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A couple of American Records went down this past weekend.  Courtney Frerichs assumed the Steeple torch in Monaco with a flat out fast 9:00.85.  Former AR holder Emma Coburn finished 4th in a still fast 9:05.06.

I know that Ann Gaffigan is smiling somewhere.  Our very first American Steeple National Champion and one of the fastest Team Nebraska Brooks females I had the pleasure of advocating for.

The Huesden-Zolder Meet in Belgium featured not only an AR but a show of American strength in the 5000.  Our favorite Shelby Houlihan rocked a 14:34.45 to shave almost :04 off Shannon Rowbury’s previous best of 14:38.92.  This was a :20 personal best for Shelby.  Tokyo baby!
But here’s the rest of our American ladies and what I’m really digging:
1. Shelby Houlihan           14:34.45
2. Molly Huddle                 15;01.44
3. Karissa Schweizer         15:02.44
6. Mariella Hall                   15:08.20
7. Vanessa Fraser               15:09.62
8. Sara Pagano                    15:11.27
9. Emily Sisson                     15:13.66*

Emily spent much of her early years as a Nebraskan.

Courtney Frerichs from the US poses beside the indicating board after setting a new women’s 3000m steeplechase Area Record during the IAAF Diamond League Athletics meeting at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco, Friday, July 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)


I held a very clear standard during my 10 years riding herd over Team Nebraska and the Nebraska USATF LDR program, and even now with Run Guru Elite.  I only deem efforts successful when shaking hands with an athlete that has been accepted into the “next level.”  As much Nebraska bluster that was generated, my deepest commitment was to developing national level athletes.

Turning farm country into a farm team.  For Keith & Kevin Hanson.  For Nike.  For Adidas.  For ZAP Fitness.  For Mammoth Lakes.

Here I go again.  Telling you gentle readers as founder and architect, that the original design and intent of USATF Nebraska, Team Nebraska, and all that might follow, was to elevate our state’s individuals to national level talent, national level opportunities.  

Mike Morgan.  David Adams.  Peter vd Westhuizen.  Angee Henry.  Aubrey Baxter.

It has been a long drought since 2012.  Tanner Fruit moved to Colorado for his  post collegiate efforts.  His name sadly not on our list.  Ashley Miller to Oklahoma after a single year at Team Nebraska.  Her name appearing only as the club’s 1 mile (4:49) and 3K (9:47) record holder.

Who then will next emerge from the corn?

The Bar None in 2013.   A metaphor for my  time in Nebraska.  When first arriving I found a bleak, undeveloped, uninspiring landscape.  Got busy with the most rudimentary of tools, busting sod by hand.  With a vision.


I don’t do anything half way.  The Bar None rising to the top.  Farm Team Friday.


The Nebraska running community will always be family to me.  Beginning with the 2001 USATF Nebraska Association meeting in Lincoln.  Then sitting president Frosty Anderson challenging me to develop a functional Long Distance Running component for our state.  Suggesting that I put on races to raise funding for the fledgling program.  Swamp Stomp, Monster Dash, Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Runs doing just that.  All proceeds benefitting my program and my club, Team Nebraska.

Then came the sponsorships.  Brooks Running the very first.  Clif Bar next.  Then the Lincoln Marathon.  Team Nebraska grew into my vision.  From 2002-2012 recognized as one of the top  USATF Clubs in America.  Like a father I was proud.

My USATF Nebraska family continues to grow.  I celebrate their successes.  I’m the grandfather now, unmet and unknown by many of my extended family.  The old guy that sometimes grumbles about the departure from the original vision.  But still proud.  There is always a new generation, new blood, new visions.  New talent.

The Bronfenbrenner Center for Transitional Research at Cornell University is conducting a study  on family estrangement.  Twenty two percent of the nationally representative sample pool report at least one family member is, for a variety  of reasons, estranged from the remaining family.  A telling mark on today’s society.

Know your USATF family’s past.  The sacrifices of those early USATF pioneers Linda Kunasek, Jordan Tucker, Matt Pohren, time away from personal lives for the benefit of USATF Nebraska.  Attending Nebraska annual meetings, attending the USATF National meetings.  Promoting Nebraska.

Our USATF Nebraska annual meeting is in September.  The national meeting is in December.  Nebraska has had no national LDR representation since Linda and I took Matt and Kelly Crawford to Daytona Beach in 2012.

With just a few exceptions (Wintheiser, Runde, Starbuck from Run Guru  Elite, Falcon from Team Nebraska) LRC Racing now holding sway over the state’s best athletes.  Doing what I did almost twenty years ago.  I  may not always  agree with what I see but I never fail to celebrate excellence.

2010.  One Big Happy.  Things have changed a lot but it is important to remember those that came before, came first.






Silly Rabbit!

The Marathon.  My personal litmus test.  The first question I’ll ask you if you tell me you are a runner.  What’s your marathon pr?

There is so very much more to running these days.  Marathon personal bests probably rank pretty far down on most people’s criteria.

But there are still those that choose to pursue that purest expression of  our sport.  26.2 miles.  The upper limit of Real Racing.  With apologies to and acknowledgement of everyone else’s own definitions of what constitutes excellence.

One of the fastest men in Nebraska History.  From 5 miles to the marathon.  Tim Dooling, maybe the only name that should be mentioned in the  same breath as Mike  Morgan.  In his 50s now.  We’ve been talking spring marathons.  My opinions on marathons after age 50 are more eloquently stated in this powerful thread at let’s run.
Marathon participation and performance post 50

Run them while you’re young folks.  The marathon is for you!




The debate rages.  In one corner USATF, in the other, those that poo poo USATF.  It isn’t that cut and dried however.  Those throwing the poo are USATF member clubs.  That choose to stick noses in the air at Certification.  To make a point.  To me.

The  race was however fully accepted as the RRCA Regional Championships without USATF Certification.  This is the difference between RRCA and USATF.  USATF has minimum standards for the conduct of their championships.  RRCA cares not about making sure the event is the advertised distance.

Why are they wrong?  Because you can’t have it both ways.  I received communications yesterday that I’m being negative by pointing out that the Lincoln Mile found no use in certifying the race.  And my wonder that such a deep talented field would  support an “ish” race.  And then my stern insistence  that those results are worth nothing outside the city of Lincoln.

The USA Masters 1 Mile National Championships will be held in Flint, MI on August 24.  I would  suggest that at 52 years old Stacy  Shaw’s 5:52 at Lincoln would be eagerly accepted into the National  Champs field.  If she tried to enter with her performance it would be rejected.

Shalaya Kipp ran a very competitive 4:52.04.  Katie Wetzstein right there in 4:52.21.  My many years as USATF’s Women’s Athlete Development Coordinator has me excited about those times.  How they would meet most all Elite Athlete Coordinators requirements for entry into the next level of  competition.  Except those times would be dismissed because the race was not USATF Certified.

Boy, they  sure showed me!

My buddy Darrell Crain said it best.  “Will, if I am giving my best effort I expect the same from race organizers. Occasionally I’ll run a small local race that I know up front doesn’t have the means to accomplish this. But I go into that race with a full understanding that I won’t recognize my result as accurate.”

So the question remains, why offer, or support, an inferior product?  Why?

I’m offering a possible explanation.  Perhaps the course was measured and submitted.  Perhaps.  Hopefully.  Still not showing up on the USATF national data base.

Caveat!  The 2000 Run For The Arts 5K was loaded with regional and national level talent.  I had designed and measured the course for Texas state records.  Submitted the paperwork but the regional certifier was out of the country resulting in a delay processing the application.  When I submitted the marks for acceptance as state records I was informed that there is no category  for “pending” certifications.  You either get it done in time or you don’t.  My race, my course, my athletes, all suffering for the lack of a more timely effort.  I learned  my lesson the hard  way.  



The Lincoln Mile was yesterday.   The  times were fast.  Checking our National Governing Body’s website did not reveal USATF Course Certification for the newly designed course.

If not certified I’m disappointed.    But even more-so, I’m curious as to how you athletes feel about your efforts not being legitimized through our national governing body’s minimum standards for acceptance.





Fourth of July Classic.   Wismer Budweiser Distributing Co.  Baytown, TX.
circa 1996

USA Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier Alfredo Vigueras took the race out in a very fast 4:30 first mile to capture the first $250 premium.  Olympic Trials Steeplechaser Jon Warren, New Zealand Olympic  Marathoner Sean Wade, Horacio Salgado (Mexico) and Jose Iniquez of San Antonio fast upon Alfredo’s heels.

Mile two passed in 9:12 and this time it was Warren to claim the $250 premium.  Mile 3 blew by in 13:57 with a strong surge by Wade collecting the first of his cash incentives.  Still a tight pack of 4 chasing runners through in 14:00.  Wade putting the hammer down with a 4:30 4th mile (18:27) to claim the final bonus.

The top 5 fellas battling it out for some Real Prize money.  $3000 overall prize purse  ($1200-800-500-300-200) to be split between the top 5 runners.  $1000 in mile premiums.  $1000  to the first runner under the course record of 23:16.  Same money for the ladies.

Wade coming up the final stretch.  I’m at the finish line exhorting a remarkable run, sub 23:00 a real possibility.  He slows, to a jog, and then a mere trot.  The ticks go by, he steps across the line in 23:15.  New course record by a mere one second.  “What the hell Sean?”  And he tells me that he’ll be back next year to run 23:14.

The mid 1990s.  When Racing was Real, and shorts were short.  L to R standing, Willie Martin, your scribe and elite athlete coordinator, Bobby Nygard,  Joel “Pepe” Moyer.  Seated, Pete Cote and Ralph.  This small road race management committee put on The Heatwave 5 Mile for a quarter century.




Thank goodness for the press.  Above the fray.  Where angels fear to tread.  Calling it like it is.

The early ought  genesis of this column was comparing local talent.  Having the balls to name names.  Hurt some feelings, bruised some egos.  Repercussions still reverberate.

My 2018 men’s mid year talent report.  Road and Track only.  Grant Wintheiser on the injury shelf skews things considerably.  What is clear is that Johnny Rutford has established himself as this year’s Class of Nebraska.  Leading his LRC Racing mates and every other Good Life athlete.  Peter Falcon (Team Nebraska) is not far behind.  Our two best athletes.  Honorable mentions to Al Sanabria (unattached), Nolan Border (LRC), and Nolan Zimmer (LRC).  I’d like to send those 5 to Club Cross this year.


Nolan Border, Peter Falcon, Al Sanabria, and Johnny Rutford at May’s Lincoln Half Marathon.

Class A All Sports

Class B All Sports

Class C All Sports

Class D All Sports

UNL Athletic Department Ranks 23rd Nationally



Everything happens for a reason.  Everything happens in its season. Reflecting on circumstances that led to our life at the Bar None.   The Happiest time of my life.  Not sure if it is ironic or funny how the most painful separations can blossom into such opportunity.   This is not the Bar None story though.

This is about the Valley 7 Lakes Marathon.    Why and how it came about a compelling story.  The voice in this blog shutting a yonder window.   That closure allowing the birth of something new and better.   The stuff of my dreams.  Thirty five years of road race management leading to this.   This is not the Run Guru  story though- at 60 too old (!), too far out of touch (!!!),  to be the Real Leader of this movement.  Content to sit on the side in an Executive Director capacity.  Linda, Co-Race Director.  Our Chief Legal, At-Large, and Medical Directors also in our age group.

Our Young Road Race Management Committee, this is their story.
Tristan Nelson, Race Director.  Age 21.
Rocky Pryor, Communications Director.  Age 22.
Devon Hall, Graphics.  Age 21.
Maddie McCarvill, Volunteer Coordinator.  Age 22.
Matt Copeland, Operations Director.  Age 21.
Dan Maline, Sponsorship Coordinator.  Thirties.

We all live within a couple miles.  A local effort to benefit our community.  We meet weekly at the Bar None and monthly at our race director’s digs.  My greatest joy now mentoring.  This group of energetic youngsters giving 100% buy in to the vision of the race.

The opportunity for everyone to run to their potential.

Wide open roads.  No sidewalks.  No bike paths.   Flat, Fast, USATF Certified and Sanctioned.  Your best marathon, for first timers, for those seeking a pr or Boston qualifier.  Half Marathon.  2019 Nebraska State Marathon Road Relay Championships.  Prize money.  American Challenge bonus money for our USA Olympic Trials qualifiers.  2020 USA Marathon Road Relay National Championships.

Old School expectations embraced by our Valley 7 Lakes Marathon Youth Movement.