Monthly Archives: January 2018

BID FOR EXCELLENCE

My excitement is palatable.  Four cities have submitted bids to host our USA Olympic Trials Marathon.  Atlanta, Austin, Chattanooga, and Orlando.  The process remains open until March 19th.  Four cities with vision and leadership.  Houston and Los Angeles, our two most recent hosts are not bidding (and Boston before that and St. Louis before that….).

Why does this instill a sense of giddiness in your scribe?  Because the Olympic Trials Marathon are the pinnacle of our sport domestically.  Both for the athlete and the host city.  Race Directors and city officials and administrators and sponsors all coming together to support American Athletes.

What better test of excellence?  If you qualify with either the “A” or  “B” standard you are in.    The best get to race, period.  USATF alive and well on a national scale.

Here is what primarily informs my opinions regarding marathons:  In 2004 I sat with Dave McGillivray, on loan from the Boston Marathon, creating and detailing the conduct of our Olympic Trials Marathon in St. Louis.  Learning from the master.

I was part of the 2008 Olympic Trials site selection committee.  Twin Cities, Akron, Ohio, New York, and Boston Marathons.  Visited each and listened to their best pitch.  Ultimately landing in Boston where it belonged.  And again spent many hours with Dave and his team to ensure the very best for our athletes.

When you hear or read my critiques on marathoning, they have basis.  What I expected from every city then I expect from every city now.  What I insisted on for our very best athletes, I insist the same for you.  The list isn’t long.  And should be filled by event directors and cities and sponsors and administrators.

 

 

GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY

Rewind to July 25, 2009.  Davenport, Iowa and that other Great American Road Race, BIX 7.  It served as our USA National Championships.  I had the privilege of draping the champions laurels around Meb Keflezighi (32:25) and Molly Huddle (37:39).

Fast forward to yesterday.  Molly taking her legend talents to the  streets of Houston.  A new American Record for the Half, 1:07:25.  Grant Wintheiser and Al Sanabria the only Nebraskans with a faster half.  The top 4 women all under 1:07.  5 American women under 1:12:00.  46 women under 1:20.  87 women under 1:30.

The men’s half featured saw a new American Record for Masters Men.  Put down your coffee cup, Bernard Lagat (43) finished 15th overall in an eye popping 1:02:00.  Kevin Castille, also 43, finished 42nd o/a in 1:05:11.

The common chorus from everyone?  A lightning fast course.  Specifically designed to bring out every runner’s relative blazing speed.  Personal bests regardless of talent level.  See, this matters up top, in the middle, and all the way back.

More of the same in the full 26.2.  A wide open road, long straight aways, winning time 2:08:30, top 3 under 2:10.  Americans taking advantage with 6th-10th finishes all under the Olympic Trials A standard of 2:20.  Of local interest, Zach Hine (1:04:48 at the Twin Rivers YMCA Half in Valley, NE) finishing 8th overall in 2:18:33.  Sarah Crouch (2:35:22) and Polina Carlson (2:39:43) both hitting the Olympic Trials A standard of sub 2:40.  25 women under 2:50, 42 under 3:00.

Look, we only get so many shots at the marathon (quality over quantity more important to this old coach).  Why train for 16-20 weeks just to wander around town?  No matter your talent, put yourself in the best position to run your best marathon.  That is all.

Photo courtesy of my old buddy Mike Scott.

HOUSTON DO YOU READ ME?

This weekend is the Chevron Houston Marathon.  The 46th annual and the 26.2 mile standard that I hold all others to.  We all have our standards right?  Shining examples of excellence.  This race meets all of my criteria.  Starts with a completely closed road course, the minimum to be on my list.  Athlete support is next and few can match Houston’s Texas sized hospitality.  From the locals to the national caliber to the world class.

Made my marathon debut there in 1983,  a 3:11 and have continued to look forward ever since.  From the mid 90s to the middle 2000s my Run For The  Arts 10 Mile was scheduled two weeks prior to Houston.  The RFTA hosted many of the top American and international runners that wanted a Southeast Texas tune up prior to the big dance.  Ran my personal  best 2:46:56 in 1995.

Sent dozens of Nebraska’s best athletes to Houston after my move here in 2001.  Race Director (and old buddy of course) Brant Kotch always happy to support my vision.  I’m sure their memories of excellence mirror my own.

The Half Marathon was added in 2002.  Justin Chaston (1:08:42, one Jim McLatchie’s boys) took the overall.  And how about this little nugget, the women’s race was won by Christy Nielsen in 1:21:37.

Houston has hosted multiple USA National  Championships.  And the 2012 USA Olympic Trials Marathon.

Houston.   My Gold Standard for marathons.  Also on my list of Great American Road Races are Boston and Chicago and New York and Twin Cities and Grandma’s.  My portrait should be clear now.  And explain the hows and whys of my opinions of Nebraska marathons.  These are the marathons you need to run to understand my passion and my position.

The Run For The Arts 10 Mile was perfectly positioned as a tune up and man did the studs come take advantage.  My first venture as a Race Director shaping the expectations I still hold for athlete support.  Notice the liberal  sprinkling of “premiums” to ensure and reward fast times.

Houston Tenneco 1988, the t-shirt and racing flats both 30 years old this weekend.

TAKE ME TO THE RIVER

I’ve used the Platte River metaphorically to describe a Great Divide in Nebraska.  And a Red & White Bridge that lasted just over a decade.  Such Hubris for My Span!  Greatest Strength only  in the Very Middle.  Naïve to the undercurrents.   What remains is USATF, this guru’s vision for athletics in Nebraska.

Two Rivers State Park in Waterloo.  Junction of the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers.  Just minutes west of Omaha at 27702 F Street.  And a Very Easy ride up Hwy 77 from Lincoln.  Especially with the new bypass around Wahoo (unless you need to stop and grab a Wahoo Locker Wiener).

Our Two Rivers Valentine’s Day 5K (February 10th) has been selected as the 2018 USATF Nebraska Association 5K Road Championships.  Many of you have run out on the pancake flat, closed road course.  Lightning fast as evidenced by Grant Wintheiser’s 15:06 5K and 24:12 8K turned in on the 1.5 mile loop.  Colin and Cory and Johnny and Jay and Tim have also run very well at the park.

I’ve sent out a fistful of invitations to Nebraska’s best runners.  And offered a hefty entry fee discount for all USATF members.   Demonstrating no favor to one club or athlete over another.  Fair Competition for all.  Showing support to Club 402, Team Nebraska, Lincoln Running Co. Racing, Run Guru Elite, Women Run Nebraska and some unattached athletes.  Hoping you will take advantage.

All the while making the event accessible to those who don’t carry a USATF membership.  Offering the casual runner, the first timer, and walkers the same opportunity to “Get and  Be Fit”.  Multiple restrooms on the course.  The loop surrounding three spring fed lakes.  The mighty Platte on your left.  Beautiful.

‘We had such a great race this morning! Very well organized, the best race swag I have ever seen and the most wonderful race volunteers. This was my sons first ever race and everyone, including the other runners, was so supportive and positive! As a running momma I couldn’t be happier to have this race be my sons first race experience. As long as this race and Psyco Wyco don’t conflict next year, we’ll be back!! High fives all around!”  Kate Zajicek Duncan

“Thanks for a fun race, Run Guru! Fun atmosphere, well organized, and great prizes!”  Regan Bold

“Beautiful course! Excellent Race! Well organized, supported, and fun!” Gail Illlich

Some hackberry from our wood pile made into markers.  It doesn’t matter where you finish, only that you dare to start!

 

 

 

 

HEY NOBODY

Today I rail on the Consumer Electronics Show.  I’ve watched, with little interest, the steady stream of gadgets that make your life easier.   Say what?   “Saves you time”, “Saves you effort”.  “Hey Cortana”, “Hey Google”, “Hey Alexa”, “Hey Siri”.  “Do this for me”.  “Do  that for me”.  “Life Hacks” to simplify your burdensome existence.   Seriously, a digital personal assistant?  I can see the benefit for the handicapped or disabled.

For the life of me, why can’t  you do these things for yourself?  Are you really too busy to get off your butt and turn something on/off?  Do you really need an app to tell you that fuzzy green thing in the fridge should be tossed?

Is it easier to listen to (and follow!) artificial intelligence than your own brain?  Where goest that greatest of man’s faculties,  volition?   Or another real human being?   Is direct social intercourse really that threatening?

New studies out that you don’t give your child a hand held computer (phone) until 8th grade.  Calls by the educating community for Apple to lead the effort against screen addiction.  I see so many of today’s youth with a device seemingly implanted at the end of their arms, now no longer needing even the simplest of digits to command their ever shrinking world.   Childhood obesity a national crisis.

I used to run the open roads everywhere.  The white knuckled elderly driver my only fear.  No way I’d train on those same byways now, nine out of ten drivers staring intently at something in their crotch.

“Oh but Willie, you’re just too old to appreciate all the modern conveniences.”  No, I’m too full of vigor (piss and vinegar?).  Able to chop wood all day.  To hand farm.  To bust out a wall.  To build a structure.  To grow and cook my own food.  I call bs on eat fit go and blue apron and all the other prefab, Sysco derived, lazy man’s meals.  If you’re too busy to create your own repast you’re life is completely out of my realm of understanding.   I still celebrate that Linda and I have not owned a microwave in almost five years.

You gentle readers are likely the exception.  Runners.  Last bastion of freedom.  But even that is threatened.  Treadmills, the bane of Real Runners only the tip of the iceberg.  Peloton unveiling their latest, greatest attempt at digitizing, nay bastardizing, our sport by putting your running mates all in a nice little box in front of your face.  One more step away from Reality.  I’m glad I’m 60.

 

 

A MOMENT WITH RUN NEBRASKA

Linda and I enjoyed some recent hospitality and chocolate chip cookies with Chris and Ashley McBratney, two of the principles in Eastern Nebraska’s newest timing/event management company.  This morning a more proper introduction:

Hector Tercero Suazo,  Kurtis and Melissa Slater, Ashley, and Chris invite you to run nebraska!

Will:  Why’d you guys decide to start a race timing/event management company?
run nebraska:  This is something we’ve thought about doing for some time. We like being involved in the running community, and have enjoyed the more administrative aspects ever since we started volunteering as race organizers, so we thought we’d take it to the next step and launch run nebraska.

Will:  What kind of expertise does run nebraska bring to the table?
run nebraska:  We have a really diverse group. Some of us are really avid runners, while others are more recreational. Between the 5 of us, we’ve served as Race Directors and volunteers for a number of events, coordinating every detail. We also have some very strong IT experience, which gives us a lot of credibility when it comes to running and troubleshooting any timing system from a hardware and software standpoint.

Will: What makes run nebraska different from other timers in the area?
run nebraska: What we bring to the table. As I mentioned before, we are a very diverse group. This helps us cover our clients in all aspects of a race. We also have a great relationship. Every employee is also an owner within the organization. We’re friends, we’re neighbors, we’re co-workers, and we’re like family. We believe the relationship and trust level we have with one another will really shine through in our service to clients.

Will: What type of experience are you trying to create for the runners and Race Directors?
run nebraska: This is a really interesting question. While, on one hand, we want to be very invisible on race day, we also want to be a resource that can be utilized for Race Directors in case they need some additional support. From our experience, there is sometimes only one person that shows up to time an event. We want to create an experience that is very professional, put-together and resourceful so that the race organizers don’t have to worry about as much. From the runner’s perspective, we really want our personality and culture to shine through, especially on social media. While we’re a timing company first, we want to engage with runners and race organizers, helping promote races throughout the area, whether we’re timing them, or not. We create fun content on our social media platforms, write a weekly blog and do weekly giveaways to create a different dynamic than most timing companies.

Will: What type of runners do you look to cater to with the races you’ll be launching?
run nebraska: We will be able to cater to runners of any level – first-timers to elites. It’s equally fun watching someone complete their first race, while also watching the elites run some ridiculous times. Because of that, we want to partner with the race organizers so that they can accommodate runners of all levels and experience.

Will: What services does run nebraska provide?
run nebraska: We offer race timing (using RFID chip-timing technology), race photography and event management. We also have branded merchandise available on our website.

Will:  How did you come up with the name “run nebraska”?
run nebraska:  We wanted clean, simple and easy to recognize. When someone thinks about racing, running or event timing, we wanted something that would be relevant and something that people can connect with.

Will: How can people engage with you?
run nebraska: We’re active on both Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/runnebraskallc/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/runnebraskallc). There’s a lot of content that we try to put on both platforms to create a fun, energetic and engaging atmosphere for those that follow us so that we can bring the running community closer together and help promote area events. We also have a website at www.run-ne.com. Here, clients can contact us, read a little about our organization, and purchase an item or two from the shop.

Will:  What is the ideal race/event for you to work with?
run nebraska: Our vision was to cater to races of all sizes, but especially those that need additional expertise and may not garner the attention of the larger race timing companies. Since we have 5 very engaged Partners in the day-to-day operations of the business, we can offer a very customized race day experience for both runners and race organizers.

Will:  How would you describe the personality and culture of run nebraska?
run nebraska:  While we take what we do very seriously, we also have a lot of fun. We are detail nerds, but we also don’t take ourselves too seriously, especially when it comes to engaging with the outside world. Life’s too short to not have fun and, when you create that kind of environment, everyone’s happier and has a better time.

Will:  When do you plan to launch run nebraska’s first race?
run nebraska: We’re working on logistics now, but we’re hoping to launch our first race around the summer of 2018. We have a really great idea and concept in mind and, provided we get the necessary cooperation from the city we’re targeting, we’re hoping that can be a reality.

Will:  What kind of system (hardware and software) are you using? Why’d you choose that company?
run nebraska: We’re using the Jaguar Platinum RFID reader. Not only did we feel really comfortable with the hardware and how the system functions, the software is really state-of-the-art and very intuitive. By using the It’s Your Race platform (www.itsyourrace.com) allows us to process results faster for the Race Director, includes a free mobile app and the ability to fundraise for the organization through the registration process.

Will: How can people get in contact with you?
run nebraska:  We can be reached via email (info.runnebraska@gmail.com) and phone (402.512.1880), or through social media (https://www.facebook.com/runnebraskallc/ https://twitter.com/runnebraskallc).

 

NO FALSIES

Or, Speak Again O’ Toothless Wonder!

I haven’t had a Real Meal since November 20.  Jaw woke up on the wrong end of an MMA event.  Antibiotics and half of a half of a painkiller for a few days and the swelling dissipated.  But still chewing on the left side only, same side that I had an extraction earlier in ’17.  Meeting with the dental professionals at THINK Whole Person Health Care yesterday showed a #54 vertical fracture, I’ll bid it adieu a week from today.  Getting old trying to tell me I can’t take a punch like I used to.    Good news is I don’t need dentures.  No Falsies.

I attempt the LA Times crossword every day.  Proficient through level III.  Mental gymnastics key to hot firing synapses.  The Mind is the Athlete.  Getting old doesn’t mean growing old.

Leading edge.  Diet is critical to longevity.  Locally sourced, chemical free, or at a minimum organic foods being touted more every day as primary to living longer.    Part of my  master plan to outlive, outlast, and outplay the competition is to know exactly where my food comes from, whom has handled it, their commitment to my lifestyle.  We endorse Wellensiek Custom Meats (antibiotic and hormone free, grass fed beef and lamb), Timm’s Heritage Pork (antibiotic free, no animal proteins in feed, humanely raised on dirt), and of course Bar None Produce.   We are the only completely chemical free gardeners in the Omaha Metro.  Remember, organic gardeners use organic chemicals, we use nothing.   Seed orders have been placed, I’ll be starting your spring greens in just a couple of weeks!  Be sure and visit all of us at the Village Pointe Farmer’s Market this summer.  And we invite you to contact us about our Boutique Customer program, originalrunguru@gmail.com

Less than 50% of American households own stock.  Count your blessings if you have Tully Financial Services as your advisor.

Happy Friday Y’all!

 

 

 

 

SURVEY SAYS!

A survey of  Run Guru Elite performances the first weekend in May.  We’ve comprised, roughly, 20-25% of the top finishers at the Lincoln Marathon and Half Marathon.

2014
26.2
Cameron Cummings, 5th o/a and 1st Nebraskan
Jerrod Anzalone, 12th o/a
Walter Key, 16th o/a
KyleClouston, 18th o/a
13.1
Amber Sargent, 7th o/a

2015
26.2
Pete Kostlenick, 3rd o/a (1st Nebraskan)
Kyle  Clouston, 8th o/a
Jessica Pape, 4th o/a (1st Nebraskan)
Stacy Shaw, 12th o/a (1st master)

2016
26.2
Jeremy Morris, 14th o/a
13.1
Jay Welp, 5th o/a (3rd Nebraskan)
Grant Wintheiser, 7th o/a**  (4th Nebraskan) **Was in 2nd entire race, missed critical turn
Kevin Joerger, 12th o/a (7th Nebraskan)
Kyle Clouston, 22nd o/a
James McGown, 24th o/a (2nd master)

2017
13.1
Grant Wintheiser, 4th o/a (1:07:09) (1st Nebraskan)
Jay Welp, 10th o/a (1:10:51) (5th Nebraskan)

2016, a breakthrough year for our little club.  Proud of all my mates, everyone.

JEREMY AND CRAIG

Jeremy Morris and Craig Halverson.  A couple of the steadiest and most prolific runners I know.   Good Mates.   I’m lifting from their respective social media accounts to share with you.  Jeremy first and Craig following.

“2017 Race Recap
3196 total miles ran, 15 races with 5-1st, 7-2nds, a 4th, 6th, and 27th place finish. Raging Bull 12 mile-2nd, Stampede 50k-2nd, Rockin K 50 mile-1st, Angry Cow 50 mile-2nd, FreeState 100k-2nd, Lincoln Marathon-27th, Cowboy Ultra-1st, Buffalo County 1/2 marathon-4th, Dizzy Goat 12hr-1st, Heifer Hustle 18 mile-2nd, Hawk 100-1st, Lake Perry Rocks 50k-1st, Goatz 50k-2nd, Vets 50k-2nd, and KUS 24hr 6th. Had some knee and leg issues throughout the year that never let me feel 100%. Chose to not run a few planned races because of this. Would say 2017 was an average year of racing even with all the set backs in training. Didn’t reach any of my goals, but am happy with what I was able to achieve. Winning Rockin K 50 mile for the 6th time, The Dizzy Goat 12hr for 4th straight year, The Hawk 100 for 2nd straight year, and completing 150 miles of the Cowboy trail are my highlights of the year. Looking forward to having a better 2018. #Howihammer”

Jeremy is strong in his running and in his family.  One of the quietest and iron fortified (Hamms) runners I’ve ever known.

 

From Craig:
“Here it is! All my medals and awards from 2017! What an amazing year. We ran Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Illinois! I ran my first 50k, my first trek the tower up the building, I pr’d my 5k 10k and half marathon. I just hope Tera and I have another great year, can’t wait to see where it takes us.”


Craig’s 2017 awards testament to his frequent trips to the podium!

DROP THE COB

Thanks to Linda for today’s column title.  Watching around the country they drop a Peach in Atlanta, a Giant Spud in Boise.  She suggests that Omaha “Drop The Cob.”

Nothing suggests Nebraska like a big old corn cob.  Cornhole.  Cob hats.  Corn.

Cornhuskers.  That one I get behind all the way.  Every screen in the Good LIfe tuned into Scott Frost this morning, lets hope it goes his way before he heads our way for good.

Those of you that have run over the last couple days, hope your skin is ok.  I’ve watched with amazement at the number of much praised selfies.    That elasticity and hubris of youth I no longer possess.  My tests of frigid madness during, pre social media, was for personal satisfaction alone.  Begs the philosophical question, would you run 100 miles and never tell anyone?  Please be careful, your susceptibility to damage only increases with every exposure.

-19 real temp and -35 wind chill as I peck this deck.  French pressed Cup of Magic, a stoked firebox, Jedediah at my feet, Linda by my side, can’t think of a better way to start 2018.

Happy New Year!

The 2014 Hair of the Dog Run at Lake Zorinsky, fundraiser for the Food Bank of The Heartland.  It was well above zero, we did it for charity, and felt it for days.