Monthly Archives: March 2015


I toiled every Saturday morning of my high school years rendering up to 600 pounds of pork fat.  Hot, sweaty, greasy work under the strict eye of Bill Myers.  I took pride in my work but Bill always came to the back room and would give a couple of turns to the old wooden press and squeeze out the final drops of fatty gold.  And chastise me for not having captured them myself.  For a buck sixty five an hour.

I’ve been getting my pork these days from the Amherst Flash.  Best I’ve ever had.  I request all the fat intending to capture the goodness for unrivaled pastries and frying.  Clean as a whistle if done with care.

I loaded the 35 pounds into a single pot and set it to a patient simmer.  Stirring frequently throughout the first 2 hours.  The large ugly chunks of fat breaking down into what looks exactly like oatmeal.  Cooking, cooking, slowly increasing the temperature as the process continues.

Heat then the required ingredient for purity.  You can utilize all the low temp patience in the world but only when you get things fired up does the real change occur.

What was unpalatable up front transforming into something sublime.

While I was cooking up the fat the State Farm 10 Mile and No Frills 10 Mile were being contested Saturday.  Nebraska Run Guru Elite shook out like this, first at No Frills:

Craig Donnelly un-retired to come out and run the 2nd fastest time in the history of the race.  His time of 56:28 only :06 off of the all time record set by Josh Blue in 2010.   Craig reports having lost :20 due to being confronted by a large dog, thankfully the owner dismounted his tractor and called off the hound.  Kray Zeller and Mike Wasson were 3rd & 4th overall.  My dear, sweet, loving Linda was the overall age graded female so a good day down in La Platte.   And at State Farm:  Kyle Clouston scored a 4:00 personal best finishing 7th overall and Kathryn Merrill was third overall for the women.

As expected I received a firestorm of emails yesterday.  As usual about 50/50, some calling me a rat and a villain others decrying me as champion of justice.  And some egghead philosophical crap that had no relevancy at all.  



I ended up with 9 quarts of clarified beauty.


This is a sad tale because it could have, nay should have, been avoided.  You regular readers know the rule.  Those of my former mates that bothered to listen know the rule.  The leadership of our USATF Nebraska Association Clubs know the rule.  In fact, anyone that has been within ear shot of me for the last 10 years knows the rule.  Our Elite Development Club Council knows the rule. The Shamrock Shuffle knows the rule better this morning.

This appears on the Shuffle’s webpage:  “Eligibility for the Elite Club 8K Competition is based on USATF Club Competition Rules. All participating clubs must be registered with USATF for 2015, and all athletes entering as part of a club must be affiliated with that club as part of their current USATF membership.”

Bridget Montgomery, the Elite Club Competition Coordinator for Shamrock Shuffle, and I were discussing rules this morning.  Rules are there to protect the Integrity of the Event as well as to offer a fair and level playing field in our USATF Sanctioned events.

Only two possible scenarios can describe what happened at yesterday’s race.  1) Ignorance of the rule.   This is an almost absurd notion given my long and loud history on the subject. 2) Calculated effort to ignore or break the rules.  I’ll let you readers decide which held sway given the Facts:

* A note necessary here to reveal that my interest in this based primarily as a founding member of the Elite Development Club Council, and secondarily as founder of Team Nebraska.  There are many around the United States that still associate the club with my good name.

**Another note here- I have nothing but the utmost respect for the athletes I am going to be discussing.

Ashley Miller moved to her hometown of Tipton, Iowa last September.  She had been a USATF Nebraska Association, and Team Nebraska member, for approximately 18 months before leaving the Good Life.  At the start of this year she again relocated to Oklahoma.

I alerted my colleagues on the Elite Development Club Council last December when I noticed Ashley was incorrectly registered as a Team Nebraska athlete going into our USATF Club Cross Country National Championships.

I’ve described Grandfathering an athlete on to a club many times here and elsewhere but in short:  Athletes that have represented a club for 3 or more years prior to moving outside that association are “grandfathered” and allowed to represent their former association and club as long as no more than 10% of the entire team is made up of such exemptions.   Period.

Ashley was the top scorer for Team Nebraska at yesterday’s Shuffle, propelling them to a 10th overall finish.

Again this morning I had to notify my EDC Chair Devon Martin , as well as Bridget Montgomery, that our rules were broken.  But it wasn’t just Ashley.   Cassie Mitchell, listed on the roster as the third place finisher for TN, does have a Nebraska residency and USATF # but does not have a current cub affiliation.  Please refer to the rule above again.   Fortunately, Leslie Van Winkle and Kayte Partch are bona fides and will satisfy the 3 necessary for Team Nebraska to score in the Elite Team Competition.  Bridget will be following up with Kelly Crawford.

Sad day for me indeed.

On a brighter note, congratulations to the Lincoln Running Co. Racing team for having all their USATF ducks in a row.  I’ll post a link to the results once they become official.





Danny Grimes of Pocatello Idaho was the Men’s Long Distance Running Chair when I joined the organization back in the mid 90s.  He was retiring and the new kid on the block was a Fleet Feet owner from Louisville KY., Jim Estes.  He was also Race Director for  Papa John’s 10 Mile, sponsored by his buddy with the same hometown.  Papa John’s would end up hosting our men and women’s 10 Mile National Championships.  In 2003 I sent a fit as a fiddle  James McGown,  he scored a personal best 49:55, good enough for 19th overall.

Jim Estes was on another arc though.  The USATF National office had just created a new position, LDR Programs Manager.  This in response to the recognition that long distance running was woefully under served.  I had written a letter of recommendation for my old buddy Terry Drake, former Race Director, Hospital Hill, now Saucony rep extraordinaire.   Jim ended up with the position and has been excellent in my humble opinion.

It was always with ease that Jim and I worked together.  For over 10 years he and I ironed out  kinks from our LDR National Championships program.  Helped me fight for my personal pet, the Association Athlete Development Program.

AADP was founded in 1993 by Carol McLatchie and George Regan, Race Director of Freihofer’s Run For Women, our women’s 5K National Champs.  LeeAnn Meyer was the first program chair, 1993-1996.  In 1996 Carol asked me to take LeeAnn’s place.  I was floored and honored and giddy as I accepted.  I remained in that capacity until 2002 when I replaced Joy Smith as the WLDR National Champs Chair (2002-2009).  AADP fully blossomed during that time as I crafted language, with Jim’s blessings, included in our national championships bid, “winning bidders will agree to host at least one male and female athlete under the Association Athlete Development Program”.  When I left my position it was one of my proudest achievements that all 11 of our road champs were participating and that some events like the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K actually provides for 3 male and 3 female athletes.  Elite Athlete Coordinator Greg Meyer does as much or more for American athletes than any other cat on the circuit and that is why the former Boston Marathon winner is my old buddy.

Jim and I made one international trip together, my second trip to Japan, this time the Yokahama International Ekiden in 2006.  It was on this trip that it dawned on me just how high Jim’s star had risen.  Mr. Tanaka-San himself, President of the Japanese Amateur Athletic Federation, hosted us to one of the most memorable dinners of my life.

He was there when I founded the USATF Nebraska Assoc. LDR program.  Took my side with an aye vote when I founded Team Nebraska as one of the charter members of the Elite Development Club program.

Not too much of a stretch to say that Jim and I have been through some wars together.  He’ll be lending an ear built on 20 years of mutual appreciation and support to my plea on behalf of Zach Hine.  He, if anyone, knows of my commitment to US athletes.



Things are on hold at the moment as Jim is in China for the World Cross Country Championships.  He 2nd from left, to the far right is Fred Finke.  Fred is the former LDR Divisional Chair, he and I were the USA Team Leaders for the 2000 World Championships Half Marathon in Vera Cruz, Mexico.


Looking at the status of entries for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K Team Competition in Chicago.  Over 30 men’s teams and 22 women’s teams entered at the Shuffle, good chance for LRC and Team Nebraska to see how they measure up against the best clubs in the region.  I’ll be keeping a keen eye on results, taking notes on which clubs perform well,  part of my ongoing review of all current EDCs and those that have made application for the few, coveted designations.  Best of luck to all!

141 Michael Rathje LRC
142 Tom Nichols LRC
143 Neil Wolford LRC
144 Ryan Dostal LRC
145 Ivan Ivanov LRC
161 York Thomas Team Nebraska
162 Cory Logsdon Team Nebraska
163 Matt Heesch Team Nebraska
164 Justin Mollak Team Nebraska
165 Josiah Belzer Team Nebraska
370 Megan Zavorka Thomas Team Nebraska
371 Kayte Partch Team Nebraska
372 Cassie Mitchell Team Nebraska
373 Ashley Miller Team Nebraska
374 Leslie Van Winkle Team Nebraska
401 Bridget Easley LRC
402 Michelle Paxton LRC
403 Hayley Sutter LRC
404 Frankie Petersen LRC


For our mate Pete Kostelnick anyway:
“Saddled up with the wife last Thursday morning and flew out to the North Carolina shore.  Took a ferry out to Bald Head Island, the pristine and beautiful site of Badwater Cape Fear 51.4 mile and 50k races on Saturday. Stayed two nights in a house on the beachfront with several other runners and their significant others/family.  The race started at the lighthouse and swerved around the paved golf cart roads on the island for 10 miles before hitting the trail and then the sand for the majority of the race.  I went out fairly conservatively in 5th or 6th before picking it up on the sand in 3rd by my lonesome.  I found myself about 12 minutes back of 1st and 2nd at a turnaround on the beach before picking up pace as the tide went out and the sand became more runnable.   I ended up finishing in 6 hrs 38 min, one minute (and within sight) of 2nd, and 9 minutes behind 1st place.  I kicked well late and even skipped a few aide stations, but just didn’t have enough to catch the two young bucks from Wisconsin.  Brew to Brew in less than three weeks…”

And our mate Cameron Cummings has this to report as he preps for the Boston Marathon:
“Life is good here in Boston — training has been a little different this year in the middle of the city with all of the snow, but it’s been going well. At the end of my fellowship this year, I’m moving back to Wisconsin, about 40 minutes from where I grew up, for my first real doctor job I’m pretty excited about it.”  We wish Cameron a great big Giddyup and are proud and pleased that he continues to choose Nebraska Run Guru Elite as his club.

And locally we are proud to announce the addition of Kray Zeller to Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  Kray is a tough, tough masters runner with range from 5K through 50K.  He’ll debut the kit at this weekend’s No Frills 10 Mile.  Most the rest of us will be at the State Farm 10 Mile, the Mo-Pac Trail should be serving up some interesting racing conditions given the recent rains.

Fast approaching our 200th entrant into the 9th annual Ni-Bthaska-Ke, online registration will remain open for one more week, be sure and get yours in today!






Following up on yesterday’s column, because of its importance as an educative opportunity.

USATF Sanctioning has historically been an option for USATF LDR events, the exemption being as long as the event has bona fide insurance to protect the principals (venue, directors, athletes), the event and its marks were deemed acceptable.   Last week’s revelation that USATF Sanctioning is a requirement for Trials Qualifying events is the first I had ever heard of it.  I could rail and rant and whine all day about how I disagree with that, but in fact I don’t disagree.

If you don’t agree with the rules there are proper channels for bringing them to the table.    You don’t ignore them or publicly announce they don’t matter and you won’t follow them.   I have taken the proper course by contacting our national office, Veronica Rodriguez, Events and High Performance Manager, and Jim Estes, Director of Events and Retail Operations.  My issue is not so much with the rule per se as much as the fact that the rule was not properly disseminated in a timely manner to event directors.

When I rode herd over the USA Women’s LDR National Championships I sat in on those meetings, was architect or at least privy to exactly this type of thing.  Often decided  behind closed doors in Executive meetings, along with hundreds of other considerations.  All in favor, aye, opposed same sign.  Next.

But it is what comes next that is just as important as what was decided.  You’ve got to get the word out in such a way that it benefits our athletes.  And it didn’t happen this time.  But it is out there.

As someone who has been involved with USATF for nearly 20 years at the highest levels, it should not be difficult for me to keep up on these things.  If I encounter problems, how in the world can a novice or casual administrator be expected to be abreast of the current set of rules?

Try harder.  Try harder, because Zach Hine matters.  I don’t know that I’ll have a resolution in my favor, but I’ll try and hard.


I take no pleasure whatsoever in today’s column.

I’ve been knocking heads lately with both leadership and general membership of our USA Track & Field Nebraska Association (muckraking, seriously?).  I’ve been told to stay out of the LDR business for the betterment of the program.  The last 3 LDR Chair elections proof enough of that.  The current Association Championships and “Grand Prix” another bowl of pudding proof to examine.   I’ve tried to steer the process  towards conformance with the bylaws and governance of our organization.  And been told to butt out, this is the way things are going to go down whether I like it or not, whether it follows the rules no matter.  I’m sure those insisting on such have their reasons but by the gods they are wrong.  And it may well come back to bite us all in the ass.

That was the easy part of today’s column.  Here’s the hard part.

I’m just as guilty as those I’ve been badgering.

In USATF, sometimes one person matters more than the costumed, beer swilling, jogging masses.

Zach Hine ran the Twin Rivers YMCA Freedom Run half marathon in 1:04:48 to earn the 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon standard.    Even with the extremely low number of our Nebraska association athletes participating (1, maybe 2?) I should have as a matter of course filed the appropriate, and as it turns out mandated by the rules, sanctioning forms.

Sadly, I did not submit the sanctioning paperwork.   I accept full and complete responsibility.  And now Zach’s time is not being allowed as a 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, solely based on that administrative error.

So go ahead and say the hell with me and the hell with the rules of our organization.  The organization that you paid a membership to be a part of.  The organization whose primary purpose is the development of Olympic caliber athletes.  The hell with it all, right?

Wrong.  We’re both wrong.



Thanks again to everyone that came out this morning and during the course of our inaugural season of fun, fitness and family!

1. Kray Zeller             18:30
2. Lincoln Murdoch  21:05
3. Nate Mailander    21:24
4. Matt Pillard          21:59
5. Luke Mailander   25:23
6. Liz Kurtz                31:31
7. Tatum Mailander 32:27
8. Kari Mailander     32:29
9. Ralph Kurtz          33:14
10. Tana Nelson      36:58
11. Jolene Edwards 40:21
12. Joyce McCollough 58:05
13. Kelly McCollough 58:14

1. Jimmie Doherty    41:28
2. Jessica Pape          42:05
3. Stacy Shaw            42:27
4. Linda Kunasek      47:28
5. Lou Anderson       53:28
6. Madison Jones     54:20
7. Chris Vargo          55:31
8. Anne Anderson  1:04:44
9. Samantha Ryan 1:13:55
10. Therese Bozarth  1:15:31
11. Bobbie Joe Vogel  1:15:41
12. Kimmy Renshaw  1:15:49

1. Brett Rosauer     1:14:40
2. Craig Donnelly    1:17:47
3. Payton Pearson  1:23:45
4. Todd Nott            1:26:16
5. Larry Jones           1:36:44
6. Bob Rech               1:39:45
7. Carl Edwards       1:43:41
8. Stephanie Rogers 1:44:32
9. Duane Fisher         1:46:29
10. Robin Plathe       1:52:21
11. Melita Reineke    2:07:01
12. Esther Locher      2:07:58
13. Amy Locher          2:07:59


Too skinny to be Mick Freeman.  Too handsome to be Craig Christians.  But I did my best impression of both over the last couple of months by hosting our Valley Forge Winter Series.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery fellas.  And in the process found a whole new running community.  I’ve referenced WECRAWL in previous posts, tongue in cheek, but have found that there really is a Weekend Closet Runners and Walkers League.  Fine folks all.  And Valey Forge gave them a venue.  No pressure, no fancy pants, no 4% body fat, just good people that like to get out of doors no matter the weather.

We’ll kick off the finale tomorrow morning at 9:00.  $5 entry for the 5 or 10K, $10 for the half marathon.  USATF Certified course, official times and maybe a door prize or two.

Getting the Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail run under full steam too.  I can use a couple more volunteers, if you want to feel really good about yourself shoot me an email  You’ll receive free food, free beer, and a special race memento.  Thanks to those of you from the Omaha Running Club that have already stepped up.

I’ll ask this one final time for the 2015 campaign:  Why would you pay extra for beers if you’ve already paid an entry fee?  Popular selling point to this race for sure.  Thanks again to Zipline and Upstream Brewing Co.

560333_379881575385748_1328454290_nEighth most challenging trail run in the U.S.  Top ten t-shirt as voted by Runner’s World.  Free food and beer post race.  Chip timing.  Cool awards.  The best trail running deal anywhere on April 4th.



If you are going to do something, Live It, Love It.  With your heart and souls (soles).  Its the only way to guarantee that there will be no regrets, whatever the outcome.  “I gave it my all, my very best, nothing more I could have.”

As my knee continues to pitch me fits with its impression of a Joe Cole (my favorite magician) balloon figure, it gives me pause and cause to reflect and celebrate.  “In It To Win It!”  That was and will continue to be one of the guiding principles in my life, inside and outside of running.  But an unexpected sense of calm  has accompanied my ever expanding time away from running, no melancholy baby here.

How?  Why?  Because I always gave it everything I had to give.  Wouldn’t accept anything less, from myself, or the hundreds of athletes I’ve worked with.  Gave it my all.  I don’t think that everyone can or should utilize the same paradigm.  Ah, but those of you that do, regardless of ability, you are the Real Runners I’ve so often talked about.  The rest, those that insist its simply about the journey, not the end result, well hats off to you and yours for being able to celebrate mediocrity, something that never appeared on my plate nor will ever appear on my menu.  If I go down broken it will be with the knowledge that I was true to mine own self.

I much admire Gary Dougherty.  A local stud before I moved here, struck down by a debillatating injury, now unable to run for, what is it Gary nearly 3 years now?  And yet you don’t hear a single moan from him and in fact his dedication to the running community seems to have only grown.  He had a different tack than me, always insisted that running was just part of what made him up, although he did give 100% in his time, don’t doubt that for a moment.  Pretty much the exact opposite of me and my singular philosophy.  Yet today we share a mutual satisfaction with what we gave and how we gave it.  We also share a similar pain that unexpectedly (inevitably?) solidifies our friendship.

So here’s to you if and only if you are Real.  To yourself.  And In It To Win It.


Gary Dougherty.  Father of Ndorfnz, expert photographer, family man.  Keepin’ it Real.