Following up on yesterday’s comments regarding the 71% increase in boys high school xc participation from 2001-2017. Today I further on how it coincides with the development of our Nebraska Association USATF Long Distance Running Program generally. And Team Nebraska’s role specifically. The Team Nebraska. As originally scripted. With all due respect to the current incarnation.
I sometimes belabor the point that there were no opportunities for post collegiate athletes prior to 2001. Because of its relevancy. It is why I celebrate the first athletes that represented The Good Life in toto. Those that carried the USATF banner into battles. Competitions against the best clubs in the United States. Against the best athletes. A team that verily and truly represented the entire state of Nebraska. A paradigm that came and went. The Platte rending what was once great.
Here is whom you can applaud for today’s robust participation. The first members of Team Nebraska. That coach. That have brought our sport to new levels. Allowing me a seat at this computer with warm fuzzies, confident in my program. USATF. It has changed yes. It will continue to change yes. What won’t change is the genesis. The contributions of these fine young men.
Give Them A Hand.
Coach Stenger standing proud with his 2017 Class A XC State Champion Titans. Not for the last time my old friend, GIDDYUP!
photo courtesy of Aimee Guzman-Jones
Its all about you. And you. And you. And you over there. And you over here. And all y’all over yonder.
Today I claim no lineage, no heritage, no credit, no authorship, no architectural provenance, no leadership, no nothing.
This column is for all runners in Nebraska except me.
No one has contributed more to distance running in Nebraska than you have.
Participation in boys high school cross country was flagging when I moved to Nebraska in 2001.
Since 2002 Nebraska boys cross participation has risen 71%.
Give yourself a hand.
A couple of good runs this past week left me with my highest mileage in perhaps a couple years. I’m thankful for whatever I can get. Can I possibly still mete out enough suffering to meet my minimum daily requirement? Yes, so I’ve got that going for me.
Grant Wintheiser jumped in for a little test run at Beer & Bagel off road race. Four miles in 22:49 for the win by over a minute. Good to see our mate on the mend. Nolan Border (25:03-LRC Racing) and Matt Seiler (25:50-Team Nebraska) rounding out the mattered places for the fellas. Insert Nebraska USATF Athlete of the Year hashtags here. Catherine Coletta (30:37), Christy Nielsen (30:58) were the first two women, Christine Houser and Amanda Lingg both credited with 31:18 for 3rd & 4th.
Camille Herron of War Acres, OK set the WR for 100 miles (12:42:41) this weekend at the TunnelHill 100. First overall period, besting the semi professional field. Insert friendship hashtags here.
Bo Pelini was a reviled winner. 66-27 over 7 years. But not a good fit. Insert spittle hashtags here.
Mike Reilly is a loveable loser. Such a nice guy. Insert sweet fella hashtags here. Insert worst season in 60 years hashtags here. Insert be careful what you wish for hashtags here.
“I will not run, nor will I accept my parties nomination.” Decided against my run for ORC President. Received counsel from long time members of my community. Became apparent that only a very small number cares about elite level running in Omaha. Insert that’s why they don’t cross the Platte hashtags here.
Only the California International Marathon left for serious 2017 marathoners. This year will serve as the USATF National Championships. When I served as WLDR National Championships Chair that event, along with St. George’s Marathon were ineligible courses due to net elevation drop. You could not run an Olympic Trials qualifier on either. Insert strange times indeed hashtag here.
How we got here. Doesn’t matter any more. The fact is we are.
The question now becomes will we stay. Some will and some won’t.
Two rules to belong to Run Guru Elite. #1- USATF Membership. #2- Run in uniform.
I’ve heard from our USATF Nebraska Association LDR Chair that LRC Racing and Team Nebraska are now making membership into our national governing body optional. USATF teams without USATF members. Very easy to reconcile rosters. We are seeing an orchestrated shift away from the program that inspired generations and provided hundreds of opportunities for all Nebraskans. Ask yourself who and why.
And that is that.
I’m not sure how many of you were around when I moved here in 2001. I brought a hard life and a piece of conduit with me. A pipeline to Bend, OR. To Jim & Carol McLatchie. My two original mentors. He my coaching, she my administrative. What they saw, why they chose me, is best left to the gods.
Maureen Larsen and Pam Dubas were the first two female runners across the Blarney Stone 5K that same year, that rascal Chaz Davis replete with shamrock, shillelagh and pipe would lead the men. I recruited them on the spot, told them of a vision. Chaz not at all interested for his own good reasons. A knock on my door a couple weeks later and I would work daily with Maureen for over two years, channeling and teaching the McLatchie Method. Leading to a personal best 2:56:41 and 3rd o/a at the 2003 Houston Marathon. She is currently a top masters competitor.
James McGown qualified for the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon. I was privileged to coach him using the same McLatchie Method. He is the last Nebraskan male to reach the Trials.
I’ve used some version of the method with hundreds of Nebraska runners by now.
Longtime readers know Jim was a DI XC Champion in 1963. Has coached dozens of Olympians. Carol was a 32:30 10K runner, Women’s LDR Chair, lifetime friend. They retired to Bend, OR fifteen years ago. Summit HS girls in Bend just won their record setting 10th straight Oregon High School XC Championships. Like this: “With senior Taylor Vandenborn winning her first individual state title and five more Storm runners placing in the top 10, Summit claimed its record-setting 10th straight girls cross-country state championship Saturday at Lane Community College with 15 points — the first perfect score ever posted, by any gender in any classification, in OSAA history. ”
Its a culture. If you have ever pondered, wondered how and why Nebraska is where we are today.
Carol also works as a USATF Official at the Prefontaine Games. Our sport, so much bigger than our own training routes.
We’ve got a corner of the Bar None designated as our compost pile. Over the last 4 years I’ve tossed everything from kitchen scraps to chicken coop poop to raked leaves to every plant pulled from the garden. The joys of decomposition. Linda gets the pitchfork out semi regularly and turns the whole pile, a day long job. Can you dig it?
I’ve been patient. Turning crap into something useful and beneficial. Dividends paid years after groundwork laid. Those early contributions hidden beneath, buried, maybe even forgotten. Gracing the entire garden.
The Women’s Athlete Development Program was founded in 1995 by Lee Ann Meyer of Minnesota. I served as Coordinator from 1996-2002. My dear sweet Linda still chairs the Women’s program today, firstname.lastname@example.org
I helped Brian Jones and Scott Simmons set up the men’s program in 2000. Brian Jones continues as the Men’s ADP contact, Brian.email@example.com
I have seen times turned in recently by LRC Racing that meet the standards. Run Guru Elite’s Grant Wintheiser and a couple more of ours with sights set on achieving the marks. This program provides $200 travel stipend, shared room for two nights, ground transportation, meals and waived entry to selected USA National Championship races.
“The goal of the Athlete Development Program (ADP) is to assist in the development of the next generation of GREAT American distance runners. The program provides emerging elite athletes the ability to experience competition at the national level.”
1) Have a current USATF membership
2) Be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 18-29
3) Have met one of the following times within the last year (see time standards below)
4) All times must have been met on USATF Certified courses
5) Athletes need to be in top physical shape to compete. If illness or injury occurs the ADP Coordinator needs to be identified.
Women 1 Mile- 4:48.50, 5 km-16:50, 10 km- 35:15, 15 km-54:27, 10 Mile- 58:45, Half Marathon-1:18:30, Marathon 2:51:00
Men 1 Mile- 4:11, 5 km-14:42, 10 km-30:00, 15 km-47:03, 10 Mile-50:45, Half Marathon 1:07:45, Marathon 2:24:00
Thank you Shalane Flanagan. Winning the NYC Marathon. Dropping a 4:52 25th mile to become the first American woman in 40 years to wear the laurels. Your performance will inspire future generations of great American Women marathoners.
Robust! USATF Nebraska Association LDR Championships, what a difference a year makes! Yesterday’s XC champs at Pioneer’s Park hosted 53 runners, up 40 from last year’s edition. The new venue at Pioneer’s Park in Lincoln the difference. Back half of the course difficult to navigate for the first timers. The race rented my clock and banners and megaphone, next year I’ll include a fist full of flagging. Patrick Letz (UNL) led the men in 16:01, Mary Hillis (LRC Racing) continued her torrid string, three weeks in a row now, taking the women’s title in 19:06. Proud of all those that raced.
LRC Racing taking both men and women’s team title. No surprise there. What did raise eyebrows was Run Guru Elite’s Mark Abrams taking the first K out in 3:00 en route to 6th o/a. Only slightly less so Liz Starbuck’s 3rd overall. LRC Racing taking advantage of the home course with 23 runners entered, Club 402 with 11, Run Guru Elite with 8 and Team Nebraska 3 (no women).
Cheers and here’s to next year!
My first race in over 3 years. The USATF Nebraska Association LDR Program will always be never far from my heart.
Linda and I chose attire most fitting. Our involvement transcending geographical and temporal boundaries. United States of America Track & Field.
Bayou City Classic 10K, 1990. 4500 runners on the start line. Crack of the pistol and we’re off. 4499 chasing me for the first mile. Just like every week. I’d run like hell and know the only way you were going to catch me is if I died just a little or a lot. Which I usually did. Bayou City Classic 10K, 1991. 6000 runners on the start line. Whispers to my left, snickers to my right. “Just let him go, he’ll come back, he always does.”
My USATF Certified personal bests: 5K- 16:19, 10K- 33:55, marathon- 2:46:56. On those special mornings I did break fast and didn’t come back. Those three races showing that someone with hardly any talent and stubborn determination can post up times worth remembering. But only if you Really Race. A lot of faster people and a lot of slower people know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s all about personal excellence, unbinding your own limits, pushing farther than previously thought possible, breaking through.
Nolan Ryan lived right down the road from me in Alvin, TX. I’ve got an autographed baseball. Made nearly 100 games at the Astrodome including one of Nolie’s no-nos. Saw Mike Scott toss one too. Attended opening day at Minute Maid Stadium in 2000.
A lifelong Cub fan, I spent 25 years on the Gulf Coast also cheering for the Astros.
2017 World Series Champs, first in 56 year franchise history. Following 2016 Cubs. Man that makes me happy.
This Sunday is our Nebraska Association XC Champs. Pioneer’s Park in Lincoln. Competition should be robust. I wish Grant and Jay and Sean could be part of it. Mark and Tristan and Craig and Abby and Liz will be. I made the race my focal point of the fall. Careful training, none of it fun. A series of steep hills a couple weeks ago has left a chattering Achilles and a DNS for this weekend.
The NYC Marathon is also this weekend. The stories I have with the race, negotiating national championships bids, international travel, athlete opportunities, all best told over an Old Fashioned at Farmer Brown’s Steakhouse.
Allan Steinfeld (center) joined me and Team USA in Rio de Janeiro in 2008. Former RD for NYC and credited with revolutionizing the sport of road racing.