Well if that wasn’t nearly a perfect morning! Almost. This close. A hair. Less than forty seconds.
But first, The Joy! You know I’m proud of my mates. That pride yesterday expanding and draping every single competitive athlete in Lincoln. How proud Nebraska should be. Every distance athlete at any rate. Some really fine racing and performances.
Starting with the biggest tips to Eric Noel (2:25:00) and Kaci Lickteig (2:48:43). From my old buddy Neil Young, “Home grown’s all right with me, home grown is the way it should be.” Not sure about Eric but a personal best for Kaci, crashing the 2:50 barrier. Our mate Jeremy Morris also ran a pr, winning the 35-39 age group in 2:47:25. Jeff Gregg (3:10:01) followed up his Boston adventure with a solid effort, Kray Zeller (3:27:32) and Agustin Delgado (3:37:23), rounded out the mates in the full.
Oh, The Pain. Heartbreaking for me, we’ll all grow because of it. The Half.
I was sitting in the stands with Katie White’s (2nd o/a female 1:21:08) mom. Tracking Katie and Grant Wintheiser. Her mom giddy as Katie continued to work her way up from 5th with just a few miles to go. Me even more so as we tracked Grant, some :40-:45 behind eventual winner Evans Chelanga. Less than 3 miles to go, less than 2, less than 1 to go. Approaching the stadium. Just enough gap between Chelanga and Grant that the chaser didn’t see the right hand turn leading into the tunnel. That beacon of accomplishment, the fella on the megaphone, calling “Marathoners go straight, Half Marathoners turn right”, not yet at his post. With that Grant missed the turn.
Young man of 22, making his half marathon debut, I’m taking full responsibility for not preparing him better, for not taking him out on the final mile of the course. For not making sure he knew the turn. I should not have expected him to see that sign on the pole to turn in. In an event where preparation is everything, I dropped the ball. Grant continued on and crossed the half marathon timing mat in the full in 1:06:55. Saw nothing but road ahead and realized something was terribly wrong. So did those of us in the stadium. Grant turned and jogged back to the stadium, entered with his hands up in question, walked across the finish line in 1:11:14. His official time. And 7th, his unequivocal placing. And me, just heartbroken. If 2nd would have gone to anyone other than once my mate, always my mate, Mike Morgan (1:07:22), I’d still be drowning my sorrows. Mike showing the classiest move of the morning by offering Grant the 2nd o/a award, Grant just as classy insisting he keep it.
More Joy though, and thank the stars. The greatest of which came from Kyle Clouston. Running with his mate James McGown (1:16:57, 3rd 40-44), perfect pacing, going for sub 1:17:00. Kyle not only stuck with James but pulled away from the 2 time Oly Trials qualifier in the final mile to crush my pr in 1:16:39. And Michel Solan Davy. Has worked as hard as anyone and was rewarded with a new personal best of 1:28:22.
And more Joy. Jay Welp (5th, 1:10:36) and Kevin Joerger (11th, 1:12:22) joined Grant in making their debuts at 13.1 miles. Three virgins, three debs. In the official results 5th, 7th, and 11th. So very hungry now.
And the Greatest Joy, my dear sweet Linda. Trained her butt off at 53 years old. Ran a smart race, unscathed this morning.
Tomorrow: More on Lincoln.
Kyle, Jay, Grant, James, and Kevin join me celebrating the success of the morning.