THE FELLAS

Every year there are one or two columns that stand out for me personally.  Today is one.

The Fellas.  Grant and Jay and Kevin and Drew.  Those guys.  Our guys.  My guys.  Most of you have already seen the Living History Farms results.  Thank you for bearing  with my Monday morning reverie.

Trumpets blaring our intent to be In It To Win It.  Some of you thought I was full of it.  Nope, full of confidence.

The closest race in event history decided by only 9 seconds.  Iowa RunAblaze taking the measure of Nebraska  Run Guru Elite.  The most competitive race in event history.  Mason Frank, tips to you, don’t know how the heck you beat Grant to the line.   Grant 2nd overall, Jay 3rd, Kevin 13th, and Drew Prescott 20th.   And to Cal Murdock, my colleague and partner in crime, for everything he does for RunAblaze.

2015 Living History Farms.  5.25 Miles, 20, light wind, snowpack
OPEN MALE
1. Iowa RunAblaze (1:30:36, 13 places) Mason Frank (26)-28:57, Charlie Paul (26)-30:29, Ben Jaskowiak (26)-31:10
2. Nebraska Run Guru Elite (1:30:45, 15 places) Grant Wintheiser (22)-29:04, Jay Welp (23)-30:21, Kevin Joerger (22)-31:20, Drew Prescott (23)-32:04.
3. Winneshiek TC (1:36:08, 51 places)
4. LRC Racing (1:37:53, 72 places) Brian Wandzilak (35)-31:18, Thomas Woods (44)-32:41, Jason Schmaderer (42)-33:54
5. LRC Racing (1:38:13, 75 places) Ryan Regnier (39)-32:28, Andrew Jacob (29)-32:44, Jason Zakaras (33)-33:01

MASTERS MALE
1. LRC Masters (1:42:11, 125 places) Ivan Ivanov (45)- 31:23, Brian Kelley (56)-34:18, Darin Schlake (46)-36:30, Brett Daugherty (52)-36:31, Craig Christians (54)-36:53

CO-ED
1. Uptown Racers (2:28:51, 42 places)–Minneapolis
2. KC Co-Ed (2:37:27, 71 places)- Kansas City
3. LRC Racing (2:40:23, 75 places)  Cory Logsdon (27)-30:56, Mark Wittland (45)-35:35, Maureen Larsen (43)-39:51, Leigh Officer (47)-53:50

Takeaways.
1)   I added ages to every competitor for a reason.  The four youngest men in the elite field, yep, ours.  And now, after the closest race in history, more solid as a team for it.  Hungry.  Points to prove.  Chips on shoulders.  Polite, respectful chips.  Notice served, we are the best USATF Club in Nebraska, politely.
2) This was Kevin Joerger’s first time ever to see snow.  Didn’t even own a coat 3 weeks ago.  Think about that.  He was released to regular training the same day.  Drew Prescott returned to training on the same day.  Thanks to Stodden Physical Therapy for getting our mates to the line.
3) Brian Wandzilak is an ageless stud and I’m glad to see him have such a great race.

And this.  I reached out to Logan Watley after seeing the LRC Co-Ed 3rd place team.  One athlete only from LRC, a couple with no affiliation, and one from Team Nebraska.  Not a championship race granted.  Team Nebraska’s Cory Logsdon, (the first Nebraska finisher not wearing our kit) represented LRC Racing.  Cory is still, I hope, an old buddy.  But!  To combine athletes from clubs, and/or add non members, flies directly in the face of bona fide, honest, team competition.

How strongly do I/have I felt about this?  It was and is the ONLY RULE I’ve ever had.  Your run for me, you NEVER, EVER, run for another club.  Period.  One of the saddest chapters of my time in Nebraska illustrates this perfectly and shares a similar genesis.  I had been coaching and working with an incredibly talented young lady, improved her marathon personal best by 17 minutes and had hopes for her qualifying for the US Olympic Trials Marathon.  She had been approached and convinced that it was OK to run Market to Market for another club.  I had a long talk with Kaci Lickteig and explained to her why she would have to choose between racing for her club or with her “friends”.  She left the club and qualified for the Trials less than 60 days later.

Principles.  Some times a tough pill to swallow.  But you know what my position is.  And know too that now there is a group that embraces it.

The Fellas.

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Grant led the Good Mates.

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Jay was next across the line.  Our debut.  Bar None Big Dogs out from under the porch.  Giddyup!