Monthly Archives: September 2017


September 29, 2007.  The first USATF Certified (#NE07008KU) and Sanctioned sub 4 minute road mile in Nebraska history.   Omaha.  The day that re-ignited Real Racing.

The Rodeo Run.  Sending the runners off in front of the River City Round Up parade, covering the 1 mile in a hurry.  Race clocks every 1/4 mile.  One on the back of the lead truck.  Featured elite race with a promise, a boast.   I was building Team Nebraska into one of the top USATF Elite Development Clubs in the U.S.   It was time to bring in the big guns.  Sold my pitch to and became a Trail Boss with the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben.   Linda too as Co-Race Director and a full race committee, but that is another tale.

Ryan Kleimenhagen, Rob Duncan, David Juliano, and Josh Moen.  These cats were known as some of the fastest road and track milers in the U.S.  My Mates  Shannon Stenger, Paul Wilson, Dustin Llewellyn, and Mark Hall changed the competitive landscape in Nebraska that morning.  Shook it out of a decades long doldrums.  This is their story, their contribution to what you and I enjoy today.  USATF competition at the highest levels.  In Omaha.  In Lincoln.  In Nebraska.

A sub 4 was guaranteed that morning.  The men above delivered it into the history books.

When filled in on the plan the mates were Giddy!  Shannon and Paul and Dustin trained together and like never before, hell bent.   They relished the opportunity to race a national class field on their home course.  Made it the focal point of that fall.  Turned it in to the race of their lives.


David Juliano took the lead early.  Rob Duncan in the blue.  Ryan Kleimenhagen to his right.  Shannon Stenger to Rob’s left.  Dustin Llewellyn, Paul Wilson, Mark Hall, and Josh Moen in the back row.  The fastest, deepest mile in the history of Nebraska.


This is the exact moment that changed competitive racing in Nebraska.  A good mate leading the field into the final (only) turn on the course.  This is one of my all time favorite photos, the two lads cheering Shannon on, the future of racing in Nebraska.  I want you to study this photo and understand the courage Shannon displayed heading this national field into the final 300 meters.


Another downhill on 10th St.  Flying into the finish and the history books!


The final separation on the very slight uphill to the finish!


Ryan Kleimenhagen for the win.  USATF Nebraska.  Team Nebraska Brooks.  History books.


Rob Duncan second in an official 4:01.

David holding on for 3rd (4:04) in front of a fast closing Shannon.

Shannon Stenger crosses in a lifetime best 4:07.


Josh Moen next in 4:10.


Paul Wilson and Dustin Llewellyn next, both credited with 4:16.


Mark Hall ran 4:31.


Casey Owens of Des Moines led the women in 4:48.


I want to thank Shannon and Paul and Dustin and Mark.  And Ryan and David and Rob and Josh.  This is the standard that I hold.  This level of courage, excellence and performance.  Inspiring the next generation.  Your generation.


The fastest mile in the history of Omaha and Nebraska….until the very next year!

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?  I reached out to the field from that historic morning and received the following updates.

From Ryan Kleimenhagen: “It’s hard to believe this historic day in Omaha happened 10 years ago.  I was recently married and moved to Madison, WI.  I remember driving the 6 hours to Omaha, NE wondering what kind of shape I was in since September is usually “off season” for us milers.  It was a beautiful morning for the race and my legs were felling awesome during warmup, so I had a feeling something special was about to happen.  I remember David Juliano taking the race out hard, so I tried to close the gap and beat the clock to the 4 minute mark at the finish.  The race and making history still means as much today as it did 10 years ago and will never be forgotten.  After battling calf injuries for the better part of a decade, I’ve taken up cycling and swimming and competed in my first Triathlon a few weeks ago with great results.”

David Juliano:  “I remember that race fondly and relished the chance to run as fast as possible.  It was exciting to feel the rush and combine the thrill of the mile with the challenge of a road race.  I haven’t run in five years or so but thing about starting again every so often.  I am a high school math teacher so it is sometimes hard to find the time during the school year to give it an honest effort.”

Rob Duncan: “ I wanted to run a fast mile on the road and what better way then a good down hill and with friends. The prize money was good and Omaha was close and a great town to spend the weekend in. Great race and great crowd support. Still have that pic of me looking up and the clock reading 4:01″

Josh Moen: Living in Eden Prairie Minnesota and works at the TC Running Company.

Shannon Stenger: “Oh yeah!! !  I remember that run very well.  It was a nice morning, about upper 60s and I think the elite group went off around 8:45 am.  Goal going in to that run was to run under 4:15 and I did that. Ran with the top three runners that went 3:59, 4:01, and 4:04 for about the first 1200m. Felt really good going down Capital and strong turning from Capital to 10th St. and decided to take the lead and start to push it.  (I have attached the picture- love that pic!).  Legs started to get a little tight with about 300m to go and I could no longer stay with the leaders. Turnover was good until that point. Again, a great race that I will never forget.  Glad I ran it with no regrets!
I am currently running some ultramarathons.  Will run a 100k in California on Saturday, October 7th, only two weeks out.  Since I will be turning 39 in October, my goal when I turn 40 is to get back to the track and make a serious run at breaking 2 minutes in the 800m when I turn 40.  Will see. . . . .

Dustin Llewllyn:  I have never been a person with great speed. The longer the race the closer to the front I was. Shannon and Paul are much stronger, but I never thought I couldn’t beat them or wanted to give it my all to stay with them. Both have far better running credentials than I, but for some reason on that day I felt I could not only stay with them, but maybe even finish ahead of them. That thought went out the window as soon as we got 40m into the race with Shannon taking off like a rocket. I kept Paul in my sights and coming down in that last 200-250m I thought I could get around him. I finished right behind him and with my fastest mile time ever. Even though I did not finish in the front pack or beat Paul, it was one of if not the best race that I took part in. Too be able to race and also watch Shannon take a lead and to see Paul ahead giving me the motivation that I needed to give my best is something I will remember for ever. Those guys mean the world to me and the friendships that we formed over so many miles, races, and meals has been a blessing.

Paul Wilson and Mark Hall unavailable for comment.




This column is cemented in Free Speech.  My athletes have lost a lot for that cherished freedom.  They understand and respect that.  Those independent minded runners called to my message.  My message.  What do you make of that?  Some of the most talented runners in the Midwest understanding that their financial support was pulled because of this column.   And still they come.  Blue Collars.  They vote with their shoes.

Working on a little project.  Alumni.  Where did you matriculate?  Whom do you run for?  Why?  Three easy questions.




The other voice.  It is mostly Linda and she is usually calling me to task, holding my feet to the fire, pincers on my tongue, Editor-In-Chief.   “No, no, no!”  You can’t write that you’ll piss (insert here) off!  I listen to her a lot.  I change some of my more pointed word constructs.  Some I don’t.

She doesn’t want me railing and honestly I’d rather be all rosy too.  But I’m the one that can’t sit idly by.  The one that has the strongest opinions, has the most invested.  Tengo huevos mas grande de todos!

Yesterday I presented a survey of Midwest marathons.  Provided hard data illustrating the significant difference in participation between the events, especially vis-à-vis Omaha.   But it goes much deeper than lack of support for elite level runners.

That ‘ol devil, facebook.  Revealing.  Chris McBratney of Fremont posed a civil question to the ORC leadership regarding the lack of pacers, which were advertised,  for the 3:30 and 3:45 group.  Told by the RD that “we have to work with what we are given.”  Another indicated he should “STFU”.   None apologized for the inferior product.

When you think you’ve got a running community by the balls its easy to speak like that.

Its a culture folks.


Midwest fall marathons by the numbers. The 2 biggies, Twin Cities Marathon this coming Sunday and Chicago Marathon Oct. 8th.  The others, all regionally local and hosted by similar size cities.  Numbers range from the burgeoning to the anemic.  How do these Midwest cities manage to host higher participation?  How do these cities create and manage Signature Events that become part of the fabric and attract runners?  First and foremost it is strong leadership within their running communities.  People in positions of power that are able to interact and influence civic leadership, those in their communities that make Real decisions.  Usually starts with the Governor and or Mayor.   What is their vision for their community?  Most of these leaders are dynamic and open to new ideas.    To grow their events.  To showcase and highlight their cities.  What do they do that we don’t?   For starters they are more inclusive.  Supporting USATF as  well as RRCA.  Understanding the importance of including the Front of the pack as well as the middle and rear.   Has to be both, has to be all.

Ask yourself.  Why is the Omaha marathon market so fractured to begin with.  You know my answer.

Moline Illinois, population 42,250- Quad Cities total 383,681 (September 24, 2017)
Quad Cities Marathon.  399 finishers.  163 females, 236 males.  Avg time 4:53:45
Half Marathon.  1770 finishers.  1076 females, 694 males.  Avg time 2:28:22
5K.  1097 finishers.  705 females, 392 males.  Avg time  40:09

Des Moines Iowa, population 215, 472 (Des Moines Marathon, October 15, 2017)
2016 Des Moines Marathon.  1373 finishers.  566 females.  807 males.  Avg time 4:10:13
Half Marathon.  4360 finishers.  2727 females, 1633 males.  Avg time 2:21:22
5 Mile.  530 finishers.  335 females, 195 males.  Avg time 53:01
5K.  829 finishers.  514 females, 315 males.  Avg time 35:52

Kansas City Missouri, population 481,420 (October 21, 2017)
2016 Kansas City Waddell & Reed Marathon.  1249 finishers, 477 females, 772 males.  Avg time 4:37:56
Half Marathon.  4170 finishers.  2429 females, 1741 males.  Avg time 2:42:42
5K.  937 finishers.  554 females, 383 males.  Avg time 35:48

Omaha Nebraska, population 446,970
2017 HITS Omaha Marathon, September 17
Full- 275 finishers
Half Marathon.  704 finishers
10K.  121 finishers
5K.  236 finishers

2017 Heartland Marathon, September 24
98 finishers.  35 females, 63 males.  Avg time 4:48:20
Half Marathon.  262 finishers.  146 females.  116 males.  Avg time 2:20:52
10K.  103 finishers. 59 females, 44 males.  Avg time  1:07:18

Nebraska Marathon, (October 15, 2017)
2016 Full.  113 finishers.
Half Marathon.  570
5K.  179


I’m not much of a gambler preferring the sure thing when I can figure it.

In 2008 I was the USA Team Leader for the World Championships Half Marathon in Rio De Janeiro.  That same weekend was the inaugural Market to Market Relay.  In a free and curious moment I checked on the results half a world away.  Immediately pissed to see that several of my Team Nebraska runners had been poached for another team.  Last year’s edition also found  one of my top NRGE athletes “persuaded” to represent LRC Racing.  Every year in between a shit sandwich.

When I did enter teams it was In It To Win It.  And we did.

Until another chapter that will forever color my opinion of  the event.

No, not in 2009 when I had to release the top ultra runner in Nebraska history of their kit for being, again, “persuaded” to run under different kit,   See a pattern here?  So many persuasions!!!

In 2012 LRC Racing was just getting their wings.  As it should have been, as I’d hoped, they entered a top tier team with the intention of putting the brash Red & White in their proper place (East of the Platte).  Tired of my trumpeting and “voiceterousness”, bored of my team being so far ahead of the field, the decision was made to unseat.

If it was close early LRC Racing began to separate.  Stretching their lead to nearly two minutes at the final official exchange area.  My boy Matt Pohren never gives in though.  He steadily ate away at the lead and caught the LRC runner at the base of the pedestrian bridge.  What happened next changed me.  Put me on a hot seat.  Made me the most unpopular athlete/administrator in Nebraska.

The LRC runner passed his baton to a fresh athlete as soon as he was caught.  Who in turn caught and passed Matt,  My whole team up in arms and as upset as myself.  After meeting with the fellas, getting their description of what happened, we protested immediately.

Very diplomatic.  The Rule Book was brought out and studied.  Final determination.  “There’s nothing in the rule book saying it was not allowed.”  LRC Racing claiming the title 7:25.22 to 7:25.23.

Now five years later, I ask you  readers to consider those circumstances.  How would you have reacted?  Would you have let it pass?  Would you have considered it fair?  Would you have stood up for your mates?  I did.  And I lost.  I still feel my fellas were cheated out of victory that morning.  That opinion won’t go over well but look at the facts folks.  Being unbeholding,
unencumbered & unsponsored  allows me to speak freely.  But it is up to you to weigh in with your own pondering of what is right and just.  How  would you have felt if that baton pass had happened to your team?

This year NRGE, Inc has a coed team entered and anxious.   But.  Jackie was injured at M2M Ohio.  Nick with a sore hip flexor.  Ashley two swollen knees.  Nicole much more important fish to fry (Race For The Cure, Des Moines Half).   Made one  of the hardest and easiest decisions I’ve had to.  Told the mates at yesterday’s team run that I was pulling them from the event.  That I felt strongly enough to waive goodbye to the $600 entry fee.

Y’all enjoy the morning, hope it turns out your way.  I just won’t roll it on aggravating injury or incurring same.

No dice.





Scenario:  Old man gets his tired butt out the door this morning.  Slowly eases into familiarity and solace of the rhythm of the road.  A couple miles in and the remaining modicum of fluidity washes over like wave over stone.  The old bones still able to bring work and honesty and joy.  Good Bones.

Scenario:  Old house battered for a century.   Harsh Nebraska winters and summers leaving scars and scratches and scrapes and character.  Families move in and out.  The house remains the same.  Well constructed.  Old bones.  Good Bones.

Scenario:  USATF Nebraska Association Long Distance Running program.  Old soul, rural Illinois farm boy, founds and launches and rides herd over something dear and passionate and worth it.  Program thrives.  Splintered but whole.  Withstanding all the miles and harsh Nebraska winters and summers.  Good Bones.


The Bar None suffered massive damage from the hail storm on June 29th.  New roofs already up on the house, garage and studio.  They’ll have the barn finished today.  Good Bones.


Today’s column filled with nothing but positivity!

Katie Wetzstein (Greeno 6K, 1st O/A- 21:19)- LRC Racing
Mary Hillis (Greeno 6K, 8th O/A, 22:15) – LRC Racing
Kayte Partch (Greeno 6K, 33rd O/A, 23:14)- unattached
Erica Doering (Greeno  6K, 36th O/A, 23:21)- LRC Racing

Anna Hazard (Omaha 10K, 2nd O/A, 38:43)- LRC Racing

The LRC Women’s team looking formidable.  Giving Nebraska USATF  ladies some great inspiration and competition!

Kayte Partch (Freedom Run 10K- 4th O/A, 38:05)- unattached
Nicole Norris (Freedom Run 10K, 39:17)- Nebraska Run Guru Elite
Liz Starbuck (Freedom Run 10K, 39:32)- Nebraska Run Guru Elite
Liz Starbuck (Omaha 5K, 18:45-19:19)- Nebraska Run Guru Elite

Nicole and Liz showing well against LRC’s best, at least on paper.   With the addition of Abby Schlater (Iowa HS 1500 and 3000 state champ-2008, Iowa HS 3000 state champ 2009) our aspirations are dialed in and announced.

The Heartland Marathon, ($105), Half Marathon ($95), and 10K ($65) will still accept your entries through Saturday’s packet pick up.  No race day registration or packet pick up.  Good luck to all the runners and racers and walkers too!  Be sure and say hello to Dr. Bill Weeks, he’s out there for you!




I wasn’t torn at all.  It never occurred otherwise.

The first 90 minutes of the Husker game broadcast out of the back of our jeep.  No, not tailgating, rather selling at Village Pointe Farmer’s Market.  Didn’t miss a play and when we were loaded and ready to roll, my reward only a dead battery.  Quick jump and back to the Bar None for most of the second half.

Anxiety.  Hope.  Disappointment.  My team lost.

What’s the deal?  I graduated from Northern Illinois University,  class of 1992.  The final 40 hours of 153 earned toward my BS in Community Health Promotion.   The first 100+ matriculated at Lamar University  in Beaumont,  TX.  Now had Pecker Tech been the David to slay Goliath that might have been another story.  But losing to NIU brought me no joy, no priapism as suggested.

Loyalty does go deep for me.  I’m fiercely loyal to USATF.  Nationally, regionally, and locally, mostly in that order but sometimes with shifting focus.

I’m loyal to NRGE, Inc.  I’m loyal to Team Nebraska.  I’m loyal to LRC Racing.  I’m loyal to Women Run Nebraska.

I’m loyal to my program and athletes, much more than any kit.

And I’m critical.  As author and architect I weigh in with direct, sometimes cutting assessment.  I’m not afraid to say what others are thinking.   Sometimes gets me in hot water, always gets the message out.

Ought not take it out on my mates though.

See, that is what this is all about.  Why my mates are the only unfunded, if most talented, club in Nebraska.

This has been the most successful recruiting class of my career.  Each athlete has been informed upfront that we are unsponsored.  That the other clubs will enjoy a financial advantage.  That they will be Blue Collars until Linda and I come up with support for them- And we will.

Thanks to El Jefe for sending me the link for complete results at Woody Greeno.
Greeno full results  LRC Racing the only club represented according to the results.  Peter Falcon and Matt Pohren listed as unattached but I don’t think they’ve jumped the Red & White just yet.   Katie Wetzstein of Wisconson, via South Dakota, now LRC Racing taking the measure of the full women’s field.

I was recently challenged on why NRGE, Inc. was accepting athletes from Iowa.   I freely volunteered the mechanism by which athletes from out of state can legitimately  be added to our Nebraska  clubs.

Didn’t go over well at all when I introduced, now protocol.  Glad to see the other clubs taking advantage of the rules and advocating for talented athletes no matter where they  are from.

USATF.  My Loyalty.







Freedom.  Financial and otherwise.  Its the way I have chosen to live my life.  And it says just about everything you need to know about me.  Over 40 years of credit cards.  Never once carried a balance forward, not one red cent in interest.  Paid cash for the Bar None.

Debt free.  Not beholdin to anyone.  Living within my means so that no one else can tell me what to do, how to do it, why to do it, when to do it, where to do it.

Choose to live your own life, it has tremendous rewards.  Be principled.  Be independent minded, don’t let popular culture sway you.  It’s not easy, wait a minute, yes it is.

Peak to Peak 10 Mile this past weekend.  No runners under 60 minutes.

Woody Greeno this past weekend, some fast college times as always.  Several USATF Nebraska Association athletes raced.  I am ever so curious.  The results link, Woody Greeno Results  includes only the top collegiate finishers.   If you know where I can check performances for our USATF Nebraska Association members and clubs, unattached or not, thanks in advance.

Omaha Marathon also  this past weekend.  My old KC Smoke buddy Kory Cool using his long training run for the win in 2:33:49.  In the Half Marathon Josh Baden ran a remarkable and solo 1:08:56 for the W.  In the 10K no runners under 38:00.  In the 5K NRGE’s Liz Starbuck took the Overall overall win in a time somewhere between the 18:45 on her watch and the 19:19 in the official results.







I’ve been nurturing this young lad for four years.  Bringing him along gently, with kid gloves as it were.  Incremental progression.  Individualized workouts.  Specific times.  Short, mid, and long term goals.  The vision- DI scholarship and post collegiate career.

Sam Runde.  Made his high school debut at the Burke Invitational a couple weeks ago.

17:07.  The fastest time by a Burke freshman.  Ever.

Now hobbled with a likely stress fracture.  The leap to over mileage too abrupt for him.

Not the way  I thought it would go for Sam this year.  They don’t redshirt freshman.

I do.