Monthly Archives: February 2018


I hope you gentle readers pick up on my little vagaries, nuances, juxtapositions, barely audible subtleties, usually pointed, sometimes giftwrapped, sometimes a ton of bricks.

My main message is loud and clear.  Doesn’t deviate.  While it has been ameliorated, or at least more laser focused, the principles remain clear.

You the athlete.  First to Last.  Always.

This then will remain my clarion call.  Loudest of all.  All the way to 11.


I’m from Atwood, Illinois.  Current population 1,185.  When I grew up in the 60s-70s there were less than 900 people.

Tug  Wilson is also from Atwood.  He was born there on march 27, 1896.   The populations was just over 500.  My little Atwood!

So what prompts todays column about a fella you’ve never heard of?

Kenneth Leon “Tug” Wilson lived a mile from our old high school.  Ran to and from school every day.  Used that strength to become the best runner in Piatt/Douglas counties.  Track and field his passion, he also played football and basketball at Atwood.  Upon graduating at age 17 he set up local youth fitness programs, taught those for two years.  At age 19 he decided to attend the University of Illinois.    Though he continued as a multi sport athlete playing basketball and football his  specialty was track and field and the javelin, personal best of 55.47 meters.

Tug finished 3rd overall at the 1920 AAU National Championships/Olympic Trials in the Javelin.  Earning him a spot on the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Team.  He also threw  the discus and finished 10th against the world’s  very best.

At age 24 Tug became the Athletic Director of Drake University.  He served as the Meet Director for the prestigious Drake Relays for 5 years.  At age 29 he became the Athletic Director at Northwestern University and built powerhouse national champions in both basketball and football.

At age 49 Tug became the Big 10 Commissioner.  Only the second person to hold that job.

From 1953-1965 Tug was the President of the United States Olympic Committee.

Tug Wilson.  Now you know him.  My hometown hero.  Atwood, Illinois.



We wrapped up the 2018 Winter Fitness Series Saturday and are pleased with the numbers. Both participation and performance.

Jay Welp and Mark Abrams.  Couple of Real Stud Muffins.  Nolan Zimmer and Matt Pohren, a couple more.  Liz Starbuck and Nicole Norris (Studette Muffins) too.  I appreciate you.  Our mates Jackie Freeman and Craig Halverson.   Zach Jones, Chris McBratney, Stacy Shaw, all our USATF members. For coming out and taking advantage of the fastest USATF Certified and Sanctioned 5K and 10K courses in Nebraska.   Wide open, closed road.  Helping spread the word, little by little…

Full Wolf Moon 5K- 59 finishers
Valentine’s Day 5K- 75 finishers
Halley’s Comet 10K- 16 finishers

Sending each on their way with custom made awards, home baked goodies, hot chocolate, Bar None eggs and man those special muffins!

And a message, a new way to think about marathoning in Nebraska.    Raising awareness and expectations.  There’s an excitement starting to brew.  Little by little, week by week, finding the voice, the concerns, the vision is shared by an ever growing number.  We’re out here.  More than I knew, more than you know.   Runners deserving and entitled, as much as the stud muffins, to the opportunity to run and race unobstructed and free.  As it should be.  #wideopenroads #roadsnotsidewalks #youdeservebetter #whysettle #Spring2019 #Valley #Nebraska #muffins



Congratulations to everyone that made the slippery slide out to Two River State Park for this morning’s 10K!  Photos available at our 2018 Winter Fitness Series facebook page,

Halley’s Comet 10K
February 24, 2018
Two Rivers State Park, Waterloo NE
25 degrees, icy

1. Jay Welp, Iowa City, IA 34:20
2. Mark Abrams, Council Bluffs, 34:49
3. Sebastian Borowik, Siedlce, Poland, 39:15
4. Craig Halverson, Council Bluffs, 40:25
5. Crystal Kmoch, Omaha, 45:59
6. Clint Kmoch, Omaha, 47:20
7. Jackie Freeman, Bloomfield, 47:33
8. Joana Borowik, Siedlce, Poland, 52:54
9. Steve Nabity, Elkhorn, 53:20
10. Mandy Kumm, Wasau, 56:07
11. Crysta Chalupa, Omaha, 57:21
12. Haley Birmingham, Bellevue, 58:14
13. Joseph McAvoy, Omaha, 59:10
14. Tammie Mead, Syracuse, 1:08:13
15. Kayla Eisenhauer, Bloomfield, 1:08:35
16. Ashton Wachter, Wasau, 1:17:48



Long and languid was Nat our cat
Cleopatra on a chaise, just like that
Stretching in her favorite sun
Brother King her biggest fun
Sibling gatos, black as night
Barn cats playing  such a sight
Natalie and King, Bar None Delight
Now Natalie’s gone, things are less right
King is lonely and Linda is blue
Dear Sweet Nat, how we miss you

Life on the farm is hard sometimes.  Our little miss Nat was just the best kitten ever.  Linda’s  favorite and that love was reciprocated daily.  Our hearts are heavy today.


What to do, what to do?  Based on the current forecast the easy way out would be to cancel Saturday’s Halley’s Comet 10K.

Read the fine print on your race entry forms.   Your mega races will likely include a well crafted turn on a strict no return policy regarding entry fees.  After all its a business.

No such language on our entry forms.   You are more than a business.

Linda and I will be at the park starting at 8:30 for packet pick up and race day registration.  We checked the course yesterday, established landmarks to set our mile markers, likely to be under some fresh powder by gun time.  Have dotted all our t’s and crossed all our i’s.

An event management truism, “You can’t  control the  weather”.  This year we’ll focus on having a blast  more than running fast.  After all, this is our Winter Fitness Series.  Your chance to get outside, into the elements, pursuing a healthy lifestyle.   Towards that end we invite you to bring your running shoes or snowshoes or cross country skis.  We will give you a race number and we’ll still pull your tags for official times.

Please leave plenty of time for safe travels.  The  best judgement always your own, if your road is clear we hope to see you here!

My old buddy Brant Kotch shared this photo.


Well here we are.  For those recent to my musings, you’re seeing a vastly different side that is exactly the same.  Today’s message same as it ever was, barely clothed, eminently clear.

Do with your running what you do with your life.  Do  with your life what you do with your running.

Do it your way.  Don’t let others dictate.   Do it with passion.  Do it with gusto.  Do it with commitment.  Do it like it will define you.

My running life pretty much summed  up right there.  My real life as well.  Rushing in where angels fear to tread.

That is the pat answer as to why April 27, 2019.  There are many more layers to it to be sure, but simply, I’ve always wanted to put on a marathon.  After 35 years in the road race management arena, track and trail and road, the biggest and most elusive-the marathon, still sitting atop my list, box unchecked.  Our management team feels the time is now right for a second spring marathon in Nebraska.  And we all agree that we want it to be something very special.

A closed road, world class marathon in Nebraska.  The only thing left for me to do.

Comes to this.

I’ve offered that 2:10 for men would be a reasonable winning time on a course with less than 20′ total  elevation.

And with the right support its worth a 2:25 for women.


Owning up to my missed called shot on a new event record at Trek.  Ivan Marsh won his 12th consecutive (4:43). Sarah Bickerstaff (5:55) led the women.  Liz Starbuck learned the importance of having a seeded number.

The Blackstone District Love Run 5K  had 75 finishers led by Eric Klein (16:50) and Christy Nielsen (19:45).  Put on by IronHawk Endurance just down the street here in Waterloo.  Brad Hildebrandt’s venture off to a good start, he’ll be hosting a few road races here this year.  Waterloo, the new epicenter of Nebraska Road Racing?

So nice to  see Jay Welp (1st- 8:36.40 pr) and Colin Morrissey (2nd- 8:37 pr) and Cory Logsdon (7th- 8:48.29) honing  their speed at the Nebraska Tune Up  3K.  Personal bests for Jay and  Colin.  In the 5000 meters Peter Falcon got his own W and new pr in a nice 14:58.  Way to work fellas!

USATF Indoor National Champs this past weekend.  Of local interest Shelby Houlihan pulled the double winning the 3000 (9:00.08) and 1500 (4:13.07).

Shelby’s mom and dad both raced  the 2008 Omaha Mile.  Connie Prince-Houlihan beating Bob to the line by a couple of  steps.  She was age 50 and ran 5:17 on the lightning fast course.

#FarmStrong revisited.  This picture from the Bar None High Level Training dojo, circa 2013.  On your far right, Sam Runde, top 10 at the USATF Jr. Olympics 3000.  In the green shorts, Trevor Fauver, 2016 State Wrestling Champ from Gretna.  In the red shorts, your 2018 State Champ in the 182 pound class, Lance Jarrett.  Good clean living, good hard work, excellence!



USATF Level I Coaching

March 17 and 18 in Lincoln.  This opportunity doesn’t come to Nebraska very often so if you’re interested better sign up before the price increase on March 3rd.

USATF.  Youth.  Officials.  Long Distance Running.  Coaching Education.

I’ve got mine.  Kyle Clouston got his with me.  So did the Falcon clan.  Jay Welp got his while running for me.  My mates Jackie Freeman, Ashley Schurman and dear sweet Linda are signed up for Lincoln.  Its a full weekend to be sure, demonstrates how serious you are about the craft.  I’m always advocating for the coaching education program.  Especially within Nebraska.

With all the local marathon coaches and training programs available your very first question should always be- “Do you have your USATF Level I Credentials?”

Huevos!  I got em!  Enough to predict a new Event Record at tomorrow’s Trek Up The Tower.

Ivan Marsh has owned the Trek, winning every edition thus  far.