Monthly Archives: December 2015


You know you’ve been waiting for it!  Here it is!!  Heavily weighted towards my mates.  Boldly standing at home plate, pointing to the deepest part of the park.

1.  For the Kansas City Smoke and Iowa RunAblaze, and LRC Racing and Team Nebraska too, everything and more than they can handle from Welp, Wintheiser, Prescott, Sanabria, and Joerger.

2. USATF  Nebraska Association records from 400 through the marathon through ultra through beyond.

3. At least 1 Male and 1 Female Nebraska Olympic Trials Qualifier, at  any distance!

4. Top 5 finish for NRGE mates at Shamrock Shuffle and Club XC National Championships.

5. For Pete Kostelnick a bad ass back to back and course record at Badwater.

6. For Amber Sargent,  the Win at 2016 Lincoln Marathon.  You read it here in December.

7. For Al Sanabria, a dream realized with a spot on the Costa Rican Olympic  Team.

8. For USATF Nebraska LDR, a runguru free year.  Right.

9.  Also for LDR, Youngblood.  Logan?  Colin?

10. For you, another year of running and racing and reading!


The logical follow up question to yesterday’s query.  I gave you my thoughts on the primary difference between Runners Racing and Racers Racing.  In It To Win It, the line of demarcation.  And thank the Buddha almost every one of you now understand what that really means.  Not always (but sometimes!) the first person across the line, but always, always, always giving it their very best.  You savy?  Being driven during the race to reach just a little further, first and foremost battling your own demons.  You have no demons you say?  You can stop reading here if so.

Demons that drive you.

Number one is self doubt.  I don’t care how fit or unfit, fast or not fast, if you are a Real Racer there will come a time between gun and tape where you reach your personal red line.  Letters writ large on that line “I CAN’T GIVE ANYMORE”.  If you tell me that is not the biggest demon we face as Real Racers I’ll give you directions to the Millard Social and Book Club.

Number two is him/her.  Wring your hands and gnash your teeth, here I go again!  For every hundred runners in a race claiming its all about the journey and experience there is one In It To Win It.  Within the confines of fair play, At All Costs.  Who wants it more?  I swear if it was me and you in the stretch it would Always be me at the  tape.    And keep  in mind this is relative to your own god given ability.  There’s always someone faster after all.  But among those of like talent, when it really matters, the Mind Is The Athlete.  And few have ever suffered more in those final meters, because after I master myself it is only you left.  We can have a beer afterwards.  Or not.

Number three is Mean Old Father Time.  In cahoots with Old Scratch you know.  This I promise and cross my heart!  You, if you are lucky, will continue to age.  Running through your youth like its guaranteed.  Fairly loping through your twenties, faster times and fitness as natural as a bug.  Manhood of your thirties, prowess maxing out if you’ve been right in training.  And that is where it sneaks in.  OFT.  Unless you are one of the tiniest percentage of runners, or have easy access to some good dope, you’ll begin slowing down.  And that is the toughest demon of all to wrestle.  It did a number on me to be sure but I’m all better now.

So my final advice is this.  Give Your Very Best When You Race.  You will wish you had when you had the chance.  And if you do/did?  You’ll be writing a blog one of these days.



Ask a million runners, you’ll likely get a million answers.

Ask a Real Racer and you’ll get a decidedly smaller pool of answers.

“To Win!”  That’s my favorite.  “To push myself beyond perceived limits” is another that rings my chime.

For every Real Racer there are a million and more runners.

How do you tell the difference between the two?  Reading this blog is a good start.

Paying attention to post race celebrations is another.  I like reading those reports that  are full of expletives and angst.  Real Racers pissed that they didn’t perform better (never good enough).  Runners are just happy to be on the start line with the Real Racers, first mile selfies the highlight of their morning.

Give me one Real Racer, keep the millions.



Club Cross and  the Racing is Fine!  My notes follow.

59 clubs, 411 finishers.  The most important Club race of the winter.  For Nebraska.  For the Midwest.  For the good old US of A.  And indeed teams from across America came to San  Francisco to battle for bragging rights.   All the usual players with Ben Rosario doing some  great things up top.  The Midwest best represented by a couple of different teams from Kansas City with The Smoke (11th) and City of Fountains Athletic Club (14th), showing competition is good, mmmkay?   Followed by Run n Fun from The Cities (18th) and  Iowa RunAblaze (21st).  Four regional  teams in the upper third of the race, good things.  LRC Racing taking the Good Life Kudos in 39th.  My old buddy Matty Pohren all the way in from New York state to lead Team Nebraska finishers by two minutes and to 46th place.

Editors note, on the women’s side:  Alexina Wilson of RunAblaze finished 22nd in 20:35, Cassie Mitchell of Team Nebraska was 73rd in 21:37, Lindsey  McDonald of KC Smoke 107th in 22:09 to lead their respective teams.  Haleigh Riggle of Team Nebraska also competed finishing 267th in 24:58.

1. Hoka One One.  Flagstaff.  Old buddy Ben Rosario (2003, St. Louis)
2. Boston Athletic Association
3. Boulder Track Club
4. Asics Aggies.  Old buddy Joe Rubio.  Wife is from Council Bluffs.
5. Team Eugene
6. Brooks Beast, Seattle
7. Adidas Garden State- New Jersey
8. Movin Shoes-  Madison, WI
9. Atlanta Track Club
10. Playmakers Elite New Balance, Michigan
11. Kansas City Smoke.  Giddyup!  Joe Moore 9th 29:41, Cory Keehn 44th 30:48,  James Wilson 79th 31:23, Javier Ceja 129th 32:08, Kory Cool, 169th 32:36, Justin Garrard 175th 32:41, Michael Hernandez 212th 33:14
12. Cal Coast Track Club
13. New Balance Boston
14. City  of Fountains Athletic Club- Kansas City.  Say  what???????????
15.  Bowerman Track Club- Portland, OR
16. Georgetown Running Club- Georgetown,  TX
17. Club Northwest.  Old buddy Tom Cotner.  Seattle
18. Run n Fun- Twin Cities, MN
19.  Sports Warriors Track  Club- Albuquerque, NM
20.  West Valley Track Club- San Francisco
21. Iowa RunAblaze  Conor Wells 52nd 30:35, Chris Robertson 86th 31:28, Ben Jaskowiak 116th 31:56, Robert Scanlon 151st 32:23, Thomas Ries 190th 32:52, William Graham 233rd 33:29.
39. Lincoln Running Co. Racing  Cole Marolf 154th 32:26, Ryan Dostal 230th 33:28, Trevor Vidlak 277th 34:10,  John Gunderson 278th 34:13, Andrew Jacob 325th 35:19, Brian Wandzilak 332nd 35:28.
46. Team Nebraska-  Matt Pohren 160th 32:31, Cory Logsdon 293rd 34:31, Josiah Belzer 303rd 34:46, Colin Morrissey 317th 35:03, Peter Falcon 351st 36:34, Lee Anderson 360th 36:57.


Lookie here now!  Santa dropped a big one on a few of you dreamers.  The  IAAF announced yesterday that their Olympic Marathon Standards have been slightly eased.  As of 12/10 if you have run 2:45 or 2:19:00 you are eligible to run in the Games.  As long as you finish top 3 in your federation’s Olympic Trials or other selection process.

Questions abound however.  Will the standards be implemented retroactively?  That is, if you ran 2:18:56 when the qualifying window opened waaay back in 2012 will you be lucky.  These questions will be answered by  USATF in the next few hours we hope.

Runners everywhere bundled into their seats this morning, headed to the City By The Bay and manana’s Club XC Champs.  Heading out from Omaha, Lincoln, Kansas City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, OKC, and just about every other direction you point your staff.  Our once a year chance to show how Nebraska measures up to the rest of the country.  And to see how our Nebraska Association clubs fare for Good Life bragging rights.  As close to the Big Time as many will see for the first time.  Great experience and motivator for anyone toeing the line.

My last trip to Club Cross, in 2012 , driving non stop to Lexington, KY in a driving storm, leaving at the last minute due to a couple of scheduling issues, night blind, unfamiliar roads, scary.  My mates that morning would go 20th O/A Women and 22nd O/A Men.

Bend, OR hosted in 2013.  Team Nebraska sent a men’s team only, finishing  40th.  Of note, the Kansas City Smoke finished 26th in 2013, their progress obvious as you read on.  Bethlehem, PA hosted last year and the Smoke moved up to 18th.  Team IowaAblaze finished 26th, Team Nebraska was not represented, and LRC Racing finished 41st.

It will read a little differently come Monday due to the fact that the field has been split into “A” and “B” races.  But that’s the beauty of The Race, that Great Arbiter that Never Lies.  Time.  Results.  Wishing all our Midwest Region USATF teams a move up the food chain, Giddyup!

And You!  Fellas!  Captain!  Foreigner!  Hometown!  Ringer! Al!   My Mates!  Let this be your 2016 Tallahassee Wake up Call!!


I’ve known Richard Clark Fannin for years as Elite Athlete Coordinator for our USA 15K National Championships in Jacksonville, FL.  Like most of our USATF volunteers, he does it out of his love for the sport.  Relatively young (in his forties) for someone that already is nearing two decades of service.   I’m following his feed with Great Interest lately, he’s crafting perhaps the deepest half marathon field I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something.  The JaxBank Half will be held January 3rd as one of the last (and most perfectly timed) opportunities to qualify for the USA Olympic Trials Marathon.  Richard took time out of his busy schedule to take a phone call yesterday.

Will:  This is an amazing field you are putting together, how did this materialize so quickly?
Richard:  We were setting around several weeks ago considering all of the athletes that were so very close to the half standard, on the bubble,  and decided to offer them the opportunity to come together in their pursuit.

Will: Not an easy thing to do, how did you get your community and sponsors to support such a grand vision?
Richard: One of the keys to this event is that we are really not into a grand production.  JaxBank has never had an elite field before this year.  We wanted to offer a last chance without the pressure and hype surrounding some of the other big races.  Low pressure, low key sometimes produces the best results.  No expo, no speaking engagements, just show up, hang out, and get the job done at the gun.

Will: Looking at your field, 48 invited women, 63 invited men, is like reading a who’s who of developing American talent.  How in the world can you afford such an assembly?
Richard: It’s really been a grass roots effort.  There is no money for travel.  All that has been offered is a waived entry, meals, and shared hotel room, up to 3-4 athletes in each at our host hotel, a local, no frills arrangement.

Will:  The scheduling is spot on, 6 weeks out from the Trials.
Richard:  Right.  There will be other opportunities to qualify, most notably Houston Half a couple of weeks after JaxBank.  But we felt the additional two weeks would work most favorably for the athletes.  And many agree.

Will:  There are a lot of names on the list that have already achieved their qualifiers, what is bringing them to Jacksonville?
Richard:  It speaks to the American distance running community.  Many of them have committed to the event in order to help their buddies get the standard or as to serve as pacers.  The flat as a pancake course is also an opportunity for them to turn in a final good effort prior to their own Olympic Trials dreams.

Will:  What are your current course records?
Richard:  Neil McDonagh, 1:04:19 in 2010 and Alissa McKaig, 1:14:02 in 2011.

Will:  Are the athletes also competing for a decent payday?
Richard:  Another thing that speaks so highly to the support by the athletes is that we are offering only a $500 first prize to the first male and female.  We will however be giving each and every athlete that meets the standard (sub 1:05 and sub 1:15) a $300 stipend and recognize them at our awards ceremony with the gift of an American Flag.  Really a throwback to old school racing where runners showed up and raced for the competition.

Will:  I want to thank you Richard for everything you do for American Distance Running.
Richard:  There’s still a few of us Will, that care enough!  Keep up your good work!

**Editor’s note   Tanner Fruit was added earlier this week and Mason Frank has been offered just this morning.
Please check updates here



I was tempted to title today “Wacky Wednesday” but figured the juxtaposition above fits fine.

Old Lou is back up to his tricks out at my former dojo.  Not at all something to make light of, let me make  that perfectly clear, this is merely a public service announcement.  Lou has a history of up front and in your face dropping trou on unsuspecting ladies, the embodiment of a sad, sorry, sick soul.   Please, please ladies, don’t run alone and leave the headphones at home.   See something, say something.

And sometimes the weirdos are a little harder to identify,   The soft and swift talkers, polished to the untrained eye, hucksters with their crystal balls.  Seen it.  Said it.   Old Lou, with his polished ruse, makes this father of two daughters cringe.

Caught up with my old buddy Jim Estes yesterday.  Head of USATF’s LDR program, we go way back  and half way around the world (Yokohama International Ekiden’s USA Team Leaders back in ought six).  Let him know that I’m back, if not bigger, better this time.  Introduced our mates and accepted some wise counsel from someone that knows my temperament.  But the best news, that which I was hoping for, is that my petition for acceptance of Zach Hine’s 1:04:48 at the 2014 Freedom Run Half Marathon has been officially accepted and punched Zach’s ticket to the USA Olympic Trials Marathon.  As stated before, sometimes the wheels of bureaucracy are slow and arduous and worth every bit of the fight.

Mason Frank.  Iowa RunAblaze top gun.  Former Iowa State stud.  Multiple time winner of Living History Farms.  Feeling bad for the lad.  He was the  Midwest Region’s top finisher at last weekend’s California International  Marathon.  2:18:34.  Thirty four ticks away.

Don’t ever count out Kara Goucher.  Her 1:11:09 win at this past weekend’s RocknRoll San Antonio Half shows the fire still burns brightly.

You won’t want to miss tomorrow’s column.  I’ll be detailing the most competitive American Half Marathon field in my old and long memory.



No other explanation, it had to be some anagram of Santa that would take away our  last vestige of excellence in running journalism.   I reached out  immediately to one of my oldest buddies and career contributor to Running Times.  Jim Gerweck, you might not know  the name but if you’re a serious runner you’ve read thousands and thousands of his words.  Sad days indeed.  I’m also keeping my former mate and Times publisher Jonathan Beverly in my Christmas wishes.   He’ll land well but not sure if he’ll remain with Rodale  Press, those  responsible for the dumbing down, we are all winners, run your  best 5K on 3 days/week, pablum for the masses trumping Real.

More kudos to wunderkind Seth Hirsch.  Top ten at NXN (Nike Cross Nationals), sub 15:00.

Survey Says!  Questionnaires flooding the airwaves about what constitutes elite running.  Locally and nationally.  This coming weekend’s Club Cross in San Francisco has been a work in progress.  Each club has received a slate of questions to determine which RACE they will be slotted into.  Going to be some feelings hurt, maybe none more than Alan Webb’s?

In a move that warms my heart like a heavily spiked nog Pink Gorilla is also soliciting input into their elite efforts.  I’d wager that my response contained the most stringent definition of what “Elite” means than any other.  Linda is Elite around the Bar None.  A lot of “local elites” putting up locally respectable times, but the higher up the food chain you go the more you realize your station.  Regional Elites, also an entry in my dictionary.  National Elites, straight in my wheelhouse.  Across most of the US, local elites are just that, able to perform consistently  near the top of your Friends of the Library Fun Run.

For your inspection I offer the following times: Local Elite Men 5K <16:30, 10K<33:30, Half <1:15:00, Full  <2:45.  Women 5K <19:00, 10K <39:00, Half <1:30. Full < 3:15.  If you want to  be considered Regionally Elite you’d better get to work.  Men 5 <15:00. 10K  <31:00, Half <1:09, Full <2:25.   Women 5K <17:00, 10K < 35:00, Half <1:20:00, Full <2:50.  All  around the country these times and athletes are known as “Sub Elites”.  If they continue their developmental arc and are Truly Talented, these times hold  sway:  Men 5K <14:30, 10K <30:00, Half @ <1:06, Full @ sub 2:15.  Women 5K <16:00, 10K < 33:00, Half <1:15:00, Full <2:40.

We may not have Running Times to trumpet excellence anymore but I hope you will continue to read these musings, I promise I’ll never be co-opted or dumbed down to a mass audience.

Now get to work!



Well they certainly were in benevolent spirits this  past weekend.  I’ll kick off the gifts by congratulating our mates Pete Kostelnick and Kyle Clouston for being among the luckiest on Saturday morning’s Western States Lottery.  My response has been, one would have been great,  two is a blessing.  Good Clean Living.  Throw in the fact that the only other Nebraskan selected was Pete’s co-worker Jon Tanner and you see while we are just feeling so special!

Camille Herron!  Our friend and your new 50K World Champion!!  Wrapping  up the year undefeated with two World Titles.  Sweet.

Kaci  Lickteig was in Auburn California for the UROC 100K where she finished a fine 3rd overall (10:56:22).  Tops was my old buddy Magdalena Boulet (10:03:29) followed by Larisa Dannis (10:25:41)

They grinned on California International Marathon too.
Eric Noel (LRC alum)- 2:21:31
Michael Rathje (LRC)- 2:28:19
Johnny Rutford (LRC)- 2:39:34
Tom Nichols (LRC)- 2:41:56
Natalie Como (Sonoran Distance Project)- 2:47:54—–(used to run for me)
Liza Hunter Galvan (previously convicted drug cheat, 46)- 2:48:29
Lisa Barmert (originally from Fremont)- 2:49:09
Kayte Partch- 2:54:36
Shannon Mauser Suing- 2:54:48

And cracked a smile on Cory Logsdon 892 miles to the east as his 2:42:21 was good enough for the overall win at the Tuscon Marathon.  Cory has had a packed fall running well at LHF and now the 26.2 laurels.  Doing the “meatgrinder” circuit as he is also entered into this coming weekend’s Club XC Champs.  I’m biting the end  of my tongue off.

And saved some for Lauren Smith of Lake Jackson, TX (a homey) as she turned in an Olympic Trials Qualifier 1:14:52 at the Rock’n’Roll San Antonio Half Marathon.

Perhaps the first ever 50/100 miler held in Iowa was also this past weekend.  Looking high and low for some results if your sleuthing skills trump mine thanks for sending along.

I hope you’ll take a look at the new banner up top 2016 Winter Fitness Series.  We’re excited to offer these low key, fast or slow as you need, opportunities to maintain your  waistline and fitness through the holidays.  We’ve moved the series to Two  Rivers State Recreation Area and trimmed down our dates to five only across January/February.

January 9th- Rust Buster 5K
January 23- Full  Wolf Moon 5K
February  6- Dalton Gang 5K
February 14- 4th annual Two  Rivers Valentines Day Runs (1.5 mile, 3 mile, 6 mile)
February 27- Halley’s Comet 8K
Only minutes from most of you, we hope you’ll come out and enjoy the camaraderie, home baked goodies, hot chocolate, official results, and the chance to win our series Grand Prize (one lucky winner will be drawn, each time you participate, your odds jump jump jump.)




Think what you will.  Spin it any  way you want.  Speak your truth with personal conviction, but make sure  your  position is soundly based in fact.  I’m going to tell you right here and right now that USATF, despite what others might try and convince you of, is all about Medals.  Olympic Medals.  World Championships Medals.

The  grassroots efforts, the outreaches, the youth programs, the meetings, the battles (some just shy of fisticuffs), the dedication, the  labors.  All about the Medals.  You surely don’t believe otherwise do you?

If you were in attendance at last night’s Opening Ceremonies you heard it from CEO Max Siegel and Your Highness Hightower.  Everything is judged and graded on Medals.  Everything.  Anything else you can, with all due respect of course, join RRCA.  Which does very good work for the sport, the athletes, and its programs.  But don’t you compare that apple to this orange.



Our Elite Development Club Council is wrangling a mess in the form of our USATF Club XC Championships  in San Francisco.  The ever increasing swell of participation (successful program!) has necessitated that the event be split into two separate races.  Wait for it……..

“A” Race and “B” Race.  What we are dealing with is exactly whom gets into which race and why.  Excellence trumping emotion.  The one thing we all agree on is that the only way to  guarantee your club’s entry into the A Race is Excellence.  If you finished as a top 40 team last year you are in the A Race.  One of our concerns is that clubs relegated to the lesser race may find that it doesn’t satisfy them or their sponsors and may influence their return in 2016.

USATF clubs all share commonalities.  Budgets.  And how we are to afford the best possible competitive situations and outcomes to fulfill our purpose of Elite Development.  With eyes constantly on the podium.