Monthly Archives: September 2018


Ten years ago this weekend is an anniversary etched into the historical excellence of athletics in Nebraska.  Peter vd Westhuizen broke  the magical 4:00 barrier at the 2008 Omaha Mile, the last person to crack that on Nebraska soil.  With all due respect to Messrs. McGown, Morgan, Adams, and Wintheiser, Peter in my opinion the single greatest athlete to come out of Nebraska in the modern day (USATF) era, maybe ever.    I had the pleasure  of catching  up with Peter for a fond reminisce.

Will:  Ten Years! Please tell us what you and Michaela have been up to for the last decade.

Peter:  After officially retiring from running in 2013 Kayla and I moved to Austin TX to pursue a career with Saucony and now Under Armour. We have also been busy growing our family and have an almost 3 year old, Sienna and 6 week old, Jude.

Will:  For a little background, what are your lifetime personal bests? 800-1500-mile-5000-10000?

Peter:  1:47.60, 3:35.33, 3:54.90, 14:07 (road), 30:00 (road)

Will:  My favorite memory is you wearing the Team Nebraska singlet at the 2010 Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games. Or maybe your race with Alan Webb. Or maybe the Adidas Classic. You were truly a World Class runner! What do you attribute such a successful career to?

Peter:  I was lucky enough to grow up around running as my parents were very involved in the sport from a young age. Running at the University of Nebraska also opened up many doors form me and allowed me to develop as an athlete. Lastly, I have to attribute my success to great coaching throughout my career namely my dad, Glen van der Westhuizen and Jay Dirksen.

Will:  Do you have any special memories from the 2008 Omaha Mile? You remain the last Nebraskan to break the magical 4:00 mile on Nebraska soil.

Peter:  The 2008 Omaha Mile was one of my favorite races. I mostly remember being shocked that we were able to break 4 min that day. I also remember the steep downhill on the first quarter mile which made the race very interesting and helped us get under 4min that day.

Will:  Who was your biggest inspiration?

Peter:  I’ve always been inspired by the Seb Coe / Steve Ovett rivalry.

Will:  Who was your favorite competitor?

Peter:  Johan Cronje, the current South African 1500m record holder.

Will:   What was your favorite race?

Peter:  2009 New York Adidas Grand Prix where I ran my 1500 PR.

Will:   What is your favorite beer?

Peter:  Karbach Rodeo Clown Double IPA

Will:   Are you still running? Any desire to compete again?

Peter:  With the little ones being so young I’m only getting out a couple of times per week these days but I’m always itching to get back into 5k/10k race shape. I may even consider training for a half next year if time allows.

Will: Would you consider coming out of retirement and running for Nebraska Run Guru Elite?

Peter:   My days of running track are over but would definitely run for Nebraska Run Guru Elite on the roads.



The  2009 Adidas Classic.  Bernard Lagat.  Lopez Lomong.  Peter embodied everything that Team Nebraska was founded on.  A special time that should never be forgotten.

Peter vd Westhuizen.  The fastest Nebraskan ever!  Who will be the next?




Registration is now open!

January 5- Rust Buster 5K

January 19- Full Wolf Moon 5K

February 9- Valentine’s Day 5K

February 23- Halley’s Comet 10K

At Two Rivers State Recreation Area just minutes west of Omaha. 27702 F St., Waterloo.
USATF Certified 5K (NE16012GM) and 10K (NE16013GM).


For those that believe you are restricted in any way.  There  is a way.  I received some push back yesterday from a Lincoln Marathon runner.  His position was “Lincoln’s Marathon has only 2 miles worth of sidewalk bc they won’t allow running on the Hwy for safety reasons. 2 miles is not considered much considering the race is 26.2 miles long.”

If you feel that you must run on a sidewalk you have been hoodwinked.  There are protocols by which marathons can close roads.  Even a state highway.

They do it in Chicago.  They do it in New York.  They do it in Boston and Houston and Denver and Kansas City and Minneapolis.  And in Valley, Nebraska. We have followed the described protocols and have closed a state highway. So there’s that.

Months and months of work to be sure.  Getting complete buy in from the community, the county, the state.  In your major metropolitan cities.  And in small towns and everywhere in between.  Laws are laws and apply to us all.

The effort is worth it.  Because Real Road Races must be held on a road to be a true road race.  All of it.  Call me old fashioned.  Call me worse.  Call me right.



Well turds.  Two weeks, two marathons, two major issues.  The HITS Marathon was a total mustard duck.  The Heartland Marathon (Omaha Running Club) was just barely better.  The top two finishers removed from the results.

The Heartland Marathon was conducted on an open course last weekend.  Primarily on sidewalks, on both sides of the Missouri  River.  Not a legitimate road course at all.  You all know  my position about running marathons on sidewalks.  Riverside Trail is not fit for Real Racing, no matter which side of  the  mighty  Mo.

An “Open Course”  means that you will encounter bikers, runners, and walkers on that sidewalk.  Going both directions.  Fluster Truck.  Why in the world would you offer such a product?

A whole lot more than logistical nightmares however.  The top two finishers in the marathon were removed from  the results.  Overall winner Chuck Engle was removed.  He is one of the most accomplished and prolific marathoners in America.  SUB 3 Marathon Wins all 50 States.  Veteran of well over 400 marathons.    50 States Sub 2:50.  Sub 3 all 50 2X.   How the hell does this guy get removed from the results?  Chuck has filed an appeal with the national leadership of RRCA.  With class and grace.

Second place finisher Tim Fry was removed.    Tim was caught up in an open course invitation to disaster.

The Heartland  Marathon served as the RRCA State Championships.  Tim was removed from the results, citing USATF rule even though the event was not sanctioned by USA Track & Field.  USATF requires a Referee and  Jury of Appeals.  RRCA I’m not so  sure about.   Just glad that Chuck will  get a Fair Hearing by those who  make  it their  business making sure things are done right.

Nebraska Marathon coming up October 14.  A survey of the course indicates the “Riverside Trail” will be used once again.  In the meantime, I sit here shaking my head slowly side to side.  Insisting to myself that Nebraska runners deserve a closed road marathon.  USATF Certified and Sanctioned.

Until then, Heartland Heartbreak.



In the 1980s and 1990s The Marathon consumed me.  Sixteen to twenty four weeks of 26.2 mile blinders.  Doggedly purposeful, fraught with all manner of risk.  Balls to the wall training.  That’s how it was.

That’s how it still is.  You don’t register for a marathon on a whim.  You don’t line up untrained.  We all, every one, make that same commitment to the marathon when we sign up.  To tilt at that windmill.  To give it our best shot.

There is a sliding scale, a continuum if you will, regarding natural talent in the marathon.  Ranging from just barely able to effortless.  The real beauty of our sport there.

You don’t have to be world class to have a world class marathon experience.  You just have to train up and run it.  In your own measure.  Acquit yourself with bravery and accomplishment!

The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon is offering you that.  Nebraska’s Only Completely Closed Road Marathon.  Offering all runners the opportunity to run to their potential.  The most beautiful marathon in the area.  Touring the seven deep water lakes.  Flat.  Fast.  Something new.  You deserve this.  Its Your Marathon.

World Class Race, small town charm!


I’m proud to see the Omaha running community stand up to piss poor race management.  Last weekend’s HITS Marathon seemingly did more for the cause than I’ve done complaining for the last 17 years.   Omaha, and perhaps all Nebraska, has had enough.   If you’ve an additional moment, you can read the  full list of rants here:

My clif notes:
1.  No official  results posted now 72 hours post race.  Say  what?
2.  Every runner received the  same  medal and same t-shirt.  In my humble opinion you just don’t give a half marathoner a full marathon t-shirt or  medal.
3.  Disconnected race administrators.  A post out of  Saugerties, NY  indicating it was perfect weather for marathoning.  A vast expanse of miles separating runners and admins.
4.  Expectations are changing.  Runners  are understanding more than ever that “Because we’ve always done it that way” just doesn’t  cut it.  You either upgrade your product or risk  becoming a second tier event in Nebraska.

The Heartland Marathon is this coming Sunday.  I’ll bet they are paying close attention to last weekend’s HITS AND MISSES.




Registration kick off party this Sunday from 2 pm until 6 pm.   Hosted by our  Gold level sponsor, Thrive Space Business Campus. 800 N. Front St.  Waterloo, NE.  68069

If you are running the Heartland Marathon on Sunday, save enough strength to come on over to Waterloo and take advantage of our reduced entry rates, pizza, refreshments, and pick up on the buzz surrounding what we are all working towards, the best marathon in Nebraska and the Midwest.

The Flattest Closed Road Marathon in the World and the only completely closed road marathon in Nebraska.  Saturday, April 27, 2019.




Berlin Marathon
Eliud Kipchoge- 2:01:39 *WR

36th Capital Pusuit 10 Mile, Des Moines
1  Brogan Austin, 26,  50:32
2  Stan Linton, 24, 51:17
3 Johnny Rutford, 27,  51:19
4 Jason Thomas, 24, 52:19
5  Brent Ewing, 28, 54:52
9. Pasca Meyers, 32 (F), 58:20
13. Ashlyn Bagge, 23 (F), 1:00:01

Peak to Peak 10 Mile
1  PATRICK O’GRADY 57  1:02:29
3 TIM MCGARGILL 37 1:10:41
4 CARYN CROCFER 46 F  1:14:22
5  RONALD LAMPE 56  1:17:08
6  MEGAN NIESEN 26 F  1:19:06
7  DAREN KONDA 42  1:21:36
8 SARAH NEUBERT 37 F  1:25:02
9  DAN THOMS 48 1:25:03
10 BARNEY REMPE 62 1:25:45
11  MARK JONES 64 M 1:26:36

Harvest Hustle 10K, Elmwood, NE
1. Luka Thor- 33:04
1. Katherine Sheridan- 40:12


Thanking Nolan Zimmer and Emil Zatopek for this morning’s inspiration.  Nolan posted this picture and quote on facebook, duly credited.

Nolan Zimmer breaking the tape at last Sunday’s  Buffalo Run 5 Mile in Lincoln.

“It’s at the true borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys.”
-Emil Zatopek

I’ve danced along running’s razor edge for over 30 years.  Advocating for America’s very best athletes while trying to inspire and motivate and stimulate all the rest to run to their own personal potential.  It is far too simple a declaration to deem me elitist.

It is with certainty that I share Nolan’s feelings about what it means to push to your limits.   And Emil’s.  Emil Zatopek, three Gold Medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.  5000, 10,000, and Marathon.

You don’t have to be an Olympic triple  gold medalist.  What you do have to experience is that “true border of pain and suffering”.  If you delve that deep, find your own Exquisite Threshold, then you too have separated from those that merely put one foot in front of the other and call it good.  Truth!