Official word from the Douglas County Engineers on Monday. The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon has been cancelled due to extensive damage to our course, in particular the 264th & Dodge intersection and the entirety of 252nd St. between Dodge and Blondo.
As Executive Director the buck stops with me. It weighs heartbreakingly heavy. Sixteen months of hard work by our race committee. Race Director Tristan Nelson attending the USATF annual meetings. Monday night meetings for the last 3 months. Countless engagements with the principles. Scouring for sponsorships. Inspiring a new generation of race administrators. Selling the vision of a World Class race with Small Town Charm. Spreading the word to our American athletes that we have designed the fastest, flattest, IAAF record eligible marathon course in the United States. Maybe the world. All the hope and energy and promise now put on hold for a year.
This will give Valley and Waterloo a year to heal. We were hit just too hard to recover in 5 weeks. So many displaced families, washed out infrastructure, stressed services. Most of our race committee living right here in Western Douglas County, a blow to us all. Linda and I still without running water or heat, counting ourselves fortunate in comparison to those less so.
If we are to find a silver lining it is the race has now become a rallying point. I had hoped the race would go on as demonstration of the strength of our communities. But now the event’s mission of highlighting our area becoming even more important moving forward. Showing that we can and will overcome.
Saturday April 25th, 2020. Thank you for marking your calendar. We invite you to come run with us.
This one mile stretch of 252nd was paved two weeks ago. It will be a construction zone in 5 weeks.
Two trash cans large and full
Wealth of knowledge, and some bull
Bannister, Ovett, Lydiard, Coe
Rono, Lindgren, Halberg, oh no!
Walker, Dixon, Cerutty too
A century’s wisdom brought to you
Shorter, Rodgers, Prefontaine
I’ll never read these books again
Sheehan, Parker, even Derek Fye
A life’s collection, now said goodbye
Dr. Seuss was also in that lot
His poetry provoking, lyrical and hot
We sat in our window and watched it pitch
From the curbside to a landfill ditch
I’ll try and keep their words alive
In this column they’ll still survive
Real heroes of our sport, our lore
I’ll not crack your covers any more
But the lessons, inspirations all
Your achievements shall never fall
We remain without running water or heat, now 12 days. Ground water still percolating up through the floor. If you would like to help us replace our electric panel, washer and dryer, HVAC, water heater, refrigerator, freezer, and offset the loss of our market garden efforts your contributions would be most appreciated.
The first thing most people are saying around here is “There are those a lot worse off than me.” There are. The way this community has rallied together is good for the heart and soul. The incredible power of the rivers surpassed by the strength of a simple hug.
Hydrostatic pressure. If you empty your basement too quickly ground water surrounding the deep foundation of a house can collapse walls, buckle floors. Its all about equilibrium. I’ve been cautiously pumping mine with a generator, dropping it to levels making retrieval of important items possible. Hopefully getting the electric panel checked today, been a week without power. This is my first time in a week on the internet. The main floor a criss cross of extension cords, the constant drone of the generator now mere background noise.
No electric to the well so we’re shittin in a bucket. No heat, we can see our breath in the house. No newspaper, mail, or trash services for the last 8 days. Eating meals at the local churches. Humbly accepting supplies and support. Showering at the Twin Rivers YMCA, my first in a week yesterday.
We are the lucky ones. We still have each other and our house.
My dear sweet Linda is fine. Jed and Desi and King and Natalie and all those cluckers in the barn as well. Counting ourselves fortunate to have them.
Our 2019 market garden business a casualty we have yet to even address. My spring crops should have been in the field 3 weeks ago. I should be starting summer crops right now. It could be worse.
I’ll try and get back online over the weekend and give some critical updates about the Valley 7 Lakes Marathon. We are in constant contact with Douglas County and hope to have a decision on the road repairs within the next few days.
In the meantime, give someone a hug. It might be all the strength that they need. #ValleyStrong
Our marathon course has been partially devastated. We will give updates as soon as they come available.
One of the most rewarding aspects of putting on V7LM is the outreach opportunities. Meeting with individuals, businesses, government entities. Selling the vision to our community. Building the excitement level within the local citizenry. Happy to present our podium level sponsors:
The Gallery & Loft
Bayer Crop Sciences
Omaha Sports Commission
Hoich Enterprises Inc.
Gretna Family Health
Thank you again to our sponsors, our communities, our volunteers, and most importantly our runners. Looking forward to hosting you all to our World Class Race with Small Town Charm!
This blog is based on almost 40 years in the sport. Like you it all started with a single step. We all choose the path we want to take and this column reflects my own personal journey.
A lot has happened in four decades. So many changes I could never have anticipated. Running remains the simple process of putting one foot in front of the other, beyond that it is a whole other world.
In the 70s and into the 80s running was exclusive to Competition. We busted ours so we could kick yours. That was that. We lined up frequently, hell bent on notching our belts. Think on that for a moment, everyone in the race trying to beat every other runner. We Raced Races. The winners given a simple ribbon, the only thing that mattered.
Until the next race, everyone else, Running For Nothing.
Photo credit, Shawn Love
The longer you set on the fence the tougher the decision becomes. The fact that you even have a choice is a good thing. Most runners have already selected their spring marathon. I’m still hearing from those that have not yet pulled the trigger though. What’s it going to be?
We knew going a week before Lincoln would be drawing a very deep line in the scheduling sand. I’ve used the Platte River as demarcation before, I’ll frame the other side with the Elkhorn River. Not Lincoln, not Omaha. Something completely different. Appropriate that Valley 7 Lakes Marathon is in the middle of the two deepest metaphors in Eastern Nebraska.
So reminiscent of when I first moved to Nebraska. Seeing what Nebraska’s two major cities offered the running community. And what they didn’t. A little history lesson leading to today.
The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon now no less an effort to elevate Nebraska’s esteem regionally and nationally. By offering the state’s only legitimate closed road marathon. There is a reason that top tier American athletes have not peppered the winner board in Lincoln. And why all of Omaha’s marathons are won with pedestrian times. As much as you may tire of me complaining about road races run on sidewalks, the rest of the marathoning U.S. understands the distinction loud and clear.
Look, USATF encountered major resistance when founded 18 years ago. Team Nebraska even more of a battle, upsetting the balance of power until ultimately wrested to its demise. Beyond me. Nothing worth doing is easy though.
So we’ve started a new marathon. A new tradition. New visions of excellence. Firm grip on the helm this time, lessons learned over the last near 20 years guiding the effort. Offering a product meeting personal standards cultivated over the last 40 years. Not beholding to Lincoln. Not beholding to Omaha. The dream of raising Nebraska’s respectability on the United States Marathoning map. By being the best.
So what will you do? Are you ready to get off the pot?
Potential Realized. Personal Excellence. Competition.
I’ve sung the praises of mi amigo Ino Cantu over the last few years. El Viejo Mas Rapido de todos! The Fastest Old Guy of All. En el mundo. In the World. My old buddy from San Marcos, Texas has done it again!
Inocencio Cantu at this past weekend’s USATF Master’s National Indoor Championships. Ino is 85 years old and faster than us. He set an American Record at 800 meters 3:38.62. That’s fast! What really excited me though was his utter demolishing of the World Record in the mile for the 85-89 age group. Ino knocked a mind boggling :45 off the previous mark running an amazing and blazing 7:46.94. Ino old buddy, watching you race, it Never Gets Old.
Don’t you hold yourself just a little higher, pull in those abs just a bit, correct that arm carriage and perfect your stride when approaching another runner? The other runner undoubtedly mocking peacock moves. Passing friendly faces, smiles and waves. Once eclipsed, each runner relaxes back into their accustomed stride, just a little easier and more comfortable.
Is it still this way?
May seem an odd question for a Monday morning but its not really. The answer might very well be the absolute origin of competitiveness.
Competition must start with yourself. The Best Competition is against others. And once those days are past, back to competing with yourself.
Its just a little test. Take it on your next run. Are you competitive?
The biggest of tips to all y’all! Where would any of us be without you?
My first Women’s Long Distance Running Executive Committee meeting at Freihofer’s Run For Women 5K. Our USA 1996 National Championships in Albany, NY. Traveling with WLDR Chair Carol McLatchie. The Red Carpet rolled out at the Albany International Airport.
I sat at the table. Kept my mouth uncharacteristically closed. Somewhat star struck by those on either side and across from me. Carol McClatchie (32:41, 2:35:09, 2018 National Cross country Coach of the Year- Summit OR). Nina Kuscik, Boston Marathon’s First Woman’s Champ (3:10:26, 1972) and NYC Marathon’s too (3:08:41 in 1972, 2:57:07 in 1973). Joy Smith, Women’s National Champs Chair, multiple US International teams as athlete and coach. Kathy Nary- Chair, International Women’s Competitions, Marja Baker, Boston Marathon Exec. The Executive Committee would change over the years with Elizabeth Phillips (CEMNY, event management NYC) and Virginia Brophy-Achman (Race Director, Twin Cities Marathon) taking their turns at the helm. LeeAnn Meyer, Micky Piscatelli, Colleen DeReuck (multiple time Olympian), Deena Kastor (!), Camille Herron (Ultra Runner extraordinaire) , and Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrcik (current WLDR Chair) having input guiding America’s best female athletes. And my dear, sweet Linda having a seat at that table from 2008-2018, so happy that she got that experience.
I thank all of these Strong Women that influenced me over the last 20 years. I’ve learned from all of you.
Always dig the feedback from readers. From one of my most frequent contributors-
“The mind is the athlete? Spoken only by socialites. Your stomach tells you when you’re hungry. Your body tells you when to run. The mind will tell you all sorts of things especially to run when you shouldn’t. Eat what you want, drink what you want, exercise till you feel satisfied, get plenty of good sleep. Society makes a mockery out of the mind.”
Agree with the above. I’m old enough to remember when our sport was only that way. When running was a solitary pursuit. When it was understood that we were different. And that we wanted to be different. We strode out in darkness and rain with no desire to be seen. When the only ones running a marathon were those that were damn serious. When “friendship” was not a part of the competitive lexicon.
We all have our reasons for running. Mr. Hoodie ran countless laps around Lake Zorinsky, full sweats no matter the season, utterly mute, silky pace shod in black loafers. I used to think he could be a champion, he had his own demons though. I’ll never know what was rolling around inside his bean.
It would be interesting to know the truth. What’s in your head?