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, 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)