Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blume, Giuliano Win Race That's Good for Life

Things really got fast at Oak Park Running Club's Race That's Good for Life 5K. The CARA Runner's Choice Circuit event drew a top field through every age group with Matthew Blume, 31, of Chicago, taking top honors in a blistering 15:04.3. He led 30 more runners under 17 minutes on a course that is usually fast, but not that fast! Second was Ryan Giuliano, 28, of Oakwood Hills, in 15:12.9, and third went to Rob Wiley, 37, of Gurnee, in 15:20.7. Four more runners cracked 16 minutes -- incredible. Women's champion was Jacqui Giuliano, 26, and wife of Ryan. She cruised in a 17:40.6. Runner-up woman was Pamela Staton, 26, of Chicago, in 17:55.6, and the sidebar of the day was third-place Mary Blankmeier, 13, of Oak Park, an eighth-grader who turned in a 17:59.5. Of the many other great performances, I have to cite 88-year-old Bob McKeague, of Villa Park, who told me he needed a 33:30 to make the 80th percentile in age-graded timing. He went out and ran a 32:32! I enjoyed the race, stuck to my pace and ran my fastest 5K on a certified course in several years. I'm not sure I could do that again, at least not for a while. Kudos to race organizers for another superb job. A total of 531 women and 490 men finished the race.

It's Sansevervino, Moody at Ravenswood 5K

Part 1 of the great Chicago-area 5K doubleheader began at 8 a.m. on the north side as the Fleet Feet Crew welcomed more than 3,000 runners to the Ravenswood 5K. When it was over, Cole Sanseverino, 24, of Chicago, and our city's "guest" celebrity Tera Moody emerged as the winners. Sanseverino led 18 runners under the 17-minute mark with a winning time of 15:21. Moody, making the most of her current stay in Chicago, won the women's race in a PR-tying 16:14, a week after she won the lakefront 10-mile. Runner-up in the men's standings was Brent Alexander, 32, of Chicago, in 15:22. Third in the deep field went to Douglas Maisey, 25, of Chicago, in 15:54. Second-place female was was Melissa Hardesty, 35, of Chicago, in 17:49. Blossom Marimpietri, 27, of Downers Grove was third in 18:53. There were 3,048 finishers. Great job!

Two Races That Really Stand Out

A pair of great 5Ks, The Race That's Good for Life in Oak Park and the Ravenswood 5K in Chicago go head-to-head this morning. That's a shame really because both are strictly top-shelf. Best of luck to runners, walkers and organizers in both of these races.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Moody, Berns Win Lakefront 10

With Boston's tragic events firmly on the minds of many, a field of more than 1,300 raced in the First Merit Bank Lakefront 10-miler on Saturday along Chicago's north lakefront. A bit of ice and snow over the first three mies or so didn't affect runners, many of whom were bundled up for the cold temps and wind. When it was over, Jake Berns, 27, of Chicago, had won the second Chicago Area Runners Association Runners' Choice Circuit Race in 52 minuts, 20 seconds. St. Charles native and elite-class runner Tera Moody, 32, came in from her home in Boulder, Colo., to win the women's race in 56:14. Ryan Giuliano, 28, and his wife, Jacqui, 26, of Oakwood Hills, both placed second. Ryan ran a 52:32, and Jacqui a 1:01:29. Third-place male was Thomas Frazer, 31, of Lake Forest, in 53:09. Third-place female was Columba Montes, 33, of Chicago, in 1:01:40.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Reid Seizes Moment; Uhl Cruises at 34th Shuffle

When Dathan Ritzenhein pulled out earlier in the week because of an injury, the floodgates were open as to who would win the 34th Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Already focused for a strong race, Philip Reid, 27, of San Luis Obispo, CA, broke away from Jacob Riley, 24, or Rochester Hills, MI, on the final Columbus Drive straighaway to win Sunday's race in 23 minutes, 8 seconds. Riley was right behind in 23:10, and Joe Moore, 29, of Minneapolis, MN, was third in 23:14. Reid's time was the fastest Shamrock Shuffle time since 2002.
Olympian Lisa Uhl, 25, of Des Moines, IA, took time out from her track training to hit the roads and won easily in 25:54. Melissa White, 31, of Lake Orion, MI, was second in 26:33, and Dot McMahan, 36, of Oakland Township, MI, was third in 26:39.
I personally enjoyed the race, and actually embraced the quick route switch onto Wabash on Mile 2. We got to run by Trump Tower, which brought back memories for me of when the Sun-Times building stood there. A man threatening to jump into the river at State and Wacker forced the late route change from State St., which I believe was a perfect wash distance-wise. As of this writing, there were 33,219 finishers. As I told race director Carey Pinkowski, I've been in 20 or 25 Shuffles, and I think this was the best ever.
Here is the press release from the race office:
Chicago Runners Ring in Spring at the 2013 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K
CHICAGO – More than 33,000 runners hit the streets of downtown Chicago to ring in the spring at the 34th Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Sunny skies and ideal running conditions greeted participants with temperatures in the mid 50s, making for a festive atmosphere on the race course and at the Post-Race Party at Buckingham Fountain. The first runner across the finish line was Phillip Reid, 27, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., in 23:08. The women’s winner was U.S. Olympian Lisa Uhl, 25, of Des Moines, Iowa, in 25:54. Reid’s winning time was the fastest run on the course since 2002.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day to kick off the running season in Chicago,” said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “After a long winter, we were blessed by Mother Nature today. The runners were able to take advantage of great running conditions. There were a lot of personal bests out there, and more importantly, it was a great celebration of running for the city of Chicago.” Reid was surprised to break the finish tape after U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein withdrew from the race earlier in the week. He earned a two-second victory over Jacob Riley, 24, of Rochester Hills, Mich. Joe Moore, 29, of Minneapolis, Minn., was third in 23:14.
“I wasn’t expecting to win,” said Reid, a member of the Asics Aggies elite racing team and a high school teacher who was spending his spring break in Chicago. “My teammates and I came out here to compete with the best and that’s what we did. Chicago is a great city.”
Uhl’s victory in the women’s race did not come as a surprise, but was no less impressive. The Olympian is focused on qualifying for this summer’s World Track & Field Championships in Moscow, Russia. The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K was her first competition in Chicago and her winning time ranks as the 12th fastest in race history. Second place went to Melissa White, 31, of Lake Orion, Mich., and the third place finisher was Dot McMahan, 36, of Oakland Township, Mich.
“I had a blast being part of such a large and exciting event,” said Uhl, who runs professionally for Nike and is an assistant coach at her alma mater, Iowa State University. “I am used to competing on the track, so it was fun to run with thousands of others in an event that is such a big part of the community.”
In the wheelchair competition, Chicago’s Adam Finney won his first-ever Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K title in 22:07. The women’s wheelchair champion was Chicago’s Diana Helt in 31:40.
The 2013 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K included the USATF National Club Team 8 km Championships, featuring 49 elite club teams from across the country. The spirited team competition contributed to one of the most competitive fields in event history. The Michigan-based Hansons-Brooks Distance Project won both the men’s and women’s elite club titles for the second year in a row. The men posted a combined finish time of 1:33:45 among their top four finishers (an average finish time of 23:27). They were led by individual runner-up Jacob Riley. The women’s combined finish time among their top three finishers was 1:21:00 (an average finish time of 27:00). They were led by the secondand third-place individuals Melissa White and Dot McMahan.
Rounding out the top three teams in the men’s team competition were the Asics Aggies Running Club from Central California (1:33:52) and Adidas/Team Rogue from Austin, Tex. (1:34:48). In the women’s team competition, Cleveland Elite Development from Cleveland, Ohio (1:21:37) and Adidas/Team Rogue (1:22:24) were second and third, respectively.
Before the race started, due to police activity along the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K course, a minor re-route was made. Race organizers worked with the City of Chicago to make the timely decision, which did not affect the start or outcome of the event.
The second annual Media Challenge featured nearly 80 members of the local media representing 11 different media outlet teams. The winning team was WGN’s Team Bair Feet, with an average finish time of 35:54 among their top four runners. In recognition of their winning performance, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K will donate $2,500 to their preferred charity, One in a Million: Dancing with Chicago Celebrities, a benefit to fight breast cancer. The NBC Cruisers finished second, and the Chicago Sun-Times was third.
Other notable finishers in the 2013 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K included Danni Allen, the Season 14 winner of NBC’s Biggest Loser, with a time of 38:43, and Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould, with a time of 48:26.
To access photos from today’s event, go to
Top 10 Male Finishers
1. Phillip Reid, 27, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 23:08
2. Jacob Riley, 24, Rochester, Mich., 23:10
3. Joe Moore, 29, Minneapolis, Minn., 23:14
4. Robert Scribner, 27, Rochester Hills, Mich., 23:17
5. Benjamin Sathre, 22, Chaska, Minn., 23:19
6. Ethan Shaw, 23, Rochester, Mich., 23:21
7. William Kaul, 26, Menomonee Falls, Wisc., 23:23
8. David Adams, 24, Austin, Tex., 23:23
9. John Sullivan, 24, Austin, Tex., 23:27
10. Sergio Reyes, 31, Los Osos, Calif., 23:27
Top 10 Female Finishers
1. Lisa Uhl, 25, Des Moines, Iowa, 25:54
2. Melissa White, 31, Lake Orion, Mich., 26:33
3. Dot McMahan, 36, Oakland Township, Mich., 26:39
4. Jessica Odorcic, 31, Madison, Ohio, 26:42
5. Tia Kool, 25, Austin, Tex., 26:56
6. Nicole Camp, 27, Willowick, Ohio, 27:14
7. Allison Mendez, 24, Austin, Tex., 27:36
8. Stephanie Price, 23, Minneapolis, Minn., 27:37
9. Rebecca Michael, 29, Akron, Ohio, 27:41
10. Sarah Boyle, 26, Brighton, Mich., 27:44

Friday, April 5, 2013

Shamrock Shuffle Oozing With Talent

The 34th edition of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K is loaded to the gills with top-level runners. It all starts with Team USA distance stars Dathan Ritzenhein and Lisa Uhl. You might have seen them in the Olympics if you were watching. Following them, or even maybe staying with them, at least early in this just-about 5-mile race, will be top club runners from all over the Midwest as well as from across the country. That's because this year's Shamrock is serving as the USATF Club Championship 8K road race. Throw in most of the top local age-groupers and thousands who will run hard and not-so-hard as an annual rite of spring, and you have one hell of a race shaping up Sunday morning in Grant Park and the Windy City's Loop area.
I scrolled through the team rosters tonight, and every big name I've seen recently in local and regional races is signed up to run. 40,000 runners of all shapes and abilities are registered, making this the largest 8K road race in the world. That means at 34,000 or more people are likely to finish this traditional "opener" to the outdoor running season. In truth, a lot of other races have been run this year, but the Shamrock is still the Shamrock. It's huge.
I have run this race countless times on countless courses over the years. I'm still excited and looking forward to lining up for another crack at it. The cold March has kept training on the slow side, but I'll bet we all rise to the occasion. The wheelchairs go at 8:28. The rest of us get rolling starting at 8:30.