Monthly Archives: October 2016


I was dropped off at the entrance to Hummel Park just prior to dusk last night.  Sleeping bag, flashlight, salted snacks, half pint of Knob Creek whiskey, pistol.   Wound upward through the gloaming guided more by memory than eyesight.  I’d been here before.   That’s why I spent last night there.

Wrinkled, faded, dying and dead, the crushing leaves counting my steps.  Twigs snapping like brittle old bones.  Blood orange rays, the last vestige of day and all that is good, giving way to  other things.

Things remembered.  Things to be faced.

Not the pavilion, or the haunted stairs, this night destined for deeper and darker.  Off the trail proper now, eyes straining for landmark.  Three cairns.  Aligned and pointing to the mouth of the sepulchar.  Where I must.  The opening to the cave, larger than a breadbox,  revealed only after pulling stringy, ratty tangles of overgrowth aside.  Quiet thank the gods.

On my belly and into the monument.  Entombed, 1968 rushing back with paralyzing grip.  A young boy, struck dumb.  A late afternoon with family.  Wandering the woods, finding this cave.  Entering with  images of hideouts and hidden treasures.  Only a few arrowheads and the bones of several hospiced coons or possums.  Then hearing guttural celebration, more growl than voice.  Peering out, changing my life forever.

Trying to answer the question now, 48 years later.  Apparition, shadow, or imagination?

Linda picked me up this morning right where she dropped me off last night.  I threw my bag in the backseat, hopped in the front.  Took off my ball and cap Linda screamed like a Banshee.

My hair has gone completely white over night.







Pete Kostelnick named the USATF Athlete of the Week.  Check the list of previously named athletes to see how well respected Pete’s feet are.

I feel redeemed.  Rewarded.  Fifteen years of advocating for My USATF.  Five thousand four hundred and seventy five days of body blows and messy messes aimed at My USATF.

And now I look around and see it everywhere.  LDR membership way up.  A strong LDR committee.  Team Nebraska,  LRC Racing, Women Run Nebraska.  Nebraska Run Guru Elite.   Races certified and sanctioned.   At least some discussion now on who’s the fastest, who’s the best.   My USATF falling into place.

The one constant over the last decade and a half?  The one unwavering vision?  The fella that after it all got what he wanted?  With our athlete, our association and my team being recognized at the highest level.  My USATF.

I’ve nominated both Pete and Kaci for Ultra Runner of the Year, USATF’s highest honor within the discipline.  The national governing body of our sport taking notice of what is going down in Nebraska.  Recognizing and celebrating the progress and success of both athlete and association.  That’s the way it works with My USATF.

For those that have supported My USATF, for all those that have put up with my belabored, beleaguered, efforts I thank you.  Everyone else gets a raspberry.  And Pete get’s USATF’s weekly award for outstanding athlete.  My USATF.



Pete is being celebrated everywhere and deservedly.  Front page quote and twenty eight pages over on Let’s Run.  First time I’ve been there in a while, still populated by trolls and fools, but as always a nugget to be had amidst all the ca-ca.  What caught my eye this morning?  Outrage over a new trend in road racing.  Paying extra to be timed.   I saw this at Omaha’s Race for the  Cure.  I mean March for the Cure.

I’ll go down with my ship.  The SS Real Racing.  Standing proudly at the bow, all but the most loyal of mates having already jumped.  Obsolete epaulets.

The roads now co-opted by every charity out there.  Calling their fund raisers races.  Less than 1% of charity driven runs can legitimately fill that bill.    Dressed up in their novelty, their “virtual” accomplishments, their walkers, their participation medals, their non-running administrators.  No official times?  No shit.

“So Willie”, you might say.  “That’s the new reality in our sport.”

NO!  That’s not my reality at all.  My reality includes pain and suffering and sweat and only one winner.  The Winner.  Winners.  Does anyone remember those?  Does anyone even care?  If you read me I’m betting you do.


Boomerang.   I sold the Rocket on Labor Day.  Fella from We$t $hores saw it in my drive, made me an offer I couldn’t refu$e.   Same fella shows up  yesterday.  Real good guy.  Big life changes necessitating a strange twist.  Signs the title back over to me.  Right then and there.  Just like that.  No kidding.  New whitewall tires, detailed, more mechanically sound than ever.  1973 Delta 88 Royale.  455 Rocket engine.  71K original miles.

42 8 34

Days, hours, and minutes it took Pete to run from SF to NYC.  New world record by almost 4 days.

Pete has transcended the surly bonds  of merely mortal.  Now recognized globally as a running god.  He’s touched and inspired thousands with this incredible feat of endurance.

I’d like to be in his head this morning.  Did he wake at the regularly scheduled time?  Did his legs and heart and mind compel towards another day of running?  Or in his head yesterday with just an hour of running left.  The sense of  accomplishment, the friends, the memories all cascading into one final push.  Were there tears?  I can’t imagine the overwhelming tsunami of emotions.

All of this and much more.  Pete’s experience of a lifetime.  42 days, 8 hours, and 34 minutes that have elevated Pete Kostelnick  to the stuff of legend.


Pete and his road dog Kyle.  Both have had an immense impact on how I define elite level running.


In my lifetime, the Cubs have won the National League Pennant!  Four more.

Pete finishes up his transcontinental adventure today, a full 3 days ahead of the existing world record.  Not much hasn’t already been said.  I heard from my old  buddy Dave (RD, Boston Marathon) on Friday, he was excited to be running with Pete yesterday.  I’ll just say again how proud and lucky we are to have him as part of NRGE, Inc.

Congratulations to Seth Hirsch (SR Millard West) and Mazie Larsen (JR Gretna) on their all class golds this weekend.  Dominating their respective classes, Seth’s final romp, Mazie another year to go.  15:04 and 18:32 the fastest times I’ve seen from Kearney.  Next year’s race should be a doozy with a bunch of hungry lads no longer having to take hind at the state table.  The potential on the girls side seemingly endless led by Larsen and this year’s surprise of the meet Rylee Rice (FR Ainsworth, way out there off the Cowboy Trail) in 18:34 for 2nd best time of the day.

Congrats  to Coach Colin Johnston on his Class A team sweep.  And a special tip of the sombrero to Coach Sean McMahon and his Fremont harriers, only two points back on the fella’s side.  Class C girls top 3 SO, FR, FR.  Class D boys SR, SR, SR.  Class D girls had but 1 SR represented on the top 5 scoring teams combined.   My namesake Jack (JR, Ollagala) finished a fine 10th boy in Class C.

Bryan Health Capital City Classic (whew!).  New name and apparently a new race.  The race formerly known as the Governor’s Cup has new life and better support by the local competitive community.  Sorry we missed this one.  In 2015 top 3 men were 52:32, 57:31, and 58:08.  This year, Trevor Vidlak’s 52:12, and 52:39, 52:59.    But it was the 5K I am conjuring images of, seems to have been the local race of the weekend.  Matt Tebo in 15:31, Peter Falcon in 15:32, Johnny Rutford in 15:36, Nolan Border in 15:41, Joe Coil in 16:21 and Colin Morrissey 16:37 all ripe and ready.  Best performance of the day in Lincoln by Jessica Tebo taking 9th o/a in a wake up call to every other female in Nebraska 16:48.

And finally the Goatz 50K at Lake Cunningham yesterday.  Can’t find results but Kaci gets the course record in 3:45:46.   Our Jeremy Morris and David Frost repping as well as Cory Logsdon and Tim Langdon and Tim McGargill from Trail Nebraska.



“Time for this one to come home!”  Tooter Turtle, that reptilian rapscallion!  Galavanting through all kinds of historical mis-adventures, searching his destiny.  Ultimately and always calling out various precarious predicament to mentor Mr. Wizard the Lizard.

The wizened wizard always rescued our hapless, helpless Tooter.  And always parted with the same message.

“Be just what you is, not what you is not.  Folks what do this has the happiest lot.”





Criss Cross Apple Sauce.  Linda and I like to read to each other.  A lot.  She recited the top qualifiers for this Friday’s Nebraska State XC Champs.  Muy interesante!

Class A boys, Millard West’s Seth Hirsch’s 15:02 puts him head and shoulders above.  Class B boys, Jackson Larsen, Omaha Gross- 16:02.24.  Class C boys, Aidan Wheelock of Minden (16:47).  In Class C-4  is my personal favorite , Jack Lindgren of Ogallala (17:00), we’ve never met but hope to remedy that Friday.  Class D is led by Elijah Frasher of Aquinas in 16:33.  All class gold goes to young master Hirsch.

The girls are bunched considerably closer.  Top Class A are Taylor Sommers of Millard South (19:05), and Anna Jennings of Papio South (19:07).  Class B led by Maize Larsen (Gretna, 18:48) and Whitney Riesen off Scottsbluff (18:54).  Class C’s Christina Soto-Stopak of Boone Central/Newman Grove 19:25 showing the way there.  Class D best represented by Cameron Hucke of Hastings  St. Cecilia state qualifying leader of 18:47.  All class gold should be a real donnybrook between the returning All Class champ (Somers), defending class B champ (Larsen) and my dark horse surprise pick, the altitude trained Riesen.

Looking  forward to getting to know Jack.

Pete is now 5 miles from Pennsylvania and a mere  280 from his destination in NYC.  4 more days until history is re-written.  Run Pete Run!




“When the man comes to you
Tells you what you always knew was coming
You feel it came too fast
You always  thought the world would last way past you
But now you find its  time
’cause there’s nothing left around you
Spaceship Orion’s there waiting to part the air above you”

Readers of a certain vintage will recognize the song title and lyrics.  One of the most personally influential bands of the 70s and 80s for me.  Soothing through a tumultuous childhood.  The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  I’ve cited them here before (“Chicken Train, Runnin All Day!).

Shawn Love is the founder of the Kansas City Smoke.  USATF Elite Development Club.  Hasn’t rode heard over the Smoke for 8 years, our stories so eerily similar- a top club in the U.S. being co-opted by burgeoning membership with different ideas and agendas.  He’s from Fair Grove, MO, home to the Daredevils, they’re old friends with him.  So when Shawn invited me down for perhaps their final appearance I just couldn’t resist.

Linda and I made the 500 mile drive to Shell Knob, MO on Friday.  I drove the entire way.  Got to our Cabin (The Green Cocoon), Linda  pulls it up 4 feet and locks the keys in the Jeep!  Inauspicious start that got tremendously better.

A day trip to  Eureka Springs, AR on Saturday.  Reminiscent of Manitou Springs, CO.  Hip without all the Branson fluff and stuff.  Folk Festival on the main downtown stage.  Fascinating architecture, friendly people.

Snapped out of slumber Saturday night by big footfalls on our deck,  the rummage of trash cans.  El oso negro!  Black bear!  Not unusual in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest.

But the highlight of the whirlwind weekend was the VIP treatment Shawn bestowed on Linda and me.  One on one, meet and greet time with the Daredevils.  Front row seats in the tiny Fair Grove gymnasium.  An autographed guitar being raffled off, my favorite number 12 the amount of tickets I bought ($10!).

After the show a member of the audience called up, hand into hat, winner extracted.  Me!

Back at the  Bar None by 9:30 yesterday morning, pulling depleted pepper plants.  Market now over, only a pick or two left for the restaurants.  Quilted schematics already developing for next year’s crops.  This week I’m putting in 400 garlic plants, feet on the ground, face to the sky.

Spaceship Orion’s there, waiting to part the air above me.




Shawn Love, Founder Kansas City  Smoke.  Me, Founder Team Nebraska, Founder Nebraska Run Guru Elite, Inc.  Two old warriors that made/are making a mark nationally in developing post collegiate athletes.


Des Moines Marathon.  Top 6 finishers all “C” level Kenyans.  I’ll skip the rest of the commentary on the advice of Linda.

Kansas City Marathon.  Chuck Teater wins in maybe the fastest Midwest marathon in recent memory, 2:10:19.  Second overall 2:43:26.  I’ll skip the rest of the commentary on the advice of Linda.

Nebraska Marathon.  Our mate Coralie winning her age group and 17th overall in her 26.2 debut.  I’ll skip the commentary on the rest of the race at the advice of Linda.

Dogwood Canyon 50K in Lampe, MO.  Nate Hay in 4:58;44 and Christy Swearingen in 5:22:04 take the wins on some hellacious hills.  Good to meet some of you Trail Nerds, looking forward to seeing you all again at Ni-Bthaska-Ke!

Every swinging Johnson across the Midwest has heard about our mate Pete.  I drove over 1000 miles since last Friday’s liberal post and didn’t meet a runner that wasn’t pulling  for him (followed closely by “So you’re the runguru”).  His support vehicle completely totaled over the weekend, Pete and crew unscathed thank the gods.  Our Jeremy Morris and everyone’s Kaci Lickteig also shining fame across MO and beyond, the work of these ultra kids making a (new) name for Nebraska.





Jeff Bass was a janitor at U.S. Industrial in Pasadena, TX.  I was a first year non degreed lab technician back in 1979.  He was in his 70s at the time and nearing retirement.  Full of  lessons that only a black man growing up and living during the 20th Century could speak to.

One of his favorite “Bassisms” was “Lips is Lips”.  Maybe Jeff had been a friend or advisor to Donald Trump at some point?

Another of his classics has even deeper meaning.  In my  early 20s I  giggled not understanding the depth of his mores.

“It don’t get hard, but it sho do get heavy”.

Jeff Bass was talking about life.  His optimism now clear to me.  No matter how  burdensome the load, it is never too much.  If you really love life, have the gusto for every day, are committed to your goals and passions and ideals, the load is never too heavy.

Flip a coin.  Nebraska Marathon this Sunday?   New York City  November 6th?   California International on December 4th.

Come on Nebraska!  Citing and thanking my reference Chuck Smith who declares there are a grand total of 29 sub 3 hour marathons for our state in 2016, only 3 this fall.  There were 49 in 2015.  There were 62 in 2014.

So have you all been banking your marathon skills for Nebraska Marathon?  NYC?  My  guess  is  there will be a strong contingent of variously attired mates toeing the line at CIM.  With 243 feet of elevation gain  and a net drop of 552 feet, it remains the  favorite fall flavor for fast feet looking to set personal bests and Oly Trials qualifiers.

Nebraska Run Guru Elite, Inc.’s Coralie Eilers will be making her marathon debut at Sunday’s Nebraska Marathon.    Another of our young ladies (she and Bree Adams both in their early 20s) that are earning their distance  chops and I’m just giddy(up!).

Pete is in Indiana now.  Freaking amazing.  Still a couple days ahead of WR pace.

Watched Noah Kunasek rush for 175+ yards, score 3 touchdowns and a pair of 2 point conversions as Burke defeated Omaha North 45-22.  That’s our boy!