For the last six months a small band of runners have presented themselves to the flames.  Calmly, coolly, requesting more fuel for the fire.  Why you may ask?  Because we must we will say.  The Valley City Hall is our bed of coals.  And we want the heat turned all the way up.  Frying away all the fat and fluff.  Nothing remaining but hard, lean, purpose.

Putting on the Valley 7 Lakes Marathon is a labor of love.  For our sport.  For our  community.  For you.   Major Announcement next Wednesday morning.

Look, there is a reason that marathons are difficult.  More work than you want to do.  But you do it.   Answering every single question, and then requesting that they dig  deep for  more.  To prove our intentions and abilities.  Helping us to dial in our efforts to make this one of the best marathons in the United States.  But it takes more than questions and answers.  It takes support, and you’ve got to hustle for it.

I spent all day yesterday tracking down final leads.  We are running through the  7 deep water lake communities within Valley and we need all of their support.  Our local committee determined, meeting with each homeowners association.  Doing this right.

After 35 years in the road race management business I’ve learned there is nothing more important than buy in.  From the top.  To the bottom.  It was a pleasure to speak to my old  buddy Hal Daub.  He’s on board 100%.  It was a treat to speak with the Chair of the Douglas County Commissioners.  They remember 2012 and the  USA Club National Championships at Burke.  All in as well.

Still a lot of work to do.  For you.  But our soles are ready.

Hal and I did Good Work together with the Big Blue Run for prostate cancer awareness.  Hal a survivor and an important cause for me and every man.  We appreciate his support of our efforts in Valley.

Hal fires the starters pistol and provides one of my favorite race photos ever.



One will be born.  A youth, clean, pure, unsullied by common labor.  His Destiny Bestowed.

Such arrived on the front porch of the Bar None three years ago.  A student.  A Protégé.  A young Guru.  Taking his lessons.  Training mind and body.  Embracing Duty and Vision.

The World moves.  And moves on.  The Real Running Spirit will never die, rather passing to the Deserving One.  

Youth.  The World belongs to them.

The greatest lesson the master passes is the Certainty of Transition.  The Student must pass all worldly knowledge to his own charge.

At 60 years old I am at that point of tutoring mine.   40 years experience to pass to my eager and willing pupil.

The  Future.  Built upon the Past.

I’ve spent almost 20 years in the Omaha Metro.  Have committed myself to the running community  with a wide swath of excellence, potential realized, and individual success.  As an athlete.  As an administrator.  As an advocate.  As a Dreamer.  As a Teacher.

Knowing when to hand over the reigns is the surest indication of a worthy teacher.  My Hubris, while seemingly inestimable, steps back when considering the Good of the Community.  I’ve found my young Buddha and am passing a life’s work to him.  And He is Worthy.

And you will know him by his headband.  The Chosen One.





Very rarely do I dip into politics.  I keep most of my inclinations pretty close to the chest.  What I will reveal is that it matters not whether elephant or ass.

One of the most  polarizing topics in our society, and timely (tick tock, tick tock) with today’s scheduled execution of Carey Dean Moore, is the death penalty.

Living in Texas for a quarter century gives me a certain perspective.  As comedian Ron White quips, “In Texas they have an  express lane” for convicted killers.  That state has put 553 inmates to death since 1980.

I’ve watched with interest the battles over the drug cocktail that will be administered at 10:00 this morning.  Procured through nefarious channels, championed by our state’s governor.  A shadow of conspiracy cast over the entire process.  My friends from around  the rest of the country submitting queries as to how this could go on here in the Good Life.   I have no Good answer.



The idea was floated earlier this year to revive the Bar None Beer Mile.  Linda and I decided to throw it together yesterday.  A good group of suds loving runners toed the line and anxiously awaited the shotgun start.  Seventeen minutes later all were in and for the first time in the history of  the event, no chunks blown, no heaving, no barfing, no technicolor yawns, no driving the porcelain bus.  The bucket named in honor of Jimmie “Lucky” Doherty  dry as a bone.

Many were called, few answered the call.

The race is run on my USATF “Bar None Calibration Course” quarter mile.  Shotgun start.  #tradition

Club 402 had a robust representation. Jake Muller proved the adage that the Beer Mile is a great equalizer. First down the gullet, first down the road.

Tim Fry (L) and Mike Bickley chug a lug as Robert Borer  comes to the half way point.

Mike Reilly ran a Beer Mile personal best sporting his plaid kilt.

The fellas went back to run in women’s champ Brandy Sampson.

Winner of the coveted “Bar None Stein”, Brandy adds her name to a rarefied list.

Tim Fry accepting his Stein.  Bar None Beer Mile hosted by Bar None Produce.  Linda and I cooked up enough good grub to send everyone home well fed, and sober.

  1.  Tim Fry          8:54
  2. Robert Borer 9:10
  3. Mike Reilly    9:19
  4. Mike Bickley  12:20
  5. Jake Muller    12:43
  6. Blaine Schmidt  12:47
  7. Kelly Perry          12:48
  8. Jimmie Doherty 16:59
  9. Brandy Sampson  18:20
    Jill Taylor- DNF



When I was so very younger and much more brash I held little regard for the opinions of the geriatric set.  My Chutzspa completely dismissive.  What could some old bag of bones possibly contribute to the amazing future that would be my life?  My arrogance prompting sneers of disrespect.  My hubris knew no bounds.  I missed out on a lot.

And now I am what my youth did poo poo.  With the perspective of six decades.  Man was I off base.  So much to know in this world.  So much to learn.  Every day added to your life’s tally should also include growth, intellectual and spiritual.

Here is one thing I have become certain of in this life.  I’m an heirloom runner.  Not the glossiest on the shelf.  Unpolished.  Doesn’t like to be handled much.  A few dimples and bumps and cracks and brusies.  And absolutely delicious!

An Old Running Soul.  A spirit imbues me.  Bestowed by those that came long, long before me.  Something has been passed down, I’ve accepted it with my whole life.

If we have a chance to meet and talk, listen closely.  I may be passing something along very special.


1) A piece of property that descends to the heir as an inseparable part of an inheritance.
2) Something of special value handed down from one generation to another
3)  a variety of plant that has originated under cultivation and that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals

These are the very best tasting tomatoes.  I’ve harvested seeds from a couple every year for the last five seasons.  And planted those.  Hoping to save the True  Variety.  The Real Variety.   The Heirloom.



Jed is the same age as Linda in dog years.  We rescued him from the Pawliday Inn down Hastings way in March 2012, already two plus and a hard couple at that.  Tri Colored Treeing Walker Coon Hound.  Most beautiful example of the breed.  Human like eyes.  Knucklehead.

Food aggressive, would spare no sympathy should I attempt to intercede his gluttony.  Head of Security at Bar None.  Reluctant, patient and unexpected mentor for our young Desiree.  Teaching her his ways, revealing a trace of hound in her own bloodline.  Aha!  She too a Knucklehead.

Young Desi and our dear sweet resurrected barn cat Natalie had their vet appointments last week, girls day out.  Desi to follow up next week for her date with a barren uterus, enough puppies in this world.

It was Jedediah and Natlie’s twin brother King, (“El Rey”, 3 1/2 years, both black as coal) who were on the good doc’s docket Tuesday afternoon.    King easy as albacore pie.  Jedediah, oh my.

In for rabies shot and a manicure.  A little heads up from Linda that Jed doesn’t play well with those touching him uninvited.   An attempt to muzzle his taut 83.5 pounds by three experienced vets, including one former state wrestling champ, grappling the hound for the next quarter hour, poop and pee and blood everywhere.  Two of three, including well muscled mister suffering wrath and tooth from the fiercely independent hound.

In the end it was decided to not trim his nails.  My simple food reward distracting long enough for the shot.

Fierce independence.  Absolute Independence.  Don’t take no mess.   Jedediah Unchained.



Linda and I  still like to get out occasionally.   Sharing mutual interests.  Saturday night we visited Fremont.  Some crappy food at La Hacienda (I couldn’t chew the Carne Asada).  And then on to Bomgaars to peruse all manner of hardware.  But it was the Fremont HS Alum 5K, gun at 7 pm, that had us out past our typical curfew.   Fremont, hotbed of talent, don’t doubt it.

Proud heritage out of Jon M. Appleget Field.

Chris and Ashley and Hector from run nebraska setting up the finish, must be tall enough to accommodate Andrew Jacob!

Steve Schultz remembers the two sub four minute performances from the 2008 Omaha Mile.  And I remember too.  Steve ran 4:40 that year.

Some fast young fellas lined up for the Alum portion of the evening’s races.

CJ Martinez led from start to finish.

CJ and Andrew Jacob battled throughout with the decisive finish kick the difference.  Youth not to be denied!


It fills me with great joy and a certain pride to present  the following.  Just a little longer blog today but please do read in full.

I moved to Joliet, Il in 1990 and took some classes at Joliet Jr. College.  The Director of the Wellness Center was a lean fella named John Peterson.  This is the tale of  our intersection.

John was coaching a precocious young lady from Plainfield HS (Jenny Lisy)  and asked if I  would join in some of her workouts.  My very first introduction to coaching.  Culminating in her becoming Plainfield’s first female all state runner by finishing 7th (11:19.79, school record) at the 1991 Illinois 2 Mile State Champs.  Jenny came from a background that offered no opportunities.  Her accomplishment that season earned her a scholarship to the University of Iowa.

John Peterson revealed to me the satisfaction of helping others achieve their potential.  My coaching career has undergone many mentors since 1991 but John lit the fire that has kept me going for the last 27 years.

I knew back then that John was a stud 5000 runner in the mid to late 1960s.  I also knew that he earned his Doctorate from the University of  New Mexico.  And that his mentor and colleague was Joe Vigil.  They established a life long friendship that holds true today.

John sent me an email earlier this year, asking for me to give him a call.  I hadn’t heard from him in 20 years so was very happy to oblige.  We spoke of old times, our family’s, our lives.  He told me that he was attending a reunion this summer, something very special to his career and to our sport.  I  reached out again yesterday seeking his blessing for this story and John was gracious enough to offer the following:

“The 2 day event was a gathering of world record holders, American record holders, Olympians, Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medalists, as well as international mountain runners. Other than the Olympics, I believe, this gathering had more veteran distance runners that set the pace for the American running revolution. Deena Kastor and her husband gave one of the best running presentation for 300+ running enthusiasts that I have ever heard. Adams State University put on a once in a lifetime celebration commemorating the first American Olympic Marathon trials 50 years ago (1968). All participants in the trial 50 years ago were invited. I was one of those who ran in the trials. We were treated as pioneers in the running movement. By the way, Adams State University leads the NCAA division I and II with 54 national men’s/women’s cross country/track and field championships.

Front row, left to right:
Frank Shorter, Kenny Moore, George Young, Billy Mills, Joe Vigil, Steve Gachupin

Back row:
Bob Deines, Dave Costill, Bill Clark, Amby Burfoot, Bill Clark’s wife, who was a marathon princess, Hal Higdon, John Peterson, Tom Heinonen, and I think Jan Frisby.

At the banquet there were many other runners. The picture was taken at a video taping session where each person talked a few minutes. Amby Burfoot took the video for historical purposes!”

I still have John’s hand written training philosophy and ten week outline for Jenny.  And a friendship that has lasted almost 30 years.


The mileage is consistent this summer.  Consistently low.  Every attempt being made to get out at least twice a week.  Four and a quarter yesterday morning felt fine.  I want to run more and will be able to soon enough.  August knocking on the Bar None’s door.

I pulled 4000 pounds of tomatoes last year.  I might pull 400 this year.  Sold thousands of peppers last, maybe a couple hundred this.  The difference?  I usually take things to the extreme if I’m going to do something.  To fully immerse ourselves in the  prairie/peasant lifestyle the garden was set into the natural field this year.  No tiller.  Pulling weeds over sixteen thousand square feet.  Every day.  Some days ten to twelve hours bent.  So I can say we are different and probably better.

Overwhelming work.  What to do?  The  Zen of the Core.  Converting Labor into opportunities to stretch and reach and balance and exert and do Good Work.  Both Linda and my upper bodies solid.  Check out your local farmer’s market.  You won’t see very many overweight farmers.

Brian and Rose Bergt might be the strongest pound  for  pound people I know.

I graduated high school in 1975.  The day after my birthday that year I shared a ritual that was common among my peers.  Returned from work to find my worldly possessions neatly and lovingly stacked in the driveway.  It really used to be that way.  Instilling a Core Value  that has lasted a lifetime.



Thanks to USATF Certified Athlete Agent Christopher Mengel for the cue.

The pursuit of potential realized has inspired me to keep at this sport for over 40 years.   Excellence as Real Runners.  My own and yours too.  One avenue is to expose the community to the very best examples of our discipline.

For the last 10 years I have brought as much national level talent as I possibly can to Nebraska.  To clarify the difference.  To highlight the similarities.  To hopefully inspire.  I’ll continue as long as my zip starts with a 6.

Patrick Rizzo and Zach Hine are entered into and training up for this fall’s Chicago Marathon.  Both have already achieved the 2020 USA Olympic Marathon Trials standard of 2:19:00.  Both are athletes that have displayed their prowess here in Nebraska.  Patrick the 2016-2017 winner of our Nebraska Trail Half Marathon.  Zach turning in his 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier, 1:04:48 at the 2014 Freedom Run Half Marathon right here in Valley.

These goofballs are the same as you and me.  Only different.  photo credit Christopher Mengel