Author Archives: runguru


Today’s column is a farewell to my good buddy Jonathon Draper.  We lost him last Wednesday at a too young 52.  He was a big man with a big laugh.  An executive Chef.  One of the largest baseball memorabilia  collections ever.  His dad was a pilot for a major league team and that’s  how that came about.  His  brother was tragically killed when a car drove off the top of a parking garage in Seattle.  He took  care of his mom into her nineties.  A good guy all around.  He once cooked up 500 hamburgers for our trail run at Platte River State Park.  Was a fan of our work here at the Bar None.  I spoke with him just last week, plans to come see what we’ve done since his visit last fall.  And in 2011 he named a hamburger after me (for eating it!)  while at the Upstream Brewing Company.   I’ll miss my friend, prayers and meditations to his  wife and four kids.

Chef Jonathon.  Too soon.

*originally appeared in RGS, November 2011.
Will Burger
Amount Measure Ingredient
——– ———— ——————————–
1 pound ground chuck
2 ounces capicola
2 ounces mortadella
4 ounces monterey jack cheese
4 ounces spanish onion
2 ounces tempura batter mix
5 ounces french bread
1 ounce fresh tomato
1/2 ounce green leaf lettuce
1 ounce red onion
1 ounce mayonnaise
1/2 ounce stone ground mustard
1 ounce green olive
1/2 ounce cherry pepper
1/16 ounce extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces french fries
pinch teaspoon salt
pinch teaspoon black pepper
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 3055 Calories; 191g Fat (57.3%
calories from fat); 151g Protein; 169g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber;
510mg Cholesterol; 4888mg Sodium. Exchanges: 10 Grain(Starch); 18 1/2
Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 25 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.


Good luck to all the competitors at this weekend’s State Track Meet.  I hope Noah Ollerich Kunasek brings home medals in the 100 meters, long jump, and 4 x 100 relay.  The Flying Bohunk.  Sam, your turn will come.

Butchered 22 Cornish on Wednesday.  Freezer birds.  Duncan’s Poultry north of Missouri Valley.  The’ve built a store out of hand milled, 35 year old cedar telephone poles and it is worth the drive to marvel at the craftsmanship.  The 20 baby layers now holding their own at the feed trough, growing every day.  Money from them expected late fall.  Picked up 43 eggs yesterday, selling out now before produced.

Here’s some of what we’ll bring to tomorrow morning’s Village Pointe Farmer’s Market:


Bumper crop of spinach thanks to the cool spring.  Butterhead lettuces (80 each bed) flank to the left and right.

Fava beans.  Perhaps with a nice Chianti and liver?

Swiss Chard, fit for the Bard!

Curly Kale and Collard Greens.  The healthiest plates you’ve ever seen!

Linda planted 2000 onions in yonder four beds.  Tedium infinitum.


Garlic up and fine, scapes soon to be shooting flavorful garlic puffs skyward.

There’s fennel, rapini, broccoli, beets, carrots, radishes, snap peas, basil, cabbages, parsley, cilantro, kohlrabi, turnips, garbanzo beans, lima beans, butter beans, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, melons, summer squash, pumpkins, gourds, butternut squash,  potatoes, and so much more in our neatly trimmed beds.  All by hand, never any chemicals!

One of my favorite corners features close to 40 milkweed plants that I’ve carefully maintained for the last couple years.  Pollinators are our friends!

Potatoes on the far eastern fringes.  We planted 10 apple trees for our fledgling orchard, some right in the midst of our garden.

These happy little cluckers now reside in a more frigid clime.

Back where I  started.  Noah (grey shorts) is the only Ralston junior to qualify for state.  He qualified in the hurdles last year while attending Burke.  I’m thinking future decathlete.


We sat down for Sunday morning coffee with one of Nebraska’s most talented artists, happens to be Linda’s sister in law.   The talk turned to muses.

Muses.  Very few people possess, or are possessed by them.   Most truly creative people however will claim some relationship with their own.

Standing in front of her canvas of greens and yellows and an unbidden splash of pink appears.  “What’s this?”  And the creative process ground to a halt.  Questioning her own muse ceasing its presence in the process.  The canvas sat for months before hand and brush were called hurriedly back to the task.

The muse fickle as it is necessary.

I tried to explain the delicate relationship with mine.  How I sometimes sit at the keyboard with nothing in the can, knowing she’ll bring it, much like this morning.  How I feel a very real love and respect, even trust in my muse, that is the best part.

And how I’ve sometime tried to lead the dance- arrogant mistake to feel that I know better than her.  When I pound furiously on these keys, certain that my message Must Be Told.  And hit “publish” with not even so much as a cursory proof read or edit.  That is when she smacks me down.  Those are the columns I regret.    Works best abandoned or deleted all together.  All artists have regrets, we’re only human after all.

The deep discussion pulling back veils for me, providing better understanding and clarity of my own creative process (needs).   Bringing another depth of appreciation for my inspiration.

Writing and painting only two examples of creativity.  Of art.  Of muses.




Our USA 25K National Championships are  this weekend in Grand Rapids, MI.  Its my favorite race in the United States for 7 reasons.

  1.  It is perfectly timed for our USA developing athletes.  You won’t find Galen Rupp or Jared Ward or Desi Davila or Molly Huddle because of the proximity to Boston, London, Berlin, etc.  I’ve always contended that it is The National Champs race to cut your teeth on, if you are serious about testing yourself against  similar national level of American talent.
  2. The race accepts any and all serious racers.  You don’t need to be a big name to get your shot.  They’ve accepted two of our Run Guru Elite athletes for tomorrow’s race, neither named Wintheiser or Starbuck.
  3. Greg Meyer is the Elite Athlete Coordinator.  Winner of the 1983 Boston Marathon and the single biggest proponent of developing American runners in the U.S.
  4. The staff at Fifth Third River Bank has hosted this National  Championships since 1995 and they do it right.  Waived, seeded entry, ground transportation, meals and no detail to small to accommodate.
  5. The Amway Grand Plaza.  The magnificent host hotel, the epitome of treating every athlete like a world class runner.
  6. The course.  Beautiful 15.5 mile tour along the Grand River.  Wide open roads as it should always be.  You’ll never sell me on a bike path or sidewalk as a legitimate road race whether at the Friends of the Dog Pound 5K or a champs race.
  7. The competition.

We’ve got a lot of talented runners here in Nebraska that I think would fit right into and benefit from this race.  The Bigger Picture.


Team Nebraska alum Mike Morgan knows all about the 25K.   So does Olympian Brian Sell.

Greg Meyer has accepted so many of our Nebraska athletes.  Kevin Hanson makes sure that his club is always well represented.  We’ll be taking a new kit to Grand Rapids tomorrow but the message remains  the same.

In 2008 I toed the line and won the USA 25K 50-54 title.




Sometimes a talent so rare surfaces that it requires individual attention.  Not sprinkled with catch all philosophical season salt.  Not expected to jump through the same hoops as the rest of the circus.

You have to listen closely if you want to identify and nurture these exceptional opportunities.

You must step back and reassess your own paradigm.  It can be very difficult.  May require a certain swallowing of pride.

You stop learning and you stop growing.

Talent.  Rare.  Treat it softly or you may lose it.


Congratulations to our Liz Starbuck on the overall for the women at yesterday’s Invest In Yourself 5K!  Runners from all over the world had nothing but glowing praise for the cleanliness and friendly people.  Omaha done right!  #RunHappy


Loyalty.  Something that is to be held dearly.

Brooks Running has stuck with me and Linda through thick and thin.  We’ve entered our 10th year as member of their Pro Program.   From 2003 through 2012 they were the Presenting Sponsor of Team Nebraska Brooks.   I was able to designate 12 athletes for full support including flats, trainers, spikes, kits, jackets, podium gear etc.  We took their brand and ran with it.  I’ll always be proud that during those years TNB became one of the top USATF Elite Development Clubs in the entire United States.

A lot of changes in the last 6 years but I will always be proud of the athletes that represented my vision, laying the groundwork in Nebraska for those currently pursuing their own brand of excellence.

Run Guru Elite will be loading up the Invest In Yourself 5K.  Linda and I will be on that start line too, our first Real Race since September 2014.  Sponsored by Brooks Running, Borsheim’s, and the Omaha World Herald.  Our friends at Peak Performance administering the race.

Brooks Running, one of the main building blocks of elite level running in Nebraska.  And the United States.  As my old saw goes, I run in Brooks or I  run in nothing at all.

Run Happy and Giddyup!






Ah, La Leche De Madre, the sweetest of milk!   Growth dictates that you eventually abandon the teat and start foraging on your own.  Many whines and howls ensue.  Gnashing of teeth and biting everything within sight.  Sleepless nights too.

Our little Desi, reminding that separation is a natural part of life.

I’m going through a little weaning myself.  My own milk and honey no longer available.  The closure of our USATF Association Athlete Development Program last year was just a little hard for me.  Another program that was so very dear to my lips has grown up.  The USA Club Track & Field Championships is now being contested every other year.  Making its 2012 appearance in Omaha all the more historically important.  At least to me.  Two national programs I cut my teeth on no longer available to chew.  There was a lot of Nebraska in both of those, painted in vivid Red & White.

The USATF Elite Development Club program endures.  Team Nebraska.  Iowa RunAblaze.  Kansas City Smoke.  Our Midwest designees still carrying the banner.  Their own growth curves doing exactly as intended, spurring competition both regionally and locally.  Lincoln Running Company Racing proof enough of that.

I’ll miss the Lincoln Marathon for  the first time since 2000.  The Nebraska spring marathon standard bearer for the last 40 years.  They contributed so much to my programs and I’ll always be grateful.



Valley, Nebraska is a hidden gem of small town charm in Western Douglas County. Peacefully nestled between the Platte and Elkhorn rivers, just minutes west of Omaha. The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon was established to highlight the natural beauty of the community of Valley. In the process, we have found claim and fame as the “Flattest Closed Road Marathon in the World.” Our total elevation gain of only 21 feet is enough to draw national interest. It is the seven deep freshwater lake developments that will make your tour of Valley and Western Douglas County a run to remember! Our event management staff has worked closely with civic and residential communities to ensure a one of a kind marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay. The City of Valley will open its arms to runners from all over the United States and the world, Saturday April 27, 2019. We invite you to join us and run the race of your life!


Atlanta will host our most talented Nebraska marathoners for the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon.  February 29, 2020 is the date.  Start planning your competitive schedules and be sure to include your Very Best Opportunity to qualify.

The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon is set for April 27, 2019.  With a total elevation of only 21′  the race claims the designation as “Flattest Closed Road Marathon In The World.”

The event is working on the “American Challenge” which will reward US athletes for achieving the “A” standard (2:15:00, 2:37:00) or “B” standard (2:19:00, 2:45:00).  Training stipends along with overall prize purse should draw a deep national field for both men and women.   An unparalleled commitment to U.S. athletes will  be a hallmark of the race.  Something that has been so very dear to me for the last 20+ years.

Support for our U.S. athletes won’t end there.  Plans are to revive the  USA Marathon Road Relay National Championships for 2020.  According to Race Director Tristan Nelson the tour around the 7 lakes will have the 5K, 15K, 20K and 30K points certified in order to host the Ekiden style (5K, 10K, 5K, 10K, 12K) relay.  Bringing the Tasuki to Valley, Nebraska!

Congratulations to Zach Zarda of the Kansas City Smoke.  He popped a very  fine 13:43.73 5000 meters on the  track at the Mt.  Sac Relays last weekend.

The Ekiden is the national sport in Japan.  My trips to Japan (Chiba, 2002 and Yokohama, 2006) leaving an indelible impression.  Instead of a baton runners wear and pass a sash called a Tasuki.