Its palpable. I can feel the pulse quickening. Legs and hearts and minds starting to come around. Excitement. Hope. Achievement.
In deference to age I’m going to kick this Monday off with some superlative masters performances. Waaay back in the day I worked with a young lady named Susan Loken, REAL fast lady. Perusing the Phoenix Marathon and Half Marathon results her name jumped out of the Half list. Now in the 50-54 age group she cranked out a 1:22:39 to win her age group. Local twist is that she is the founder of the Sonoran Distance Project ( my former mate Natalie Como’s current kit). In the full marathon Julie Swanson ran 2:58:22 to capture the masters title. Local turn is 3 time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier Christy Nielsen took 2nd master in 3:01:49.
On the other end of the age spectrum, that little waif out of Michigan. Erin Finn captured an amazing double at the Big12 Indoor Championships. Took titles in the 3000 (9:08.90) and 5000 (15:37.1).
Back to the greybeards. The millionth edition of No Frills shook out south of here. A statement of loyalty and maturity, average age of the men’s field Saturday = 43.15. Nathan Swenson (age 28) took the win in 28:48 (5:46 pace). Average age of the women’s field = 38.2. Jen Freeman (34) took the win in 32:03 (6:24 pace).
Back to the future. Over the last 20+ years I’ve had the privilege of riding in dozens and dozens of road race press trucks. Watching America’s best. Often battling the best from other countries. So what?
So this. Linda and I set up Saturday’s Halley’s Comet 8K race clock in the back of the lead vehicle, for a reason. — Wait, wait, let me preface. I’ve trumpeted loudly our “Will Lindgren’s Festival of Races” courses as being designed exclusively for personal bests and association records.—- Much celebration a couple of weeks ago when a new 5K mark was set, Johnny Rutford’s 15:15. The toast of the LDR community and so very deserved.
Johnny and Colin Morrissey and Cory Logsdon (arguably LRC Racing and Team Nebraska’s top runners) get what is going on here. They’ve been out for a couple editions and know the course and its potential. They’re not afraid to get some against each other. Or to lineup against Nebraska Run Guru Elite’s best. Which they did. At the finish tape it was Grant Wintheiser in 24:12, the fastest 8K ever contested on Nebraska soil. Like this: 4:51, 9:49, 14:39, 15:06@ 5K (fastest 5K ever contested on Nebraska soil), 19:31 @ 4 Miles, 24:12.81 at 8K.
As soon as I posted the results and trumpeted the record the challenges began. Not sure what changed over two weeks but at least we are moving in the RIGHT DIRECTION.
-The course isn’t certified! Paperwork was submitted on December 21st, hold your horses, as soon as that was revealed the next challenge came.
-The race wasn’t USATF sanctioned! In other words I did not pay the $65 to insure the event, I’m still in the grey area over whether or not it is applicable in this situation, that’ll be decided by the National Office. Pretty obvious why it was not sanctioned. I’ve offered a FREE ENTRY to the entirety of our Nebraska Association membership. For every race in our Two Rivers Winter Fitness Series. And get Cory and Colin and Johnny and that’s it. That is the support in a nutshell. Only the very best bothering. All our efforts to encourage first class competition, this is what we get. Good thing I’m tough. Stay tuned.
Back to the back of the truck. I watched Grant’s style, his form, his power. In the last 20 years as an observer of national/world class racing I have never seen anyone as smooth. In the middle of a 95 mile week. Including two workouts that included 7 X 1 Mile @ 5:05 (3:00 easy between) and 12 X 1K (:30 rest) in 3:00.
Colin showed tremendous juevos, step for step with Grant in the first 3/4 mile. Cool pic because the 4 shadows and 3 runners, Cory in the ether slipstream. Foreshadowing the Lincoln Half Marathon.
And then there was Grant. Good tough, solo effort for the last 4 miles. I have a feeling this whole state record business means more to me than him. 15:06 and 24:12. Love Me Two Times.