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

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" 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.