Monthly Archives: July 2015


I’ve heard from a dozen and more of you with congratulations to Pete and our club, and strangely enough a few for me as well.  I’ve replied to all that this was Pete’s doing.  I tried to give you gentle readers some hints leading into Badwater that he was on the cusp, the verge, of greatness.  Detailed his nearly  1000 miles of training over a 5 week period.  Told of his drive and commitment.  The long runs in sweats, the  full weekends spent running.  Kyle’s interview illuminating that planning for the race began the day after Badwater 2014.

Pete knew the race was His To Win.  Through  preparation.  And execution.  Kyle knew it.  I knew it.  I think maybe Kaci Licktieg figured it as well.

In It To  Win It.  From day one.  This funky dude with lanky form, shorty shorts, and unquestionable heart.  Don’t you doubt for a single moment he was In It To  Win It.

Pete was also the first Nebraskan at the Lincoln Marathon, remember how he took it out in the heat that morning and never looked back?

And all the while all the Fast People sit back and say “Yeah, but only because.”  Because what?  Because he had the balls, that’s what.

Pete came to Nebraska Run Guru Elite shortly after the club came about, along with his old buddy Kyle.  With a huge chip on his shoulder, having been turned down for membership in one of the other local USATF clubs, not talented enough (wrong pedigree?), ready to kick some ass.  Which he has done this year.  Last laugh is best.

Sam & Jackson concluded their final workout yesterday prior to the National Champs in Va. Beach.  3 X 200 @ lifetime best.  9 year old Jackson @ :33.88, :33.71, :33.15.  13 year old Sam @ 29.65, 28.33, 27.9.   When we started this cycle I convinced Sam he could close the final 200 of the 3000 in :37.  We have worked that down to :31-:32.  And a podium finish.

And finally, I got a good ass whupping this  morning.  Met my marathon client for a loop around  the old dojo (Great to see you Dr. Tom!).  Spent the first 6 miles dispensing wisdom and the last 1.5 miles doing everything I could to keep up with her, failing miserably.  Yes, she’s coming along just as planned.

All in all, a Great Week to be the Run Guru.


Kyle said it best immediately after the finish.  You’ll have to check his facebook post for the exact 2 word quote, rhymes with Trucking Beachless.

Pete won in a dramatic way too.  For those of us up until after 1 last night, cheering every step up Whitney Portal, it was an amazing night.  He picked up the lead early, headed from miles 42-71 was passed by the course record holder, fought back to regain the pole, and never looked back en route to the 3rd fastest time in the storied history of the event, “The Toughest Race in the Word.”

There is no disputing the fact that for now at least, Pete is the Toughest ultra runner on the planet.

You’re either digging it or its pissing you off.  It’s a Great Day to be the Run Guru either way.  Thanks to our boy Pete.  He and El Jefe are headed to Las Vegas for some well earned celebration, I hope to have some words from them soon.

Simply amazing.



It is with interest that I’m following the local news dealing with a female that started a social media smear campaign against a local business.  Unfounded charges.  Instantly snapped up as the truth, outrage ensues.  I’m especially sensitive to this for good reason.  One of the hardest puzzles I’ve had over the last three years is wondering what in the world they could have been told.  What charm was used?   Why those I served with all my heart no longer recognize me.  Must have been some powerful stuff.

What I have found to be true is that as long as you maintain your principles, as long as your passion and energies are sincere, your line is consistent, you are In It To Win It, then all the rest is worth it.    All.  Of.  It.

Don’t try this at home.  My young studs Sam and Jackson will head to Virginia Beach in a couple days for the AAU National Championships.  They both had their best workout of the season yesterday.  Not the hardest.  Not the toughest.  The best.  Because they did Exactly what they were told.  Believed in it.  Executed it to perfection.  Jackson, age 9, his legs reminiscent of the roadrunner’s blur when he gets them in  gear.  And Sam at 13, me now declaring he has demonstrated understanding of my philosophy more than any athlete I’ve ever worked with. And boy you better look out.

Pete and Kyle, underway at Badwater.  Their NRGE mates damned proud.  And their friends, coming  out of the woodwork now (“I know them personally!”), all queuing up well wishes.

Thanks to my new buddy Jeff Doose.  The Race Director for the State Fair Marathon and I have been in communication discussing elite fields.  The event has signed  Bryan Morseman of Bath, NY.  He is a “prolific” marathoner with a personal best of 2:20.  He once ran and won three marathons in 8 days.  The other stud is Geoffery Terer, a Kenyan living in Colorado Springs.  He has life time bests like this- 10K @ 28:03 in 2013, Half @ 1:02:35 in 2010,and Marathon @ 2:11:56 in 2008.  It will be interesting to see where his fitness is in 2015.  For the women Kaci Licktieg will “drop” down in distance and go after her own course record.  I hope there will be a couple of ladies to keep her company, competition being necessary for best performances in my opinion.

No Rumors Ma’am, Just Fact.



The Chief.  Chef de Mission.  Kyle Clouston is reprising his role as logistical head of Pete Kostelnick’s Excellent Adventure.  The General Public knows Kyle as a Swell Guy, which he is.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to know another side, My Side, of Kyle.  Ha. Ha.

Will: This will be your second time through Badwater with Pete. What makes this adventure so special?

Kyle: Pete’s what makes this race special, Will. Once we are out at the race, all the intangibles of a big time ultra are present so those can’t be taken for granted. When it really comes down to it though, watching this dude work his ass off for the last few months is what gets me going for this adventure. Anybody can be a tough guy or girl for a day and nut out a ultra finish but the work that is put in when people aren’t ringing f*cking cow bells is what sets Pete apart. Helping a guy like that achieve a goal? I’d be crazy to pass on the opportunity. As a bonus, that race is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It’s so dramatic and unforgiving but there is a beauty that can’t be mistaken, even if it scares the living shit out of a person.

Will:   Seeing the race first hand, what challenge would you most like to tackle?

Kyle: Ha, I’m not much for challenges. I just want somebody to accuse me of being an all-around good runner someday.

Will:  Same scenario, what challenge would you most fear?

Kyle: I still have a healthy fear for 100 milers. I don’t think anybody ever truly beats them (similar to a marathon) but I watch the way some people are picking apart crazy 100’s like they are a track 10k. I have big day dreams but until I can run an easy 100 with a small amount of success, it’s unrealistic for me to think about races like Badwater and Western States.

Will:  You’re tuned in like few others, any comments on the field going in?

Kyle: There’s a few of the front runners back from previous years so there will be plenty of talent on the line. This race has a little bit different skill set than mountain ultra’s but there is a few really solid resumes up there. As for comments around how Pete mixes in with that group, I think the Boone Badass’ legs will do all the commenting that is needed haha.

Will:  Pete’s Badwater crew is charged with technical details, how long has this work been in progress?

Kyle: Pete and I have been talking about the technical details of this race since the day after the race last year. We had a great group of guys last year but I think we are even better this year. Even though I haven’t met either of the guys, I’m very confident and excited about what they bring to the table.

Will:  You’ve covered 100 miles in a race, what do you think Pete’s strengths are?

Kyle: Dude can grind on the pavement. Pete would tell you himself that he’s not an amazing trail runner but when it comes to pavement, he’s on the verge of being a national level runner. With the way he trained, his legs can handle the distance without a doubt. Key factors will be like any other marathon or longer race.. pacing, hydration/fueling and race management.

Will:  You’re a historian of Nebraska ultra running lore. Put what Pete is tilting at in merely mortal terms.

Kyle: That’s a good question. In the cult that is ultra running, there are two somewhat separate tribes. There are the racers and then the distance milestone people. Pete still has some work to do but he’s working on a resume that has stout achievements on both sides. If he can continue on that path, few before or after will be on the same level. He proven he belongs, this race is an opportunity to take the next step.

Will:  How do flatlanders like Pete and Kaci Lickteig (2nd female, Western
States) run with the best trail and ultra runners in the United States?

Kyle: Hard work. They are respectively the two best pound for pound runners in Nebraska right now. I’m sure that gets a few eyes rolling but I’m happy to have people come out to the Lincoln Marathon next year and make me eat those words haha.

Will:  Your second time through Badwater, with that experience do you entertain any notions on attempting “The Toughest Race in the World?”

Kyle:  Ah it’s just a daydream at this point. I need a few quality 100’s before I can put a serious bid in to run the race. The thought is certainly there though. At least I know some asshole that would probably crew for me.
Will: Who will be on your playlist in the deepest, darkest hours?

Kyle:  I probably won’t have the luxury of putting in headphones at Badwater. If I were, here is how it would go.. Mojo working – Muddy Waters, Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughn, Sweet Jane – Velvet Underground, Black Throated Wind – Bob Weir, and I hate to admit it but probably 0 to 100 – Drake. I’m going to hell for that one..

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Some bad, bad, bad fellas right here.  Don’t doubt if for a moment.


Pete Kostelnick is running “The Toughest Race in the World” tomorrow.  I caught up with this man among men as he readied to head out to Death Valley.   Tomorrow I’ll feature Pete’s Chef de Mission, Kyle Clouston.

Will:   How you feeling going in?

Pete:   Good.  Very good.  Not too different than Steve Bartman when he caught that foul ball.  $hit gon’ hit the fan NOW!

Will:  What did you take away from last year that most benefited this year’s training and preparation?

Pete:  Practicing race day nutrition.  I think I was eating too much, so that’s something I’ve focused on.  Also, cutting some weight has not only allowed for less weight to carry, but also helped me adapt to the heat much better.

Will:  Describe your most important training block.

Pete:   A couple 50-70 mile long runs on the weekend, simulating race day with a hat and long sleeves on.

Will:  Describe your most difficult workout.

Pete:   Tapering down to 3-7 mile runs.  This week has been hard on me… taking that first step on a short easy run is very hard for me.

Will:   You’ve been picked up and featured by Hammer Nutrition, want to give some love to your sponsor?

Pete:  Hammer Nutrition has helped me out a lot, not just from using their products, but their general contributions to sport nutrition with their extensive sport nutrition guides and articles.  Check it out sometime on their website.  They could probably make more money making products that have a larger market (like gummy products), but aren’t as beneficial to the athlete.

Will:  What segment of the race do you hope to improve the most, or, what segment gave you the biggest challenge last year?

Pete:    I want to storm on up Mt. Whitney at the end (miles 122-135).  Take prisoners.  Last year I fell apart on that critical last 13 miles up to the portal.

Will:  You’ve got an Ace Crew dialed up.  What is new for in-race strategy this year?

Pete:   We’ll have more defined roles for the crew.  I’ll also be more interested in knowing where I stand with the other runners at the checkpoints since the course this year is the true point to point with no out-and-backs.  It’ll be more remote, so we’ll lean heavily on each other.

Will:  The work is done, what is left to do over the next few days?

Pete:  Rest up, eat healthy, game face on.

Will:  Those close know you are on a mission, driven.  I sense the cusp of something great going down.  Do you too?

Pete:  I do, but at the same time I want to keep an honest mindset going in.  Looking at my results on 100+ races, I don’t have near the accomplishments as many of the other racers.  So I am very motivated to change that at the same time, and prove that I belong.

Will:   Perfect opportunity to plug your favorite post race beer. Can I scoop the rest of the running world?

Pete:  Zipline Anything!  Usually a Zipline IPA so I can feel the celebratory spirit quickly.






Visitors to the Bar None are impressed by the quilt like appearance of the garden.  Each square or rectangle inhabited by its own texture, colors, and flavors.  A lot of planning and  work went into the design, a vision yes, come full circle.  Our product gaining local renown, efforts rewarded with reputation well deserved.

I’m also crafting the field for the Freedom Run Half Marathon.  It will be interesting to see who ends up toeing the line.  One thing you are unlikely to see are any “D” or “C” level African  runners.

Chasing fast times is a great way to increase the prestige of your event.

The State Fair Marathon is touting a couple of sub 2:20 cats coming to set a new course record.  I find that partially admirable.  They haven’t announced names but I’m guessing they have not restricted the prize purse to “American Only.”  If you think its none of my business, think again.  Advocating for and developing  American talent Is My Business, for the last 20 years.  Towards that end I’m hoping my boy Colin Morrissey makes his 26.2 debut a huge success and disappoints any “furriners.”  We’ll miss him at the Freedom Run.  He’ll have plenty of competition though and that is the important thing for his developmental curve.

A crowded calendar for distance runners this fall to be sure.  Who goes to which races?  What prompts an athlete to choose one race over another?  What motivations are at work when selecting a peak effort for the fall?  Is a USATF Certified course important?  Is there support for the top tier athletes?  Waived, seeded entry?  Prize money?  Housing and meals?  Travel stipend?

I’ve contacted over 20 American athletes with invitations to the Freedom Run.  Let them know that this race is for them.  Designed for them.  Built in support for them.  Prize money for them.  You might recognize some of the names, others you’ll get familiar with in the days after the race.

Easy names, that will be able to appropriately thank the sponsors, provide intelligible replies to the local media, and inspire our Nebraska and American youth.






For all that’s been said here, there are tales from my life that are too far out there for most tender sensibilities.

My high school principal, Mr. William McKay, once chased a UFO, along with other cars and witnesses.  Central Illinois in the 70s.

My dad spent a week hunting a Bigfoot like creature in southeastern Missouri.

When working for the Will Co. Health Dept. I condemned the house of a man married to a monkey.

I ate exclusively with chop sticks for 10 years.

My brother left our hometown 40 years ago and has never returned.  I’ve seen him only  thrice.

My mom (rest her soul), my dad, and my sister all had false teeth by the age of 20.

My mom and brother never graduated high school.

My dad raised his family on less than $20K a year.

All the females on my maternal side have some degree of phobia(s).

My dad enlisted in the Illinois National Guard in 1968 to bust hippie’s heads at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

My dad’s father died from Dust Bowl pneumonia during the Great Depression, leaving my grandma Katie to raise 7 kids.

After smoking up to 2 packs a day, I retired that vile habit December 31, 1979, at the stroke of midnight.

And started running the next day.

My 10K time trial  yesterday had me feeling 22 again!



My writing career began back in 1983.  I had just founded The Gulf Coast Windbreakers.  Our monthly newsletter “The Breeze” included race results, training tips, interviews, and strong opinions.  Same as it ever was.

One of the most popular features was race results.  I’d compile finish lists at the races in which I competed.  Pencil and paper.  The Breeze was usually ahead but always on par with the races themselves in getting out results.  That was the only source back then.  You waited for the snail mail to deliver your official  results from the race.  And in this way back, most races did just that.

Most of you can’t imagine the archaic methods required, the non instant gratification predating your immediate worlds.  The huge boxes that constituted technology of the day cumbersome, burdensome, confounding and slow.  Much different than the tiny, powerful, confounding and slow machines of  today.

I subscribed to Race Results Weekly through the oughts and into 2012.  Made it my business to pour over results from around the  country.   Athlete Development Program and National Championships made it part of  my responsibilities to know who was running well, when and where too.  I took it Very  Seriously.

And now race results are available the  same morning of the event.  The timing companies, the races, the participants, all posting up in a moment.

But not always.  I’m still trying to find and  figure out  the results for the umpteenth  annual  Ralston 4th of July run.  I had an athlete entered thus my interest.  Understanding that this is a small if venerable and mostly social  event.  And appreciating there were race day issues with the  timing, order of  finish, and awards.  If you can help a brother out,  thanks for sending along a link, or even an old fashioned letter in the mailbox.


A common toast in the backwaters of Southern Louisiana.  Hoist a couple of the bi-valves to celebrate a significant achievement.  Or, a display of machismo.  “Hoist em if you got em.”  I might have to add that to runguru lexicon.

Who hoisted them highest and best this past weekend you ask?  Young Alex Obermier.  One of two this mid-2015  (Austin Post) that has adorned his cap with feathers named Hirsch, Morrissey, Vidlak, Dostal, Rutford, Watley, and Logsdon.  Obermier’s 25:39 was good enough to not only hand Seth Hirsch (2nd, 26:06) a rare defeat but also eclipse the young phenom’s winning time of 25:41 from last year.

Post, Obermier, Hirsch.

Es muy interesante!  These youngsters shaking up the doldrums of summer.

The future of distance running in Nebraska, as it turns out, is in the corners and recesses of our state.  Sure we can expect the occasional D1 athlete to make an impact but the depth and breadth of our developmental pool lay outside our two major metropolitan areas.  There are occasional exceptions (Vidlak, Miller) but I challenge you to list 5 D1 athletes that have graduated within the last 3 years that remain Competitive in Nebraska road racing.  I sure hope Mr. Post has plans to stick  around.  And a few others that I’ve been keeping a keen eye on.  The  future.  A visionary  always has his eyes ahead.

These young guns, these outliers.  These Oyster Hoisters!


Bigger than you.  My position is that the competitive running scene in Nebraska is growing, maturing.  Fiefdoms are finding common ground.  The relevant players are weighing in, both online and off.  Those that care about the success and growth of our USATF Nebraska Association LDR Program.  The program is bigger than all of us.

There are a lot of levels of interest and support, not everyone sports a flashy kit or competitive airs.  There are those with membership for membership sake.  To bolster the growth of Nebraska distance running, at all levels.  Parents, coaches, officials, administrators.

These are the people that care about USATF.  And these are the people that will find the positive and build upon it.  The ones that will withstand the critics and sneers that have and will continue efforts to stall progress.

The sport, our sport.  Its bigger than me.  And bigger than you.