive stairclimbing, in 19:22.1. Third was amazing Angelica Guerrero, 50, of Chicago, in 19:30.1. There were 423 finishers in the 5K. The accompanying 10-mile, run in equally oppressive heat, was won by Patrick Dorgall, 31, of Glen Ellyn, in 55:14.1, and Stephanie Wagner, 38, of Lombard, in 1:10:57.9.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Races, More Races, and Then Some!

One look at this weekend's schedule on the Chicago-area running scene is incredible. Unofficially (I'm bound to miss one), I see 20 events, including the Chicagoland Spring Marathon & Half Marathon in Schaumburg and the Rockford Marathon. There are a bunch of 5Ks, including the Woodridge Spring Starter, which is on CARA's Runner's Choice Circuit. There is no way to give all of this weekend's races justice on this page. To get a look at where you can go to race, check the Chicago Athlete calendar on the right. If you're racing, where will you be?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lightning Cancels Quarryman

My heart goes out to organizers and those who wanted to run Saturday in the Quarryman Challenge. The 10-mile and 5K races in Lemont were cancelled by the Lemont police because of lightning. No further information is available as for a possible re-scheduling. (See comment below)

Lyons, Foley Take Magellan Half

It's hard to remember a weekend when there wasn't a half-marathon! Saturday meant it was time for the Magellan Development Challenge Spring Half Marathon along the lakefront. Generally good running weather, temperature-wise, brought out a nice field with Kevin Lyons, 27, of Evanston, and Emily Foley, 28, of Chicago, taking individual men's and women's honors. Lyons won it overall in 1:13:40, and Foley bested the women in 1:25:25. Runners-up were Rodee Schneider, 30, of Madison, WI, in 1:15:08, and Marron Burke, 32, of Chicago, on the women's side with a 1:28:32. Third place finishers were Matthew Frey, 32, of Chicago, in 1:16:48, and Jordan Keich, 20, of Menomonie, WI, in 1:30:44. Notable in fourth place in the women's field was Megan Levin, 42, of Glenview, who ran a 1:31:17. Is Megan coming back after raising kids these past few years. For those of you who don't know her, in the not-too-distance past, she was a powerhouse at local races. A 10K also was run at this event. Full results for both are in the Chicago Athlete results to ther right.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quarryman Challenge Heads Up Busy Weekend

The rough-tough Quarryman Challenge 10-miler and 5K on Saturday top the list of many races in the Chicago area this weekend. The Quarryman is unique in this locale with small-town charm in southwest suburban Lemont and nasty hills to test your will and stamina. Race time is 7:30 for the 10-miler at Main and Julia Streets in downtown Lemont. The accompanying 5K goes off at 7:35 at Main and Fremont. Having run the Door County Half Marathon last weekend, also hilly, I am using common sense and not doing this race. Good luck to all who are and that your legs are fresh for the task ahead. I'll be taking it easy at Elmhurst Running Club's non-competitive Newcomers Run at 7 a.m. Have a good weekend of running and racing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4,000 Run Cinco de Miler 5M

Just when you thought the half-marathons ruled on a weekend loaded with races, the well-done Cinco de Miler, put on by RAM Racing, drew a huge field for the 5-mile race in Chicago. A total of 3,998 runners finished with more than 4,000 starting. Victory overall went to Mark Wehrman, 25, of Chicago, who won by a hair over Justin Jackson, 30, of Chicago. Both were timed in 26:39. Third went to Ethan Heppner, 23, of Chicago, in 26:46. Women were led by the amazing Angelica Guerrero, 50, of Chicago, in 32:34. Second was taken by Ashley Raymond, 25, of Chicago, in 32:37; and third went to Lucy Marinangeli, 29, of Chicago, in 32:53. Both top threes were close and the field was loaded with runners of all speeds and abilities. Nice job by everyone involved.

Soldier Field 10M Close to Filling

If you're on the fence about registering for the Soldier Field 10M on Saturday, May 26, I'd advise you to sign up. Organizers say it is more than 85 percent filled. It's a great event with a fun finish on the 50-yard line at Soldier Field. To sign up or to get info, go to http://soldierfield10.com/.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weasler Two-Peats at Door County

As you might know by now, I ran in one of my favorite races Saturday up at the Door County Half Marathon. The beautiful course in Peninsula State Park has a little bit of everything. The hills are rough but the scenery is spectacular. From a Chicago point of view, Annie Weasler of the Windy City won the women's title for the second year in a row with a 1:32:34. Also, Nancy Rollins, 65, of Evanston, won her age group by close to an hour with a great 1:40:09. Here is the official press release recap of the race.
First-time half marathoner torches course for Door County title
Brian Finnel of Forestville became the first Door County native to win the Door County Half Marathon May 5, finishing in 1:09:07 to out-pace last year’s winner, Dominick Meyer, who finished in 1:10:19. Finnel led three UW – Stevens Point grads at the top of the finishers list. This was Finnel’s first attempt at the half-marathon distance, one he is obviously suited for. His time was just 20 seconds off the course record set in 2008 by Oshkosh’s Jason Ryf, a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials. Finnel’s time was the third fastest in race history. Meyer, of Beloit, improved on his 2011 time of 1:12:25, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Finnel.
Annie Weasler repeated as the women’s champion. The Chicago resident crossed the finish line in 1:32:34, a bit off of her 2011 pace but still good enough to win handily.
Ben Schmitt of Burlington raced to a new Nicolet Bay 5k course record in the fifth running of the race Saturday. Schmitt’s time of 16:31 topped the record of 17:30 set by Joseph Guenther in 2008 by nearly a minute. On the women’s side, Hannah Lyons of Whitefish Bay posted the second fastest time ever on the course, finishing in 21:00, a time beat only by Bailey Wolf, who posted a time of 19:44 in 2011.
More than 1650 people registered for the half marathon, while another 580 registered for the 5k, a total increase of 230 participants over last year’s event.
Next year’s Door County Half Marathon will be run May 4, 2013.
For complete results, visit: http://onlineraceresults.com/race/view_race.php?race_id=24682 - racetop

Door County Half Marathon Top 5 Men
1. Brian Finnel, Forestville, Wis., 1:09:07
2. Dominick Meyer, Beloit, Wis., 1:10:19
3. Brad Seeley, Weston, Wis., 1:11:44
4. Rodee Schneider, Madison, Wis., 1:14:35
5. Tony Steeno, Traverse City, Mich., 1:21:10
Door County Half Marathon Top 5 Women
1. Annie Weasler, Chicago, 1:32:34
2. Mary Bolich, Plymouth, Wis., 1:33:22
3. Tammy W., De Pere, Wis., 1:35:16
4. Emily Bowles, Appleton, Wis., 1:35:35
5. Dawn Boynton, Rochester, Minn., 1:36:43

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Southwest Half Marathon to Wambua, Kitaka

The CARA Runner's Choice Circuit visited the southwest suburbs on Sunday as the fifth annual First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon brought out runners of all speeds for the annual trek on Route 83. There were 1,638 finishers with Robert Wambua, registered out of Coon Rapids, MN, taking first in 1:06:49 and collecting $1,000 in prize money. Women's winner, also worth a grand, was Doreen Kitaka, 28, of Palos Heights, in 1:18:14. Back in the men's race, Benson Chesang, 28, placed second in 1:07:33 and won $800, while Artus Bareikis, 28, of Oak Forest, took third in 1:13:09, winning $700. Second-place woman was a name from the recent past, Kim Miltz, 38, of Hoffman Estates. She ran a 1:23:16, good for $800. Third and $700 went to Jacqui Aubert, 25, of Crystal Lake, in 1:25:11. It looked like a strong field top to bottom. Congrats to all. The resuts are on the Racer's Hub site.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ausen, Hamstra-Wright Win Wisconsin Marathon

It was windy but a good day to run in Kenosha, WI, on Saturay at the Wisconsin Marathon and Half Marathon. Here are the marathon top fives:
CAMERON AUSEN 2:36:30
NATE CANTON 2:39:50
CHRISTOPHER SCHMIDT 2:40:37
MARK THOMPSON 2:42:36
SEAN LUEDKE 2:46:46

KARRIE HAMSTRA-WRIGHT 2:57:57
LISA PHILLIPS 2:59:06
PATTI KOURY 3:11:59
JENNIFER SKELLY 3:12:06
CAROLINE WETMORE 3:20:54
Half Marathon
DAVID GRAMER 1:16:22
ANDY RUFFALO 1:18:35
BRIAN UDOVICH 1:21:02
CHRISTOPHER BARRY 1:21:51
PETER OSENKOWSKI 1:22:17
DANNA KELLY 1:19:41
ANGELA KRUEGER 1:27:18
COURTNEY SUSEDIK 1:27:51
ELIZABETH BROTHEN 1:28:40
JENNIFER PFAFF 1:30:06

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wesley Korir Running Chicago - Again

For those of you who don't know it, Boston winner Wesley Korir (Chicago runner-up last year) will be back in Chi-Town this October to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. You might have seen the Sun-Times story earlier this week on his love for deep-dish pizza! At any rate, here is the official news release.

Wesley Korir Targets His Fifth Consecutive
Bank of America Chicago Marathon
After Stunning Victory in Boston


CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has announced that Wesley Korir, the newly crowned Boston Marathon champion, will return to run Chicago's fall classic for the fifth consecutive year. Korir is the first elite athlete announced for the 35th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 7.
Korir, a native of Kenya who attended the University of Louisville in Kentucky and still lives and trains there, was runner-up at the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a personal best 2:06:15. Even with his world-class performance in Chicago, Korir was a relative underdog this spring when he executed a perfect race plan in challenging conditions at the Boston Marathon, rallying from nearly a minute behind the race leader with five miles to go to win his first Major marathon in stunning fashion.
With two L.A. Marathon victories to his credit, Korir has a storied history at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. After paying his own way into the open field at the 2008 event, he started the race five minutes behind the elite athletes, yet still managed to record the fourth-fastest time of the day, catching and passing all but a few members of the elite field before posting a finish time of 2:13:53. The following year, Korir was invited back to Chicago as an official member of the elite field and placed sixth overall in 2:10:38. In 2010, he improved once again to fourth place overall in 2:08:44 before his break-through performance in 2011 that served as the springboard to his defining win in Boston. After the biggest victory of his career, Korir enters the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with his eye on the top level of the podium.
"We're thrilled to welcome Wesley back to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for the fifth year in a row, no doubt with a little more fanfare this year after his well-earned victory at the Boston Marathon," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "Wesley has proven that he's one of the best marathon runners in the world, but I am far more impressed by his humble nature and perseverance. He literally started his marathon career with the masses and now he's at the pinnacle of the sport. He's a true success story."
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is where I started my professional career and I am honored to return to this year's race, especially after winning the Boston Marathon," said Korir. "I love the city of Chicago. It's close to Louisville and I always have a large group of friends who drive up to cheer for me, which makes me feel at home along with the support from the local fans and volunteers. I come to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this year full of confidence that no matter who is in the field, they will have to beat me to win it."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Southwest Half Ready for 5th Edition

The 5th annual First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon is ready to go. The 7:30 start on Sunday will feature a strong field with some money and pride on the line for a large, quality field toeing the line for competition and fun. The race starts at Route 83 and 76th Avenue. The primarily east-west out-and-back course runs primarily along Route 83. As the race's Web site says, the course "weaves through gorgeous forest paths and flat pavement through the cities of Palos Heights, Palos Park and Palos Hills." It's anyone's guess who will win. Last year's men's field was led by the 1-2 Kenyan punch of Benson Cheruiyot and Julius Kiptoo in 1:05:01 and 1:05:05. Erin Moffett was women's winner in 2011 with a 1:19:27. I don't know if any of them are back. A lot of the area's best age-group runners wil be there competing for CARA Runners Choice Circuit points. Good luck to all.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dorothy's Run 5K (What?) VERY Front-loaded

For a small, off-the-radar race, Dorothy's 5K Run in Wheaton on Sunday brought out the heavyweights. Look at the top seven, which included the top three women in this event that had 50 people cross the finish line. Kyle Brady of Naperville won in 15:11.9, barely finishing ahead of Willy Kaul, also of Naperville, who ran a 15:12.7. Third was Ryan Giuliano of Schaumburg in 15:35.5. First woman and fourth overall was Jacqui Aubert of Crystal Lake in 18:18.4. Second woman and sixth overall was Kate DeProsperis of Downers Grove in 19:46.2; and third woman and seventh overall was Kaitlyn Ho of Arlington Heights in 19:57.7. Who was fifth? It was Chris Wehrman of Chicago in 18:29.5. Good to see you racing again, Chris! This was one of the more interesting races I've come across.

Halfs Breaking Out All Over -- It's May

The 5th annual First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon this Sunday in Palos Heights is the local headliner with top elites, great organization, Runners Choice Circuit points at stake and everything else that goes into a first-rate race. But the "Palos Half" is not alone. Other Halfs (or should it be the mathematical Halves?) this weekend include the Great Western in St. Charles, the Mini-Indy in Indianapolis, the Door County Half in Peninsula Park, WI, and other 13.1s in Ripon, WI, and, of course, Kenosha, WI, where the big Wisconsin Marathon and Half Marathon will be taking place. I'm doing Door County because we go up there all the time and I love the race. Sure, I'll put myself behind in points on the CARA Circuit, but hopefully, I can make up for lost ground later. Where will you be running? Which 13.1s have I left out?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ravenswood's Fleetest: Ptacek, Prekop

The 16th annual Fleet Feet Ravenswood 5K Run on Sunday was run in breezy but good temperatures for running. A total of 2,751 runners crossed the finish line at Wilson and Hermitage in another smashing success for this event that helps a local foot pantry and two high school student health centers on the North Side. The top three men were Todd Ptacek, 27, of Chicago, in 14:58; defending champion Jim Akita, 31, of Elmhurst, in 15:21; and Mark Wehrman, 25, of Chicago, in 16:04. On the women's side, Heather Prekop, 30, of Chicago, took top honors with a 17:41. Christina Overbeck, 26, of Chicago (maybe Portland, OR?), was second in 17:54; and Mariana Trejo, 22, of Chicago, was third in 18:37. Overbeck made it two runner-up finishes in two days, having placed second at the lakefront 10 on Saturday. Great job by all involved with this A-level race.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wiley, Montes Win Lakefront 10M

A strong south wind with temps on the chilly side made for a tough FirstMerit Bank Lakefront 10 miler on Satuday. The course for the CARA Runners Chioice Circuit race, included the Montrose hill this year. It was conquered fastest by Rob Wiley, 36, of Gurnee, who turned in a 53:43, averaging 5:25 a mile. Jess Kleinjan, 28, of Chicago was No. 2 with a 54:01; and Jerome Tharuad, 32, of Oak Park, was third in 54:15. Grabbing fourth was Emisael Favela, 35, of Stickney, in 54:18. The women were paced through this grueling event by Columba Montes, 32, of Chicago, who ran 1:01:28 for a 6:09 pace. Christina Overbeck, 26, who is listed from Chicago but I am pretty sure lives in Portland, OR, was second in 1:01:47. Third went to Blossom Marimpietri, 26, of Downers Grove, in 1:03:29; and fourth was taken by Ann Schaefers-Coles, 47, of Cary, in 1:07:26. Some great age-group performances were turned in young to old. Congrats to all who braved the conditions.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Illinois Marathon Saturday

Thousands of runners likely will be dodging raindrops Saturday at the Illinois Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K in Champaign. It's a huge event, so plan accordingly from a logistical standpoint! If you're running, best of luck. Make that training count!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lakefront 10, Ravenswood Pace Weekend

When it comes to late-April racing, two races stand out this weekend. The FirstMerit Bank Lakefront 10-miler on Saturday (CARA Runners Choice Circuit) and the Ravenswood 5K (should be CARA Runners Choice Circuit! -- my opinion) on Sunday, both first-rate events on the north side, lead the schedule. There are many races this weekend, not to mention good old training runs. Watch out for rain, but it looks like a good weekend. There is NO race-day registration at the Lakefront 10. I'm out of town, but I'll be ready for my next race, the Door County Half Marathon on May 5. It's a beauty if you have time for a bit of adventure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

OSF Heritage 10K Fast and Furious

Long on my bucket list, but a race I confess I didn't do again this year, the OSF Heritage 10K in Rockford on Sunday maintained its reputation as a small but extremely competitive race. The race for the overall title was taken by Nicholas Bowerman, 29, of Dubuque, IA, in 31:22. He had to be that fast to beat runner-up Ryan Giuliano, 27, of Schaumburg, who blazed to a 31:40. Third went to David Grames, 25, of Cortland, in 34:55; and fourth went to Rynne Gardiner, 35, of Rockford, in 34:58. Those are some nice performances. The women's side was equally tough as Shannon Ring Teunissen, 29, of Belvidere, took first place with a 36:35. Jacqui Aubert, 25, of Crystal Lake, was second in 37:54; Olivia Aranda, 39, of Rockford, was third in 40:44; and Jennifer Roser, 30, of Rockford, was fourth in 41:06. A total of 186 runners finished this event. Great job.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Great Day at Home Team Charity 10K, 5K

The Sox were out in Seattle, preparing for a 7-4 victory a day after Philip Humber's historic perfect game, but for Sunday, U.s. Cellular Field was hosting runners in the second annual Home Team Charity Run with the Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks offering runners charities to run for during the race. The 10K had the faster field with 958 crossing the finish line. Dave Strubbe, 30, of Chicago, crossed the line first with a spiffy 33:44. Second place went to Nathan Kennedy, 26, of Bolingbrook, in 34:17; and third went to Andy Nesheim, 30, of Mequon, WI, in 35:50. Women's champ was Alyssa Poremba, 20, of Bridgeview, in 38:53. Runner-up honors went to Angela Homberg, 40, of Downers Grove, in 40:35; and third place was taken by Erica Kim, 27, of Chicago, in 40:45. The accompanying 5K run/walk had 584 official finishers. On the men's side, Joseph Morad, 29, of Chicago, took first, and Allen O'Connor, 25, of Chicago, took second, but both had the same time-- 19:24. The first and second females were Rachel Ward, 17, in 22:30, and Jackie Shepard, 30, in 22:40. From what I'm told, it was a fun day for all involved. (Photo courtesy of Eileen Skisak)

Arbor Day 10K to Khat, Baldauf

The hills of the Morton Arboretum in Lisle sought out 1,161 finishers on Sunday at the Arbor Day 10K. On a cool, crisp morning with plenty of ups and downs on the race course, Wal Khat, 16, of Mooseheart, came in first overall with a 34:53.4. Second and third went to Doug Robinson, 41, of Downers Grove, in 35:02.1; and David Ostendorf, 38, of Elmhurst, in 35:32.3. The female competition was won by Stephanie Baldauf, 26, of Lemont, in 41:39.2. She was followed closely by Hannah Barbour, 18, of Wheaton, in 41:44.0; and Michelle Smith, 24, of Bloomingdale, in 42:20. It's nice to see 10Ks coming back a bit. That once was the most popular road racing distance.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

DuPage Human Race Won by 54-year-young Brandt

Just culling through a few results today, I smiled when I saw that two good friends were the winners at a low-key 5K in Wheaton called the DuPage Human Race. Overall winner in a time that seems slow for him was Barry Brandt, 54, of Villa Park, who cruised to an easy victory in 17:50. It's not every day that you see a race won by a 54-year-old. Way to go, Barry (Mr. Fast Track!). Taking the women's title was Stephanie Wagner, 38, of Lombard, in 20:17. Knowing both of them as well as I do from training and racing with the Elmhurst Running Club the past few years, those times are slow. Either the course was long or they were not going all-out. Barry or Stephanie, if you see this, give us the scoop. One other runner I know said in a Facebook posting that his time was slow. In other quick news today, Mike Popejoy of Wheaton was not in town for the aforementioned race because he was in Indiana winning the Carmel Half Marathon in a sparkling 1:06:29.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Master-piece 16:01 for Charlie Kern

Masters runner extraordinarie Charlie Kern, who is a true trailblazer at age 42, took an overall victory on Sunday, April 15, at the Hornet Hustle 5K in Darien. His time of 16:01.1 blew away the field. I'm really not surprised, but that doesn't mean I can't say "wow!" and be blown away myself just thinking about it. Lydia Wong, 23, of Chicago, was the women's winner with a nice 18:53. Congrats to both and to the race organizers. For all of of you who were there, please think about entering the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. Check out www.4on4th.com, and I hope to see you there! Again, congrats to Charlie, Lydia and the rest of the Hornet Huslers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hot, Hot and Hotter at Oven-Baked Boston Marathon

No one ran as fast as they wanted to on Monday at the 116th Boston Marathon. It's hard to just finish when temperatures are in the 80s, but a tough bunch of Illinois runners did the Hopkinton-to-Boston run and survived to talk about it. Leading the way on the men's side from our state were three 31-year-olds, James Akita of Elmhurst in 2:38:27; Andy Derks of Aurora in 2:43:22; and Jacob Klaustermeier of Crystal Lake in 2:47:00. The top three Illinois women were Loryn Kromley, 28, of Chicago, in 3:17:37; Sanya Syrstad, 46, of Glen Ellyn, in 3:19:50; and Tammy Lifka, 41, also of Glen Ellyn, in 3:21:26. Forget the times. This was a survival contest. Special recognition is due Dave Walters, 56, of Lisle, who placed second in the M55-59 age group with a 2:54:17, and Nancy Rollins, 65, of Evanston, who was third in F65-69 with a 4:13:20. As I said, forget the times. You don't run a fast marathon on a tough course in those temperatures. Wesley Korir, the winner in 2:12:40, is a 29-year-old Kenyan with Chicago connections. You might remember him as the guy who placed fourth a few years ago at Chicago while running as an "ordinary" runner and not as an official elite. After some debate involving USATF rules, he was awarded prize money by Chicago race director Carey Pinkowski. A runner-up finish last year at Chicago and a few other wins, and the rest is history. Wesley is on top of the sport. Congratulations to all who ran Boston today. This was one for the history books.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Giuliano, Cieslak Best at RTGFL

The Race That's Good for Life went off extremely well this morning in eastern Oak Park as thunderstorms moved through and got out of the way well before the women's 9 a.m. race time. The men raced at 9:50 with the kids race in between. Kudos to the Oak Park Runners Club for all of its efforts to make this race stand out year after year. The top three in the rugged men's field were Ryan Giuliano, 27, of Schaumburg, in 15:06; Mike Ptack, 25, of Elmhurst, in 15:18; and Nick Bowerman, 29, of Dubuque, IA, in 15:27. 1-2-3 in the women's race went to Kylen Cieslak, 23, of Chicago, in 17:59; CARA executive director Wendy Jaehn, 37, of Chicago, in 18:04; and Columba Montes, 32, of Chicago, also in 18:04. As always, it was a treat to run such a well-organized race. I wish I had more speed, but at the moment, I don't. There were 453 male finishers and 513 female finishers. The first two CARA Runners Choice Circuit races are over with plenty more to go. (Thanks to Eileen Skisak for the photo of Ryan Giuliano winning)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Half Prices Spiking Upward

The July 22 Rock n' Roll Chicago Half-Marathon price will increase Sunday (April 1) from $75 to $100. This is no joke. Also, prices (varying rates) for the Chicago Half on Sept. 9, will go up at midnight tonight. If you want to run either or both, get to those race web sites.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

33rd Shamrock Shuffle a Beauty

Great temps, maybe a tad too much humidity and a fabulous atmosphere greeted what turned out to be 34,352 (latest count) runners who crossed the finish line on Sunday at the 33rd Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, the largest timed 8K in the world. Downtown Chicago and Grant Park were Sham-rockin' as runners took over the streets in a fashion show of fitness. Leading the way in a tight front pack was Abdelaaziz Atmani, 30, of Indianapolis, who won in a spiffy 23:18. Second went to David Adams, 23, of Lincoln, NE, in 23:21, and third went to 2012 Olympic marathoner Abdi Abdirahman, 35, of Tucson, AZ, in 23:30. More top-tier runners were in close pursuit in a very deep field. In the women's race, Julia Lucas, 28, of Eugene, OR, took the title in 25:37. Next was Chicago favorite Delilah Dicrescenzo, 29, of New York City, 23, in 25:49, and third went to Diane Nukuri Johnson, 27, of Iowa City, IA, in 26:11. The women also had a powerful lead pack that went very deep. As for the rest of us, people were generally smiling in the finish area. Some ran faster, some slower (me) that a year ago, but it sure was fun being out there. Another special touch I enjoyed was the National Anthem, which was sung by none other than Wayne Messmer, who has thrilled audiences at Blackhawk and Cubs games for years. His rendition is the best. Enough said. Thanks to all of the wonderful organizers and volunteers who made this Chicago running spectacular very spectacular indeed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weather Looks Good for Shamrock

Based on forecasts right now, the heat will be gone and the rain will be over when close to 40,000 runners take off on Sunday morning at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. This is one of my favorite events even though it is very difficult to get your race number and to travel to the race itself. Once you're at the expo on Friday or Saturday and the race on Sunday, things are great. I've seen this event go through all of its re-incarnations over the years, and I don't think it's been better. I remember when it used to start and finish in the Foster-Montrose area. I'm at the point now where I just hope to hold a fairly decent pace and cross the finish line in one piece. Injuries are a constant concern, but that is part of being a runner. If you're running, good luck!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stars Come Out at St. Paddy's Day 5K

With perfect conditions, a huge field came out on Saturday for the St. Paddy's Day 5K in Naperville. The top three men and women turned in fabulous performances. I know Kyle Brady and Mike Spain from their 1-2 finish at last year's Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. Check this out:
FEMALE OVERALL RESULTS
Place O'All Name No. S Ag City Time Pace
1 10 KATHRYN HAGUE 1473 F 23 CHICAGO 17:03 5:30
2 15 LYDIA WONG 2017 F 23 CHICAGO 17:22 5:36
3 16 AMBER DRUIEN 2219 F 26 NAPERVILLE 17:27 5:37

MALE OVERALL RESULTS
Place O'All Name No. S Ag City Time Pace
1 1 KYLE BRADY 2215 M 23 NAPERVILLE 14:31 4:41
2 2 MIKE SPAIN 2220 M 22 NORMAL 14:35 4:42
3 3 WILLY KAUL 1733 M 25 WHITEFISH BAY, WI 14:37 4:43

Heat's On! Bareikis, Aubert Win at Cary

The unseasonable temperatures added to the lore of the Hillstriders' March Madness Half-Marathon on Sunday in Cary. In a race known for snow, rain, wind and lousy weather, runners sweated in temps not normal in these parts until May. The 34th edition of this classic and hilly race was won by Arturs Bareikis, 25, of Cicero, in 1:14:06.60. Female champ was Jacqui Aubert, 25, of Crystal Lake, in 1:26:24.30. On a hot day in March, that's movin'. Runner-ups were Rob Wiley, 35, of Gurnee, in 1:14:58.5, and Aneta Ziemianska, 31, of Streamwood, in 1:30:45.86. Third-place finishers were Marco Alfaro, 25, of Cicero, in 1:15:45.02, and Ann Schaefers-Coles, 47, of Cary, in 1:31:12.50. I'd like to give Ann, who has quite a running pedigree, a special salute. Placing third in that race with all that young talent coming up is quite phenomenal. There were 1,170 official finishers in Sunday's race. Another Cary half is in the books.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shamrock Shuffle Sold Out

Press Release
Registration for the 2012 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, the world's largest 8-kilometer road race, closed today when the 40,000-participant capacity was reached, matching the largest field of registrants in the event's 33-year history. Registration for the March 25 event opened on January 1. The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K is a tradition that serves as the kick-off to Chicago's outdoor running season, which will culminate with the 35th anniversary Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October.
"The popularity of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K continues to be at an all-time high and we're excited to get the running and racing season started on the streets of Chicago," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "This is a wonderful tradition for the Chicago running and fitness community-from competitive athletes, to local running clubs, to groups of co-workers, families and friends-to join together in a celebration of spring against the backdrop of this great city."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shobukhova Out of NYC Half

Two-time World Marathon Majors series champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia was forced to withdraw from the New York City Half-Marathon on March 18 due to a hamstring injury, the NYRRC reported today. Shobukhova, an early favorite for the Olympic Marathon in London this summer, was set to open her 2012 season at the NYC Half. There is no word if she also will withdraw from the March 25 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, which is likely to fill before the end of the week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shobukhova Running NYC Half, Shamrock Shuffle

Official Press Release
Two-Time World Marathon Majors Series Champion Liliya Shobukhova Gears Up for Olympics with Back-to-Back Races in WMM Cities
Shobukhova Opens Her 2012 Season Next Month at the NYC Half and
Chicago's Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K


NEW YORK/CHICAGO, February 22, 2012 - Two-time World Marathon Majors series champion and three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova of Russia will open her 2012 season at the NYC Half on Sunday, March 18, followed with a run at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago on Sunday, March 25, it was jointly announced today by NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg and Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle 8K Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski.

Shobukhova, 34, an early favorite for the Olympic Games Marathon in London this summer said of her spring trip to the U.S., "This Olympic year will be the most important of my career, so I am choosing all of my competitions carefully. The NYC Half will allow me to test my fitness and compete against some of the same runners I will face in the Olympic Marathon, while going to Chicago for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K will allow me to connect with all of the great fans and runners there on a course that feels like home to me in the city where I have had so much success. It's the perfect trip."

Shobukhova will make her third start at an NYRR event having last raced at the NYRR Mini 10K in 2011. Last fall, Shobukhova cemented her legacy in Chicago by winning her third consecutive Bank of America Chicago Marathon, becoming the first runner to do so in the event's 34-year history.

"Consistency is a sign of greatness and nobody has been more consistent than Liliya at the marathon distance the last few years," said Wittenberg. "We welcome her back to NY for her first steps on the road to the London Olympics."

Shobukhova will join other Olympic contenders Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila of the U.S. in the NYC Half. NYRR's flagship half-marathon, in its seventh edition, will feature a record field of 15,000 runners, a $100,000 prize purse and a new course traversing through Manhattan beginning in Central Park, going through Times Square and all the way downtown to the scenic South Street Seaport finish.

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K marks Chicago's annual kick-off to the running season. Shobukhova will be joined by U.S. Olympic Marathon team member Abdi Abdirahman as they lead the way for 40,000 runners at the 33rd annual race through downtown Chicago. The flat and fast course mirrors the start and finish of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in Grant Park, where Shobukhova made history last fall.

"Liliya has performed at the highest level on the streets of Chicago and we're excited that her road to the Olympics will once again run through our city," said Pinkowski. "The Shamrock Shuffle is an opportunity for Liliya to celebrate the start of a new season alongside the local fans who have supported her and will be rooting for her as one of their own at the Olympic Games."

There is precedent for a Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K winner to go on to win the gold medal in the Olympic Marathon. Constantina Dita of Romania, the 2006 Shamrock Shuffle champion (and 2004 Chicago Marathon champion) struck gold at the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing.