Monthly Archives: April 2018


Valley, Nebraska is a hidden gem of small town charm in Western Douglas County. Peacefully nestled between the Platte and Elkhorn rivers, just minutes west of Omaha. The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon was established to highlight the natural beauty of the community of Valley. In the process, we have found claim and fame as the “Flattest Closed Road Marathon in the World.” Our total elevation gain of only 21 feet is enough to draw national interest. It is the seven deep freshwater lake developments that will make your tour of Valley and Western Douglas County a run to remember! Our event management staff has worked closely with civic and residential communities to ensure a one of a kind marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay. The City of Valley will open its arms to runners from all over the United States and the world, Saturday April 27, 2019. We invite you to join us and run the race of your life!


Atlanta will host our most talented Nebraska marathoners for the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon.  February 29, 2020 is the date.  Start planning your competitive schedules and be sure to include your Very Best Opportunity to qualify.

The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon is set for April 27, 2019.  With a total elevation of only 21′  the race claims the designation as “Flattest Closed Road Marathon In The World.”

The event is working on the “American Challenge” which will reward US athletes for achieving the “A” standard (2:15:00, 2:37:00) or “B” standard (2:19:00, 2:45:00).  Training stipends along with overall prize purse should draw a deep national field for both men and women.   An unparalleled commitment to U.S. athletes will  be a hallmark of the race.  Something that has been so very dear to me for the last 20+ years.

Support for our U.S. athletes won’t end there.  Plans are to revive the  USA Marathon Road Relay National Championships for 2020.  According to Race Director Tristan Nelson the tour around the 7 lakes will have the 5K, 15K, 20K and 30K points certified in order to host the Ekiden style (5K, 10K, 5K, 10K, 12K) relay.  Bringing the Tasuki to Valley, Nebraska!

Congratulations to Zach Zarda of the Kansas City Smoke.  He popped a very  fine 13:43.73 5000 meters on the  track at the Mt.  Sac Relays last weekend.

The Ekiden is the national sport in Japan.  My trips to Japan (Chiba, 2002 and Yokohama, 2006) leaving an indelible impression.  Instead of a baton runners wear and pass a sash called a Tasuki.  








Our Nebraska USATF LDR Program is celebrating its 16th year.  Think about that for a moment.  Where were you in 2002?  I’d wager some of you were still in middle and high school.  One of the most important aspects of this blog is that it provides a historical record.  For all those that  played and are playing their part.  USATF.

Not RRCA.  Not WECRAWL.  Please don’t ever confuse or combine the programs.

Nebraska USATF LDR endures.  There have been tremendous highs and necessary lulls.  Hundreds and hundreds of athletes have been served.

There are athletes whose contributions and performances must never be forgotten.  Their contributions to the fabric the very stitching that keeps our sundry kits together.  They all wore Red & White for the first 8 years.  I’ll forever wonder why there were no post collegiate club opportunities for our Nebraska athletes before 2002.   There were athletes to be sure.  Roxi Erickson was selected for a USA World Championships Marathon team.  Mary Amen and Nancy Stanley of Lincoln worked with me in the Association Athlete Development Program in the late 1990s.    They just had no one to advocate and organize for them as a unit.

Why all this old hash on your breakfast plate?

One of the items I have proposed for our upcoming USATF Nebraska LDR meeting is the establishment of a Hall of Fame.    USATF membership and excellence the  two mandatory  requirements.   Or making an Olympic Trials or World Championships prior to 2002, both of those requiring membership in our national  governing body.

Think about your own list of nominees.  Who represents USATF excellence at the highest levels?  I’ve got a few names written down.  Those from 2002 through 2012.  I’ve another list of athletes that I am hopeful will make the breakthrough, rise to the very top of USATF Nebraska LDR.







The hardest week of the year for Real Marathoners.  And  Coaches.  Just what makes it so hard?

For the Boston/London/Paris marathoners there is tremendous temptation to hop into another marathon right away.   You worked 16-20 weeks getting by golly fit and for sure you are champing at the bit.

I was interested but dismayed by the story of 2018 Boston winner Yuki Kawauchi.  Interested because he is a singular athlete, able to run 10-12 marathons a year at a World Class level.  He’s an outlier, a one off.  Dismayed because of the message that sends.  Look, like it or not you only have 2 quality marathons a year in your legs.  Unless you are blessed like Yuki.

But the marathon accepts all attempts.  Cares not for training cycles, coaches, or kits.  It simply is.

This is only one of the significant departures I’ve noticed in the world of marathoning over the last quarter century.  The trade off.  The sacrifice of peak performance for whatever else there might be in the marathon  (somebody throw me a line and tell me what that other else is, please!)   Peak performance that can only come through science of high level training.   I try and understand why anyone would run a marathon and not make it the  pursuit of a lifetime, a personal best effort.    I won’t say “right” or “wrong”, it simply is.

Would you trade a dozen (a hundred?) 3:01 marathons for a sub 3?  Would you trade a dozen 2:30s for a 2:29?  Would you trade a resume full of 2:20s for a single 2:19?  Would you trade all of your 4 hour plus efforts for a single 3:59.  Likely a generational question with generational responses.

I ran 2:47:09 in 1983, my personal best 2:46:56 in 1995.  Almost thirteen years chasing an arbitrary number.  An effort and journey that I’ll forever cherish.   I gave the marathon everything.  Two solid efforts a year with only a singular goal.  How I wish it was 2:45!

Listen to the science.  Listen to the experts.  Listen to the coach.  But only if such things really matter to you.




Tom Shatel of the OWH is one writer I read regularly.  I’m pulling a quote from today’s column titled “Frost’s natural straight talk a welcome change of pace.”  The words that captured me this morning were those he led off with, “I like straight talk.  Most, if not all, Nebraskans appreciate straight talk.”

This column has attempted to bring straight talk about running.

Frost’s press mixer lent an opportunity for him to call out Mike Reilly’s weakness in developing leadership.  Shatel initially thought Frost had crossed the Good Life Sensibility line, asking himself “was it necessary to say that?”

Shatel goes on to say that “This was simply Frost speaking his mind, telling you what he thinks, whether you want to hear it or agree.”

I’m shifting to summer hours with today’s  column.  Still banging the keys but focused now more on all the good living things that make up our garden.   Thanks for still checking in occasionally.

I’m hoping Shatel is right.

Giving Darrell Crain some straight talk on a start line in Houston.  Twenty five years later and I’ve still got a lot to say.


Sitting with the Hansons Training group in the  auditorium of St. Louis University in 2003.  Just prior to the start of the USA Women’s Marathon National Championships.  Keith and Kevin introduced me to Desiree Davila.  She had been accepted into the group and there were those in the running community that wondered how/why.  Less than stellar collegiate credentials but a tough as nails competitor.  I’ve had the pleasure of cheering for Desi for the last 15 years.  Never louder than yesterday.

Linda and I were headed to Raymond, NE to pick out our new pup yesterday when naming came  up.  Boston was the safe choice but we decided if an American woman won it would be in her honor.  We both wanted Desi.  Shalane or Molly would have been good but Desi was perfect.

We watched with pride as our Run Guru Elite athletes battled the worst weather in 30 years.  Nicole Norris (3:14:29) was 2nd Nebraska Female (Karissa Stack, unattached, 3:00:32).  Jackie Freeman (3:47:24) defied all obstacles en route to a memorable finish.  Cameron Cummings 2:47 keeping his Boston streak alive.  Run Guru Elite with 3 finishers, Giddyup!  Top Nebraska fella, Cory Logsdon’s 2:39:27.

The Boston Marathon.  America’s Marathon.  The Marathon.

We got our Jedediah three weeks before the 2013 Boston Marathon.  Named him “Jedediah Strong”, the latter to become forever intertwined  with the Marathon.  Only fitting that our new addition to  the  family is named “Desiree Strong”.  Anatolian Shepherd/Lab mix.  Seven weeks old, we look forward to many years and miles with her.


Thanks to everyone for coming out and braving the elements!  Hope you enjoyed our new 8K course and the fellowship of our trail running community!  Thanks for checking back, we’ll be adding photos here and at our Nebraska Trail Run facebook page as they come in.


  1. Paul Yak   28:43
  2. Jay Welp    28:43
  3. Nate Swenson  30:50
  4. Nick Knowles    34:19
  5. Ben Richter       38:00
  6. Brian Akert       38:26
  7. Wesley Boyce   38:48
  8. Marty Mehrohoff  39:09
  9. Michael Overfield  40:10
  10. Matt Baird          41:36
  11. Jesse Koelzer  43:59
  12. Chris Tomcak  44:25
  13. Christine Tomcak   45:38
  14. Brian Johnson       46:14
  15. Caitlin Orth           48:07
  16. Stephen Peters    48:32
  17. Melissa Dorr         50:08
  18. Carey Wheelhouse  50:31
  19. Michele Nelson       50:47
  20. Greg Colan             51:56
  21. Dylan Kuhl             53:19
  22. Bea Sides               53:22
  23. Amber Snyder      55:04
  24. Rebecca Nelson   56:02
  25. Curt Nelson          56:02
  26. Alex Diaz               56:59
  27. Bill Weeks              57:00
  28. Jenean France          1:08:10
  29. Catlin Hayes           1:09:29
  30. Deborah Bucholz   1:09:56
  31. Kelsi Anderson       1:13:07
  32. Terri Ann Ching      1:14:03


Good morning. Here are a few pointers that will help Saturday’s race go smooth. Packet pick up and race day registration will open at 7:30 at the pavillion by the log cabin. Take a right at the first stop sign after entering the park and you can’t miss. The race will start promptly at 9:00.

The course is out and back. A few steep but not too long hills are in the first half and you get to fly coming home. The course will be marked with flagging and arrows and signage. There are a few small water crossings and wooden bridges that may be slippery due to the expected weather, use caution!   Your feet will thank you for dry shoes and socks post race. Please also bring your own water bottle as there will be none available on the course.  You are welcome to fill your bottles from our igloos at the start.

Be sure and pick up your hand made wooden medal from the awards table after you cross the finish line. We also invite you to have some hot chocolate and home baked goods and a chance at a few door prizes.

Full results and photos will be posted at the website on the bottom of your race number. Looking forward to an epic and fun time.

Will & Linda


Or, the best Bar None.  The Quad County Fava, Lima, And Garbanzo (FLAG) growers association has recognized our efforts with the Golden Legume Award Designation (GLAD).  Of course this is purely fictional.  What is real is that we continue to make a name for ourselves as the only completely chemical free market garden in the Omaha Metro.  We will be introducing our new intern to the operation this morning.

All our balls and pins in the air this week.  Juggling Saturday’s Nebraska Trail Run, planting season and Valley 7 Lakes Marathon.  Deftly moving between each, all with one hand tied behind my back.   This will be the best Trail Run in its 12 year history.  Our market product simply the best.  The 7 Lakes Marathon (brought to you by the City of Valley and Mayor Carroll Smith) will be the best marathon in Nebraska.

Best No Less.



I’ve danced with you for the last 35 years.  Loved you deeply.  Gave everything to you.  You’ve been fickle with my affections.   Always so full of promises.  Toyed with me as I lay broken.  Laughed at my tears.

Its been worth it.  That one magical morning we tripped the light fantastic, now 23 years ago.    That agreement, or intersection, or mere fate.  The grace and beauty and life time memory of the 1995 Houston Marathon.  2:46:56.

My  marathon days far past, one of the real joys now coaching others to their own dance with destiny.

You set a date, pick the venue.  Get all gussied up in your best fitness finery.  You’ve never looked or felt better.  You eagerly anticipate the day.  Every detail planned, butterflies bearing you on gossamer wings of anticipation.

The week before the big day.  Dreams are dashed.  Character defining moment.  How to reconcile supreme fitness with the tiniest of tendons.

My guess is that the vast majority of you readers consider yourself marathoners.  This scribe’s ultimate test of running/racing, litmus for Real Runners.  87.5% effort for 40K, 90% the last 2K.  As marathoners you’ve all had your own dance.  You have your personal records and your stories of disappointment.

I’ve been coaching Nicole and  Jackie to their Boston effort.  Both have done a tremendous  amount of work.  Less than a week away Nicole is peaked (No Taper!) for her run at sub 3.  Jackie, made it through all her workouts, fit as a fiddle, addressing a recent strain.  Still ready to go, that fine razor’s edge of the marathon awaits.

Monday, April 16th, 2018.

The Marathon.  Bestower of Honesty.  Provider of Potential.  Seductive.  Temptress.

Cruel Mistress.

The 1995 Houston Marathon.  Executed to my personal potential perfection.  8 consecutive 5Ks at 19:52-19:57 and wings on my feet for the last 2K.  The dance that I will never forget, the day the lady let me lead.   post script:  Grandma’s 2012 was my last marathon effort.  On April 10 of that year I had reached 1009 miles of training.  This morning I sit at 201 miles for 2018.