Monthly Archives: January 2012


I hardly know where to start with this guy so I’ll plunge right in:

He’s made a Huge impact in Nebraska.  His training has been used by most of the Team Nebraska distance corps, former Team Nebraska distance athletes, and is trickling down to those that have never even heard of him, until today.

That doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Born July 11, 1941 in Muirkirk, Scotland.  Personal bests:  800 meters- 1:50.2, 1500- 3:48, Mile- 4:07.  One of the first Scots to receive an athletics scholarship to the United States- Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas (aka Pecker Tech, I also attended there from 1987-1990).   Upon his arrival at Lamar he found the football coach was also head track coach.  He began training himself and the rest of the middle and distance runners.

Best performance:  1963 Meet of Champions Mile where he won and defeated Jim Ryun, running his pr 4:07 in 90 degree heat.

In 1963 Jim finished 2nd at the USATFF (US Track & Field Federation) Cross Country National Championships.  He ran the 10K course in 30:17 (#11 below) being beaten only by Olympian Tom O’Hara’s (#22) 30:12.

Jim was a 1964 hopeful for the Olympics for his native Scotland but the rigorous competitive schedule at Lamar left him tired and unable to peak at the right time, that dream would never be realized.  But he would make an impact on many future Olympians with his training knowledge.

In the photo below Jim (black singlet and visor) leads former 800 meter WR holder and 1972 800 meter Olympic Bronze medalist Rick Wolhuter in a mile race, 1974.  Both competed for the Chicago Track Club at the time.

In 1975 Jim moved to Houston.  He and 1956 Olympic 10000 Bronze Medalist Allan Lawrence formed the Houston Harriers.  Of note to Nebraskans, Olympian Leonard Hilton ran for the Harriers before coming to Omaha and working for several years.  Team Nebraska is modeled after the Harriers, excellence being the standard.  It was at this point that Jim began his legendary coaching.  Following is a list of Olympians coached by Jim:

1984, Midde Hamrin, Sweden, Marathon (Midde also attended Lamar)
1996, Justin Chaston, Great Britain, Steeplechase
1996, Sean Wade, New Zealand, Marathon
2000, Justin Chaston, GB, Steeplechase
2004, Justin Chaston, GB, Steeplechase

And World Championships competitors coached by Jim: *Carol is Jim’s wife and was my original mentor into the administrative ranks of USATF.

1985, Carol McLatchie, 15K, Gateshead
1987, Carol McLatchie, Marathon, Seoul
1989, Charlotte Thomas, Marathon, Milam
1991, Carol McLatchie, Marathon –  World Cup, London
1991, Joy Smith, Marathon – World Cup, London
1991, Joy Smith, Marathon, Tokyo
1991, Joy Smith, Half Marathon, Gateshead
1995, Justin Chaston, Steeplechase, Gothenburg
1997, Patty Valadka, Marathon, Greece
2003, Sylvia Mosqueda, Marathon, Paris
2006, Max King, Cross-Country, Fukuoka
2008, Max King, Cross-Country, Edinburgh

Jim now coaches athletes at Summit High School in Bend, OR.  His charges at the small division school have developed into an all class powerhouse defeating much bigger programs.  While his training principles haven’t changed much he does now include yoga as part of their weekly regimen.  Never too old to learn new tricks, the hallmark of a Great Coach.

I want to take this moment and thank Jim for being my original coaching mentor.  For always being available to answer questions, for guiding me through the McLatchie Method Marathon Training Program (including the infamous “Ball Buster”!, Like Jim I would never ask my charges to attempt something I have never tried myself) in 2009, for his continued work with/for our Team Nebraska athletes.   Look at the training logs of any of our top Nebraska athletes, regardless of where they post,  and you’ll see his inspiration lives on and will carry on for generations to come.

Jim currently is a Member of the Great Britain elite coaching squad for the steeplechase,

Jim McLatchie, the Original Good Mate.

The gruff old Scot at this past weekend’s Olympic Trials Marathon.  Linda finally got to meet the architect of one of the most difficult and successful marathon training programs in the country.  She has completed the full program 3 times and is one of the top 45-49 females in the country as a result.

A quote from Jim on his coaching philosophy: “ ‘Don’t come out if you don’t mean to follow the instructions,’ McLatchie said, ‘There was always only one boss – me.   And that’s how it has to be.   Someone has to take control.    I always tell people to tell me what they want to accomplish.   If they can’t tell me that, I’m not interested.   There are enough sheep in this life without me getting any more of them.   If you could come to track and be disciplined in the workouts,  it would help you in your life outside the track.'”

And A closing quote from Brian Scobie:
“He certainly was an influence on me in the ways he trained and where he took his inspiration from.   At the time he was staying in Milngavie, he was working for the railways on the south side of Glasgow, having escaped from Mauchline and the fate of the mines.  He was already past the stages of creating a running track on disused railway track and running up pit bings in boots.    But these things linked Jim to mavericks like Gordon Pirie and beyond him back to the great Emil Zatopek  Pirie was maybe his way back to the great Emil Zatopek, as well as to the Cerutty group in Australia with its sand dunes.   To me he stood in that lineage in terms of training attitudes and inspiration as much as in training modes..   He is a man with huge charisma.   Stubborn as a mule when he thinks he’s right.   A great pal to have.   Generous to a fault.”

Photos and some information from this site dedicated to preserving the athletics heritage of Scotland:






Jim, #7,  from his days in Scotland.



Some closing musings on Houston.  While I gush and go on about what a great city Houston is I was anxious to get back to Omaha.  There is something comforting about the small town feel we have here.  Houston is a dynamic city and you have to be constantly on the go to maximize your appreciation of all it has to offer.  I rode that crazy train for nearly a quarter of a century, and to be sure there are times that I really do miss some of the fast paced, get your fill, live every moment excitement.  But I’m at that stage of life where it is nice to take a deep breath, look around, and do just about nothing at all if that suits me.

Of course that is easier said than done with 3 kids, Team Nebraska, road race management, Omaha Endurance Group, friends (& foes), and all the lust for living that is my true nature.

From David Monti’s latest Race Results Weekly press release on the performances of the women at the Trials:

“The race, which saw 152 women cross the finish line, recorded 120 women under two hours and 50 minutes.  That’s the most-ever in any women’s marathon, overtaking the 1984 USA Olympic Trials which recorded 109 women under that standard.  Moreover, the race also broke the records for the most sub-2:49’s in the same race (113), sub-2:48 (103), sub-2:47 (96), sub-2:46 (84), sub-2:45 (77), sub-2:44 (64) and sub-2:43 (61).  All of those previous marks, except the sub-2:43 total, were set at the 1984 USA Trials.  The previous sub-2:43 record of 58 was set at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
These depth records were made possible in part by the more inclusive nature of the women’s Trials versus the men’s.”

I’m going out on a limb here and predicting that for 2016 the women will have a single qualifying standard of 2:40:00.   I like the direction our USA women are headed,  Giddyup ladies!

Tomorrow I’ll do a feature on my personal coaching mentor Jim McLatchie.  You don’t want to miss it.



You can take the boy out of Texas (or the disco) but you can’t take Texas (or the disco) out of the boy.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m 99% Nebraskan now.  But this past weekend was a personal love fest of Texas sized proportion.

While wandering the massive expo I saw several people wearing “Run For The Arts” long sleeve t-s.  When I would introduce myself they reminded me that it was their favorite race in Texas, and it has been 12 years now since it was last held.  The expo is also the place to catch up with so many of my old friends/competitors/adversaries/colleagues.  Reminisces of sub 34:00 10Ks (lucky to get you a top 20 finish by the way), epic marathon battles, relays run, races put on, beer consumed.  And finding out who has passed, whose body has failed them- walking with a cane and doing water aerobics- or just fortunate enough to be still running even if it means a relative pedestrian pace compared to our glory days.  And some still not slowing down, those are the marvels of our sport.

Reveling with my oldest and best buddies.  Joel & Anita Moyer (RDs for the infamous Baytown Heatwave) where I learned the ropes of race directing.  John Conley (RD Austin Marathon), who allowed me to shadow him in 1994 at his Sundown Classic 10K, my first introduction with a full international field, this led to the inaugural 1995 Run For The Arts.  Cassandra Henkiel, winner of the first RFTA, Carmen Troncoso, a multiple time winner of the same race.  Cassie is now a top 10 masters runner in the US, Carmen is destroying the 50+ ranks.  Doug Storey, former elite athlete coordinator for the Houston Marathon and one of my fiercest rivals on the roads back in the 80s.  Arturo Linaldi, perhaps the top elite agent in all of South America.  Roger Boak, who has run 29 consecutive Houston Marathons.   Keith & Kevin Hanson, who have been showing me the ropes of club administration since our trip to Vera Cruz, Mexico in 2000.  We’ve made many international trips together, Kevin and I shared a cabin in Chiba Japan for a week, Keith and I dined at the famous Copa Cabana hotel in Rio de Janeiro.  And they’ve always been gracious to share what makes the Hansons tick, what to look for in athletes as well as sponsors.   Exchanging  pleasantries with many of my former USATF national staff colleagues, not all of them are the turds they are made out to be.

The fact that Houston pulled off a first makes me proud.  Hosting both the Men & Women on the same course on the same day.  My old buddies Brant Kotch and Steven Karpas, a tip of the 10 gallon hat to both of you and the incredible staff you put together.  Worth reminding you that they also put on the Houston Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K the very next day.  For those that doubted Houston or its course, consider this:

50 sub 2:20:00 performances by the men, the most since 1984.   The first time 4 men under 2:10:00 in a Trials race.
19 personal records set by:
Meb Keflezighi, 2:09:08
Dathan Ritzenhein, 2:09:55
Fernando Cabada, 2:11:53
James Carney, 2:12:23
Josh Cox, 2:13:50
Mike Morgan, 2:14:22**
Max King, 2:14:36
Michael Reneau, 2:14:37
Drew Polley, 2:14:58
Daniel Tapia, 2:15:28
Craig Leon, 2:15:42
Keith Bechtol, 2:16:02
Zachary Hine, 2:16:40
Allen Wagner, 2:17:16**
Adam MacDowell, 2:17:27
Donovan Fellow, 2:17:30
Chris Erichsen, 2:17:52
Jeff Jonaitis, 2:17:56
Josh Eberly, 2:18:35

The women had 5 under the 2:30:00 mark, another Trials first.  The most sub 2:40:00 (41!), and an incredible 35 personal bests set including Shalane Flanagan‘s winning 2:25:38.  50 year old Linda Somers Smith set a new 50-54 age group national record with her 2:37:36, good for 28th overall.

Old buddy Fernando Cabada, Linda, and I share a shot of Don Julio celebrating his 7th overall finish.  We would do another to toast his shiny new pr of 2:11:53!

Josh Cox also ran a pr of 2:13:50.  Josh was once on The Bachelor but his real claim to studly fame are his wheels.  Is Linda really blushing?

Some final thoughts manana….


That was the one thing everyone agreed upon Saturday morning.  I’d run the Houston Marathon 10 times back in the day and the weather can be very fickle to say the least.  I think most of us have seen the results by now so I’ll just give you some of my impressions from the weekend, not necessarily in chronological order:

Kaci Lickteig in the first of hopefully many more Olympic Trials experiences.

Desi, Shalane and Kara on the final loop, having made the breakaway that would send them to London.

Dathan Ritzenhein just after being gapped slightly, his 4th place finish only :08 behind third was a real heartbreaker.  He broke down into tears after crossing the finish line.

Abdi and Ryan with Meb obscured, doing their thing on the final loop.


Bridget Easley was all smiles on the first of her three tours of the 8 mile loop.  I was fortunate to have an excellent spot for pics even though my camera isn’t very good.

Ann Marie Chappell, Lincoln Marathon Champion in 2010 and 2011.

Deena was everyone’s fan favorite and showed she still has the wheels to run with America’s best.

Other notes:

18 Brooks Hanson’s athletes in the Trials.  Wow.

3 Time Olympian Dan Browne limping home last in 2:42:21.  Maybe the most inspiring performance of the day.

Shots of Don Julio with my old buddy Fernando Cabada celebrating his 7th place finish.

Catching up with Keith and Kevin Hanson, telling them how they have inspired generations to come to dream Mike’s dream.

The Brooks post race party!  You had to be there to believe it.  Suffice it to say that I absolutely torched the dance floor.  The oldest guy in the room busting  the best moves, shoot me some pics Derek.

The friendships renewed, possibly the highlight of my trip.  The question most asked- When are you coming back?  And answered- No not yet, still too much good work to do in Nebraska.

Knowing over half of the combined Men & Women’s field by their first name.  This race perhaps being the pinnacle of my last 15 years of service for/working with elite athletes from across the U.S.


It was a great weekend in Houston.  Some fantastic racing with Meb & Abdi both surprising the heck out of me.  And congrats to Kara for showing how tough she is when it really counts.  Most finishers were right about where they were seeded which seems to always be the case.  I’ve got a lot of good stories and a few decent pics I’ll share.  Prior commitment early this a.m. so will update later this afternoon.  Thanks for checking back later.

Good to catch up with our old buddy Brian Sell.  He misses the fire only a little bit, still runs a lot, and may come back to Lincoln to don the Red & White of the Good Mates again this year.


I’ll be in Houston by the time most of you read this.  USA Olympic Trials #4 for me (1992-spectator, 2004-administrator, 2008-administrator, 2012-spectator).  I also was a fan boy at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  The Really Big Show and it promises to be very special tomorrow as it will be put on only as my boys down in Houston can.  I’ll be catching up with a lot of them and will regale you with tales for days to come.   I’ll be posting updates and unabashed name dropping as always.  And I hear the weather is Perfect for the race so Giddyup to one and all!


I’ve always held that race amenities should be a major factor in which races you select, and pay, to run.  For your entry fee you should receive a USATF Certified course (if held on the roads).  That is my minimum standard.  But that just scratches the surface in what I expect for my ever increasing entry fees these days.  Our Team Nebraska events have always catered to you, the paying customer, by offering unique T-s and age group awards, signature dishes, music, beer, and a generally festive atmosphere.  At no extra cost.

What prompts today’s column is a look at some upcoming races and what they offer for your entry dollars.

The Chiller Challenge 8K set for February 5th is a stalwart on the Omaha Running Club calendar.  Displaced from NP Dodge Park the run will go off this year at the Fire Fighters Hall, 6005 Grover Street.  What makes this event special is that it is FREE to all Omaha Running Club members, is conducted on a USATF Certified course, and there is FREE Chili afterwards.

The Emperyan Ales 5K will be held on February 18th at Camp Carol Joy Holling. They are committed to providing you the runners with a great set of amenities in their very first year.  Included in your entry fee will be chip timing, a stocking hat, soup, sandwich, and of course Emperyan Ales beer.  All at NO EXTRA CHARGE.

The Ni-Bthaska-Ke 12K, 4 Mile, & Tough Little Mudder Kids Run is scheduled for Saturday, April 7th.  Entry fee includes chip timing, pint glasses, Subway lunch, Upstream beer, door prizes, and awards.  Again, all at NO EXTRA CHARGE.

Take a look at the upcoming races listed on the Omaha Running Club’s website, You can decide which races meet your own personal standards of amenities and support those events that do.

Looking forward to seeing you at the races!

Ni-Bthaska-Ke 6th Annual Trail Run 12 K, 4 Mile, & Tough Little Mudder Kids Run

April 7th, 2012

Ni-Bthaska-Ke, from the Omaha Tribe name for the Platte River, meaning flat water.

This 12k Trail Run is the most challenging in the Midwest, course is mostly single track, very rugged, and a blast!

For Cabin Rental & Park information: 402.234.2217

$5 Daily permit to be paid at park entrance

Entry includes: chip timing, pint glasses, Subway lunch, Upstream beer, door prizes, & awards


14421 346th St. Louisville, NE 68037

5 miles South of I-80 on HWY 50.

-Start and Finish: is at Mallet Picnic Area.

Parking available at Mallet Picnic Area and the pool area.

-WHEN: April 7, Saturday 10:00 am start

9:30 am Tough Little Mudder Kids Run

$35.00 EARLY ENTRY Before February 1st
$40.00 Before March 1st
$45.00 DAY OF RACE

  • Tough Little Mudders Kids Run $10.00

Funded in part by Cass County Tourism

Race day registration and packet pick up 7:30-9:30 at Mallet Lodge

Packet pick up on Thursday April 5 from 3:00-7:00 pm at 18312 Ontario St. Omaha, NE 68130

For Online Registration go to and type: 2012 Ni-Bthaska-Ke

Please visit our Facebook Page for course maps, photos, etc. by searching: Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Run

















A couple of “hot links” for your lunch special.

Just about everything you could want to know about this weekend’s USA Olympic Trials Marathon and more.

A few tasty tidbits:
Prize Money:
1  $50,000
2  $40,000
3  $30,000
4  $20,000
5  $15,000
6  $10,000
7  $8,000
8  $7,000
9  $6,000
10 $4,000

Both men & women will also vie for Olympic Team Bonus money of:
1  $20,000
2  $20,000
3  $20,000

And some USATF Championships cash like this:
1  $4,000
2  $3,000
3  $2,000
4  $1,000
5  $500

Adds up to a total prize purse of $260,500 for each gender.  Not bad.

Average age of qualifiers:
Men = 28.4
Women = 31.5
Interesting to note there was only 1 male masters qualifier (Mbarak Hussein, 46) and a whopping 21 female masters qualifiers.  50 year old Linda Somers Smith has qualified for 7 Olympic Trials Marathons!

Twins (3)
Drew and Kyle Shackleton
Kara and Tara Storage
Edwardo and Jorge Torres

Nebraska stats:
Of 205 female qualifiers;
Native Nebraskan Lisa Baumert (Princeton, NJ) is the highest seeded female being assigned #61
Kaci Lickteig is seeded #107
Bridget Easley is seeded #136
*Iowan Robyn Friedman is #24

Of 123 male qualifiers;
Native Nebraskan and Good Mate Mike Morgan is seeded #17
Native Nebraskan Allen Wagner is seeded #44
*Iowan Jason Flogel is #51
There are no current men from Nebraska qualified.


Putting on my Swami cap today and giving you my prognostications for the podium spots this weekend.   Without further ado:

Ladies first.
I’ve made it pretty clear that my pick for the win is Desi Davila.  If you are picking someone else I can’t imagine why.
2nd will be Shalane Flanagan.  Her raw speed should put her within :30 of Desi.
3rd I’m going with Amy Hastings.  Sorry Kara.  I will go further out on the limb and suggest that there will be no fewer than 7 women under 2:30,  Kara will be one of those.  Robyn Friedman of Team Iowa Runablaze will also join that exclusive club.

Men now.
If you are picking anyone other than Ryan Hall for the top spot you are from Mars.
2nd will be  a battle between Dathan Ritzenheim, Brett Gotcher and Fasil Bizuneh.  I’m going with Ritz.
3rd will be decided by less than :05 with Mike Morgan moving up on  Bizuneh, out sprinting Gotcher, and securing the third spot on the final stretch.  Bizuneh and Gotcher will have been too busy worrying about each other to realize Mike has been chasing and gaining for the last 10K.   All five will run under 2:10:00.

I’ll be crying my eyes out.