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

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

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

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.