Monthly Archives: February 2019


It takes a career.  Please indulge me for just a moment.  I got my start as an Elite Athlete Coordinator with the Baytown Heatwave 5 Mile back in the 80s.  In 1995 hand written invitations to over 100 of America’s top runners, hoping they would join me at the Brazosport Run For The Arts 10 Mile.  Leading to 20 years with USATF advocating for America’s best.  Three sub 4 minute performances at the Omaha Mile in ’07 & ’08.  USATF Club National Champs at Burke in 2012.   Zach Hine’s OTQ 1:04:48 at the 2014 Twin Rivers YMCA Half Marathon.   In the meantime doing a little EAC work for the Lincoln Marathon bringing no fewer than 6 overall winners.

The passion has become more energized than ever now that I’m working for our own race.    There is no question that all serious runners aspire to pinnacles, my joy is bringing that opportunity.  Nothing beats the accomplishment on athlete’s faces when they achieve their goals.  The bigger their goals, the more celebration.

Valley 7 Lakes Marathon and Half.  Another refinement.  Honing my craft.




Nebraska High School Track season kicked off yesterday!  On a positive note Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen did a majority of her training on cross country skis.  If you were a runner in the 1980s you’ll remember she held the WR at 5000, 10,000, Half Marathon and Marathon.  All at the  same time!

Our late February freeze will impact Spring performances across the state.  I’m suggesting here and now that Coach McMahon and his Fremont boys will be ahead of the curve.  He had his mates out at our 2019 Winter Fitness Series for a reason.  Giddyup Tigers!  I’m also picking Coach Stenger’s Papillion La Vista South Titans as ones to watch, they racing at our series and Craig Christian’s No Frills runs.

The hard decision has been made to hold out one of the most talented runners in Nebraska.  After much discussion with mom and dad Sam Runde will opt for golf this spring.   His long term healing and development taking priority over all else.  To remind Sam finished 10th overall at the 2017 USATF Junior Olympics 3000 (9:31) as a 15 year old.  His time at Burke spent mostly in a boot.  He will be recovered and make some Big Noise next fall.

A final bit of advice to all high school thinclads.   Fully Automated Timing systems able to parse results down to the millisecond.  Run through the finish line.  Learn your craft and leave your watch at home.

This gal!  She got away with one this time, maybe not so lucky next.  As a coach I would insist she leave her watch in the stands  with mom and dad.


Thank you to everyone for joining us this morning as we wrapped up our 2019 Winter Fitness Series.  We had some great stories come out of the series this year and we couldn’t be prouder of all of you!  Big tip of the sombrero to Mike and the staff at Two Rivers State Recreation Area and to Douglas County for coming out and putting sand down on our course this morning.  Looking forward to the 2020 Series!  And to seeing you at our 13th annual Nebraska Trail Run on April 6th

And  don’t forget our Valley 7 Lakes Marathon set for April 27th!

Halley’s Comet 10K official results

  1.  Craig Halverson                39:18
  2. Derek Dreier                       39:55
  3. Carla Park                            47:13
  4. Carissa Stout                      48:05
  5. Rick Shever                         56:37
  6. Crysta Chalupa                   57:02
  7. Scott McGaha                     1:03:58
  8. Brandon Wingett               1:06:35
  9. Scott Wilson                        1:07:18
  10. Mark Goodman                  1:16:07
  11. Malinda Barthell                 1:19:47


In basketball it is the style that favors speed and pace over size and strength.   Valley 7 Lakes Marathon’s cap of 500 runners lets me draw parallels.  No designs on becoming a mega event.  Quality over quantity.  An event for dreamers, those that dare accept the challenge of “Running To Your Potential.”   Personal bests.  Boston qualifiers.  Olympic Trials qualifiers.

Our course, “Flattest Closed Road Marathon in the World.”  The Douglas County Sherriff’s Dept. closing down those roads.   In 2002 I sidled up to Ronn Baker, Ron Olsen, Stan Shirk, and Gary Julin, some of Nebraska’s most seasoned runners, at their weekly Panera roundtable.  I asked them to describe the “perfect” closed road marathon course in the Omaha Metro . Greeted with guffaws, “What you need is permits!”  “It can’t be done!”  They need have only lifted their eyes 10 minutes westward.  Work on this race has been in earnest for the last 14 months, but it has been 17 years in the making.

The buzz at last night’s Valley/Waterloo Business Association meeting palpable.  This community opening its arms, offering its small town charms.  No less so the West Omaha Chamber of Commerce.   And the Omaha Sports Commission.   Bolstering the confidence and energy of our race committee.

Just a little over 60 days until  the cannon fires.  We still haven’t printed a flyer, haven’t succumbed to the ubiquitous facebook ads.  What we do have is word of  mouth between serious marathoners and half marathoners across the Midwest and the United States.   Anticipating the opportunity to run a Real Road Race.

Look, this sport is for everyone and there is a race for everyone.  We are committed to our own niche, content with playing Small Ball Y’all.





Going to be a real interesting couple of weeks shortly.  Last Saturday of April, first Sunday in May.  Nebraska now has two spring marathons!  In a David v. Goliath role Valley 7 Lakes is looking to put the Good Life on the national 26.2 radar.  It will have to be done the hard (easy) way.  The race’s Elite Athlete Coordinator’s reports are encouraging.    Ten athletes from the Boulder Athletic Club, a couple from the KC Smoke, and a few more individuals from around the U.S.  Taking to the roads of Western Douglas County, pursuing  their dreams on what is being billed as the “Fastest Record Eligible Marathon Course in the United States.”  As of this morning, only one Nebraskan part of the elite field but Buddha knows I’m trying.

The prize money for V7LM will be doled out to reward excellence.  Guided by Lincoln marathon results from the last 10 years (below).  Betting  a lightning fast course begets speed.   V7LM is an American Only Prize Purse making it even sweeter.   Another manifestation of our “Throwback” approach, focusing exclusively on American Athletes.  Four of the last five years Lincoln won by a Kenyan male.  We’ll review these results at our technical meeting prior to the race and let the athletes know how important it is to us to have the fastest American marathon times in Nebraska and the Midwest for 2019.  Lofty aspirations from a first year event.  Those that know my decades of advocating for American athletes understand completely.

2009     Matt Dewald         2:25:37                       Ashley Tousley           2:50:06
2010     Matt Hoyt              2:38:32                       Ann Marie Chappell   2:45:28
2011    Cameron  Cummings  2:26:47               Ann Marie Chappell    2:45:12
2012    Mario  Macias        2:21:56                      Kaci Lickteig                 2:50:31
2013    Mario Macias         2:21:17                      Camille Herron            2:44:06
2014   Ed Tabut*                2:17:07                      Emily Shertzer             2:50:36
2015   Ed Tabut*                2:27:38                      Dana Herrick                2:43:22 (5th overall!)
2016   Eric Noel                 2:25:00                       Kaci Lickteig                 2:48:43
2017   David Tuwei*         2:25:21                       Kaci Lickteig                 2:45:32
2018  Geoffery Terer*     2:29:37                      Joan Massen                  2:48:22


Our Little Slice.  The Twin Rivers Homesteads.  Nestled between the Platte and Elkhorn, rugged individuals and families.  We all came out here for a reason, mainly to be away from the hustle and bustle of “The City.”   Myrtle Cook has lived here, in the same house, for her entire 97 years.  Think about that!  Carl Seieroe is 90 and has lived here since the 60s.

Linda and I have gotten to really know and appreciate our tight knit if somewhat closed community.  We tend to rally around each other when needed, no questions asked.  Putting any differences aside in favor of doing good for one another.  Josh Coates and Billy Hirschman, two of the very best neighbors one could hope for.  The two major snowfalls in the last week nothing at all for these high steppers.  Equipped with country sized blades on their bobcats, every driveway (long stretches for most of us) cleared before the coffee has a chance to get cold.  A wave and a nod, perhaps a piece of Linda’s German Chocolate cake, the home owner association fees.  Bill Wooford dropping off enough hewn Locust and Mulberry last night to stoke the woodburning stove the rest of the winter, just because.

We spend our limited idle hours looking at Trulia and Zillow, mountain views and pristine lakes and dreams of Hawaiian surf.  Places that we consider close to Heaven on Earth.  And then we realize what we have right here.  Pearls In The Snow.


Columbia South Carolina hosted our 2000 USA Olympic Trials Marathon, a sunny and warm day.  Christine Clark (2:33:31) and Rod DeHaven (2:15:30) took the laurels and were the only 2 American athletes representing the USA at the Sydney Olympic Games.

Almost 20 years ago, most of you not yet caring about such things, if I may assume you do today.  The United States could only produce one male and one female capable of the IAAF qualifying criteria.  The saddest marathoning day in a generation’s history of American athletics spurning the declaration of a running emergency.  The question of  the  day becoming, “How do we revive American Distance Running?”

The answer came from the most passionate advocates for our sport.  As the WLDR’s Association Athlete Development Coordinator and WLDR National Championships Chair I was honored to be included.  The  USATF Elite Development Club initiative the most visible of our solutions.

I’ll always be proud that Team Nebraska Brooks was in the first class of EDCs.  The athletes and their performances helping to reshape competitive distance running in the U.S. and especially here in the Good Life.  Excited for the future of our USATF clubs.  Happy USATF Nebraska has endured.  Ecstatic that America can hold its head high again.

The passion remains in this old market gardener on the outskirts of Waterloo.  Making American Marathoners Great Again.



Only experience can provide perspective.  Tasting develops an educated palate.  If you dine the same sup every eve, even with the tab picked up, you are missing out on variety and new and exciting experiences.   Same goes for your choice of  races.

The feedback for our new marathon goes like that.  The “First Timers”, those that will be joining us for our  inaugural  Valley 7 Lakes Marathon, have indicated they are ready for something new and different.  At the top of their list is the almost complete lack of elevation, the “World’s Flattest Closed Road Marathon.”  Close next is the fact that they will not be directed to run on a sidewalk.  Family and  spectator friendly.  Small town charm.  These are the main differences between V7LM and every other marathon in Nebraska.  But is that enough of  a difference?  The promise of personal bests and running to potential?

We think it is.    Join us April 27th and find out, “What’s The  Difference?”



The most universal question for mankind.  What is love?  Happiness.   Salvation.  Gentle Touch.  Kind Word.  Eye Contact.   Promise.  Hope.  Shared.  Faith.  Patience.  Yearning.  Truth.  Dynamic.  Sacrifice.   Love is everything.

Count yourself fortunate if you have love.  Or if you have loved.

Love changes.  It softens the hardest visage.  It ameliorates harsh words.  It can be hard fought.  It can happen in a moment.  It can take a lifetime.   It has mysterious paths.  It has many manifestations.

Love yourself.  Love your work.  Love your family.  Love your friends.  Love your pet.   Love your partner most of all.  Most of all.

Believe that your love story is for the ages.  Singular and amazing and the very essence of life.

That is how I feel about Linda.  We didn’t particularly get along when we first met.  Coach and athlete.  As the miles and hours and days and months and years progressed we found a mutual respect and appreciation and ultimately much more.   I can’t explain how or why I ended up blessed with Linda.  I do have the answer to man’s deepest question though, “What Is Love?”





There is a kids in the candy store vibe surrounding the Valley 7 Lakes Marathon.   The chance to do something the way we think it should be done.  So much energy and brightness and free flowing ideas.  Coupled with a “How do we make this work” approach that now has the entire community on board.  That behind us allowing more focus on  “What do we do to make this one of America’s top marathons?”  I see you snickering behind your monitor.

Our reputation as a “Throwback Marathon” is off on the good foot.  The Flattest and the potential to be one of the fastest in the United States.  Small, limited field of 500.   5 hour cut off.   Valley, Waterloo, Douglas County, the Omaha Sports Commission and many of our local businesses and neighbors all buying into the vision of the race.

I ran my marathon pr with a specific plan of keeping each 5K split just under 20:00.  The eight splits ranged from 19:52-19:57.   We are going to offer you the same opportunity with 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K, 30K, 35K, & 40K flags.  In addition to mile markers.

Closing in on the 300 mark for registrations, a couple trickle in daily, just about right.  Getting faster on paper every day.  Excited to help these people going after their personal  bests,  Boston and Olympic Trials Qualifiers.  I’m betting they’ll want to know their 5K Splits.