Monthly Archives: January 2019


The Railsplitter.   The Great Statesman.  The Great Emancipator.  16th President of the United States.  Honest Abe Lincoln.  Springfield, Illinois, Abe’s Hometown.  Illinois, Land of Lincoln.

It may surprise you that I’d recommend another race when scheduled so close to one of my own races.  But just this once.  Steeped in history, the opportunity to experience my boyhood version of  the heartland.

The 55th annual Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon will be held Saturday April 6th.

The same day as our 13th annual Nebraska Trail Run.

Linda and I are headed south to catch up with one of the last Real American Cowboys, my dad.  Now 87 years old, still polishes his boots and goes dancing twice a week.  Gnarled laborer’s hands somehow turned artisan, cranking out Americana in his little leatherworking shop.  And the most honest man I  know.

Dad makes the knives from scratch.  Blades from cement sawblades, handles from all manner of root and antler and wood.  Hand tools the leatherwork.   I’m anxious to receive the belt he’s made and hope the snakeskin chaps are ready too.





You’ve got to have your own truths, live by them, stick by them.  They are your principles, and without them, without making and taking your stand, you are at the whim and disposal of those that would influence you for their own purposes.

One of my guiding principles is “Excellence In, Excellence Out!”  A deep set belief in the Bar None Produce lifestyle.  Completely Chemical Free food.  I don’t apologize to Blue Apron or Eat Fit Go.  I’ve seen the Sysco or US Food Service trucks pull up with their deliveries.  Food product originating in fields from only Buddha knows where, sprayed with who knows what, touched by uncountable hands.  Can I get a hallelujah?

Part of making this stand manifested yesterday when I turned down a sponsorship for our Winter Fitness Series races.  I visited their website and found the following:

“Warning: Results may vary. Check with your physician before beginning a supplement program. Products may contain ingredients known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm.”

If someone, and more’s the shame an athlete, attempts to shill you with claims of “Feeling 15 years younger!”  Or “I’m running better than I have in years!” Listen with your ears, see with your eyes, and think with your brain.

Age naturally and gracefully.  Most importantly know what you are putting into your body.  Find out.  The Truth.


It’s called Distance Running.  Not Distance Selfies, not Distance Flexing, not Distance Walking, not Distance Ski Poles.  Selfies, and flexing and ski poles and walking have their place don’t get me wrong, and I think you know where.

But Distance Running, that last bastion of personal freedom, where it is you against yourself, testing your mettle by keeping it to the pedal.  Running.

So many permutations of our sport now cozying up to the origins.  You can hardly recognize that Running began as a necessary Hierarchy of the Herd.  To the Victor The Spoils.  Everyone else the hindmost, and the further towards the hinds, the less delectable the remnants.  To quote the popular Ford Truck commercial, “If your not in the lead, the scenery never changes.”

And again, there is a place for everyone in our sport.

Including the Winners.  And all those that are “In It To Win It.”   Running with a purpose.  Embracing the grueling challenge of giving everything to cover the prescribed distance.

Those overlooked in today’s charity driven, tuxedo wearing, selfie taking, ski pole toting, bicep flexing corruption of man’s most basic expression of individualism.

What prompts today’s efforts to refocus on what Distance Running really is?

That crap I’m seeing on media about the “9 Mile Marathon.”  How to complete the marathon with your longest training run being less than 10 miles.  There’s a sucker born every minute.

If you want to be a Real Marathoner.  Embrace The Long Run.


Maslow proposed his infamous Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, describing fulfillment of basic criteria for mankind to be happy.  Pyramid in shape (see below), you must satisfy the base before moving to the next and more upper esoteric levels.  The famed psychologist would feather out additional needs but the gist remains.

I have insisted for the last 40 years that the very tip should be delineated with “Service to Others.”  When I moved here in 2001 I used a favorite quote to describe what my Road To Omaha would be “Love All, Serve All.”  A lofty and utterly pie-in-the-sky mantra as I would soon find out.  But that story gentle readers, best told in a quiet and dark corner over a double pour of Oban.

The foundation of my road soon shifted to, “Stimulating The Running Community To A More Competitive Culture” achieved with the formation of Team Nebraska Brooks.  The tale of that well executed demise and transition to the current captains of our state’s best athletes will cost you yet another double.

I have to be in charge of my own journey.  I Must.  I Will.  The Road Less Traveled.  As should You.  Don’t let others dictate which road you must take.  Make your travels your own.

Is there a Better Road?  It is for You to Decide.


The urgency doesn’t start creeping in until your prime is past.  A very subtle transition, imperceptible.  It starts with your body doing some really crazy things, like enjoying broccoli or blue cheese or developing a real palate for craft beers.  You don’t remember those exact moments and you can’t imagine why you didn’t like them in the first place.  You just do.

As I continue to march into my early 60s (and largely a product of  the 60s!) personal awareness resounds every morning.  Still fit as a fiddle, always searching for the next windmill to tilt, full of piss and vinegar, just a little less of each.  The thing that does increase every day above the grass is the appreciation of what I had as a youth.  A recognition  of the amazing things that body was capable of.  Like most lifelong runners you will come to the point where your marathon personal best pace is the fastest mile you can run.  Grace if not graceful.

I was a Real Marathoner.  Real because I gave it everything I had.  Gave myself the very best available opportunities.  And for that I have no  regrets.

This  then is what guides my involvement with our new marathon.  Not willing to settle for the status quo because I knew you deserved the opportunity to be a Real Marathoner.  To Run To Your Potential.  To stand up and make a stand.  For Your Running Body.





Today’s column dedicated to Coach Kunasek, 1933-2019.

Biggest news of the weekend is hometown girl made good.  Emily Sisson’s 1:07:30 at yesterday’s Houston Half Marathon a scant :05 off Molly Huddle’s American Record.  5:07 pace for all the fellas trying to do the math.  That likely moves Emily on to the top 5 or so all time for any Nebraskan.  Top American men were Reed Fischer (10th, 1:02:06), Abinet Adraro (11th, 1:02:09), and Tristan’s buddy Parker Stinson (12th, 1:02:11).  Of particular interest to Linda was Aaron Braun (33rd, 1:04:52).  She took Aaron to Japan in 2010 for the Chiba International  Ekiden.

In the marathon top local finisher was Iowan Kallin Kahn (2:22:28, 1st 20-24), top Nebraskan Kelly Halverson (2:36:06, M30-34).

Houston used to be a proving ground when I rode herd over Nebraska’s best runners.  Another shift from the  days of yore.  Race Director Brant Kotch, he’s there for you.

-11 wind chill at Saturday’s Full Wolf Moon 5K.  Thank you again to Mike and his staff for making our 1.5 mile racetrack runnable and raceable.  A host of young talent from Fremont and Papillion LaVista South taking the major spots.  Hollyanne Fricke finishing 9th and my new buddy Dan rounding out the top 10 and first master.

All I can say is the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.








  1. Ben Shulz          18       17:29
  2. Owen Wagner  17        17:38
  3. Edmund Englan 16      17:43
  4. Zack Jones           16     18:24
  5. Carter Waters     15      18:25
  6. Taylor Braden     15      18:39
  7. Tyson Baker       14       19:02
  8. Robert Price       18        19:59
  9. Hollyanne Fricke  31       20:59
  10. Dan Austin         50       23:29
  11. Jack Foster         26       23:44
  12. Carissa Stout     35       24:02
  13. Chad Dzingle     44       25:32
  14. Mike McKay       33      26:50
  15. Jesse Richardson  37   27:39
  16. Kevin Cleary          34    27:54
  17. Bill Weeks           62      28:48
  18. Rick Shever        65       29:01
  19. Kara Kostal        27       29:22
  20. Julie Selk             50      30:14
  21. Rebecka Schafer 56    31:12
  22. Nicholas Anderson  28  31:36
  23. Mark Goodman  59   34:00
  24. Nini  Vides           28    37:04
  25. Melinda Barthel  35   37:46
  26. Diana Meaden    53   42:33


In the vernacular of the early 80’s, “Its On Like Donkey Kong!”

Our Full Wolf Moon 5K is full speed ahead for Saturday morning.  And here’s why.  This small community that we live in and the new forecast.  The weather cataloged under the “Better lucky than good” column.  The community our wild card.  I drove the short 3 miles to Two Rivers State Recreation Area yesterday and met with the park superintendent.   Arranging for the snow plow to make a couple of quick passes over our two loop, completely closed road course.  They’ll be out as soon as the snow winds up at 6:00 a.m. making  sure you have the very best chance to keep your fitness on.  They’ve also agreed to open the park office for registration and packet pick up.

Regular readers pick up on a common theme  here.  Completely  Closed Road Courses.  Whether our Winter Fitness Series or America’s Marathon.  No one has railed against sidewalks/sidewalks called trails/four foot by four foot squares of  concrete any way you call them.  I’ve made a stand on this  premise.  Trying to reshape your expectations for your entry dollars.  One 1.5 mile loop at a time.

And this.  Trying to educate the running community on what “Flat” really means.  Describing elevations via fact and not hyperbole.  I  pay attention to these claims and you should to.  If you like hills there are  plenty in Nebraska.  We embrace the significant elevation changes at our  Nebraska Trail Run.  At one point when held at Platte Rivers State Park, deemed the “8th Most Challenging Trail Run In The U.S.” by Business Insider Magazine.   Our new venue at Chalco Hills, enough said.  Hills make you tough, I prescribe them in my marathon training programs.

Be diligent, check elevation profiles.  Road races across America usually provide theirs.  Choose what you want.  But be informed and check the veracity/authenticity of the ad men.

And no matter what you choose, “Don’t Quit, Be Fit.”


The buzz is out there.  America’s Marathon-Valley 7 Lakes is a Throwback.  Hearkening to a simpler time when you trained your butt off with a single intent.  To race to your potential.

Do you have what it takes to toe the line?  Are you committed to your own personal best?  Do you have the need for your own relative speed?  Willing to push your limits?  Have you ever wondered what you could really do under the ideal  conditions of a wide open, pancake flat, lightning fast, closed road course?

Do you dream of breaking 5 hours for the marathon?  Are you doggedly pursuing your Boston Marathon qualifier?  Do you aspire to an Olympic Trials Qualifier?  Do you want that “Race of a Lifetime, your Personal Best” that you’ll proudly carry into your competitive sunsets?  If so, Valley 7 Lakes Marathon is for you.

You should have your base miles well behind you at this point.  Less than 14 weeks until some of the most serious marathoners gather in front of the Veteran’s Memorial in Valley for the start cannon.  All those cold winter miles imbuing strength and confidence for the Real Work necessary to achieve all of the above.  Time to turn up the heat, by degrees, with sound and focused training.

To quote Jennifer Wilson, “scared, excited, scared, excited”, that is where you should be right now.  Filled with hope and just the right amount of anxiety, your two greatest fuels when handled properly.  I’ve coached Jennifer through two marathons.  Both saddled with hilly courses, just missing her ultimate goal of breaking 5 hours by eyelashes.  This marathon is for her.  I’ve been pushing Aimee Hough since October.  The goal of breaking 4 hours well in the rear view mirror now, her true potential being carefully nurtured on a daily basis.  This marathon is for her.  Both fitting the profile of Real Marathoners.  Do you?







The 7th annual Two Rivers Valentine’s Day 5K will be held at Two Rivers State Recreation Area on Saturday February 9th.  The most popular of our annual Winter Fitness Series runs.  Filling your hearts and  soles with that Loving Feeling!  And chocolates!  And a nice unassuming bottle of cabernet or pinot grigio!  Something special for the kids too.   As with all our Winter Series runs you’ll be treated to hot chocolate (with a splash if your 21), home baked goodies, door prizes, and Linda’s custom made participation awards!  Completely closed road, USATF Certified and Sanctioned course.  Official times.

Everything about our events reflects the local nature of our efforts.  The baked goods, door prizes, participation awards all originating right here at the Bar None.

We are seeing more “Race in a Box”, franchised events.   Garmin certified (there is no such thing folks), neatly packaged and presented, the same in every city.  Franchises purchased up front and a portion of your race entries going out of the community, way out.

We hope you will run local.  And invite you to come run with us at the Two Rivers Valentine’s Day 5K.