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 (

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:

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 .

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.