Father of Long Distance Running.  New Zealand in the 40s and 50s and 60s.  Arthur Lydiard.  I met Arthur in Galveston, he sketched out a training plan on a scrap of paper.  One treasure  I wish still resided in my collection.  He changed the way people train and race.

Arthur was a national class runner in his own right, results of his high mileage paradigm.  Used the same methods on the lads from his working class neighborhood.  Created champions and Olympians and Men.  But also entertained anyone that sought his coaching.  His home considered a haven for aspiring talent.

Peter Snell, Barry Magee, Bill Baillie and Jeff Julian at Lydiard’s table.   This book was the inspiration and genesis of Team Nebraska.  Having the best athletes gather for training, meals, and competition.  Developing camaraderie and goals and plans.  I’m still doing the same thing with Run Guru Elite.

Every serious distance runner in Nebraska and America should know the origin of long distance running.  The formula of high mileage followed by hills followed by sharpening followed by racing still the framework  of success.

I want to thank Jordan Tucker.  I thought this, favorite among hundreds in my collection, was lost for the last decade.  Jordan recently unpacked a box and found it.  And mailed back.  He was one of my original boys.

Willie’s Boys.


The 2011 Fremont Turkey Trot.  I insisted on our athletes racing as a group.  And dominating.  How Team Nebraska was built.  Same modus operandi with Run Guru Elite!

Pictured:  Front row L-R:  Cory Logsdon, moi, Linda Kunasek, Matt Schneider
Second  row- Megan Schneider, Shane Kephart, David Adams, Carole Swanson, Lee Anderson, Justin Mollak, Jeff Nielsen
Third row- Kelly Crawford, Peter van der Westhuizen, Andrew Jacob.

These athletes are special to me.  All of them.  Willing to heed the clarion.  Shaping the competitive landscape that all our USATF clubs now enjoy.  Cory and Justin and Andrew still racing and well.  Kelly Crawford doing yeoman’s  work riding herd for the last 5 years now.

David and Peter.  Two sub 4 minute milers.  On the same club at the same time.  That they ran for me and the vision will always hold a very special place in my heart.


Thanksgiving.  I was born on the holiday in 1957.  Annual childhood pilgrimage from Atwood, Il to Grandma Katie’s one bedroom house in Indiahoma, Oklahoma.  One block off of Quanah Parker Hwy.  More Native Americans there than anywhere in the U.S.  Sad chapter in our history.

But this  is Andrew Hartley Payne’s story.  A young Cherokee from Claremore, OK.  And his amazing run in 1928.

C.C. “Cash & Carry” Pyle was a promoter and showman in the mold of another of my heroes, Phineas Taylor Barnum.  His ” 1928 Great Transcontinental Footrace” attracted the best ultra runners in the world.  Niels Nielsen, Nestor Erickson, Ginsto Umek, Theodocio Rivera, Walter Grafsky, John Gobers, Kurt Peters, and the World’s 100 Mile Champion Arthur Newton.  Celebrities, record holders and champions in their home countries.  And the best runners of the time from the United States.  Seth Gonzalez of Denver ran to Los Angeles for the start.  Bill Bush had just walked across the U.S. in 65 days.  The American favorite though a young Hopi Indian named Nicholas Quomawahu.  And more  than a handful of wanderers and seekers and desperados filling the field capped at 250.

The start gun cracked at the Ascott Speedway in L.A. on March 4, 1928.  Following the historic Route 66 for the most part, in stages.  Five hundred seventy three hours, 4 minutes, and 34 seconds of running put Andy Payne first at Madison Square Garden.  The exploits of this race, the grandiose vision of C.C. Pyle, the sacrifice and suffering and showmanship making this one of the  most unique chapters in U.S. running history.  Andy Payne winning it makes it one of the most inspirational.


Those Mom & Pops that are the backbone of every small town in the United States.   People working at what they love, making ends meet and things work.  Sometimes against all odds.  Linda and I will be setting up Bar None Produce stand at ROAST in Ak-Sar-Ben Village this Saturday from 10-2, hope you will come see us.  Owners Martha and Dave, successful coffee entrepreneurs, from Bend OR, came to Omaha over a decade ago with a dream.

Shop Local.  You might find it cheaper online.  Better to support your neighbors instead of continually lining Amazon’s pockets.  Shop Small.  Find a hand crafted item that inspires you.  From a local artisan.  Buy it.  Some of  my dearest treasurers are hand turned, one of a kind.  The pride of workmanship and  passion resounding  as clear today as when first moved.

I’ve got registration set up on for our 2018 Winter Fitness Series.    Mom & Pop road race management, just Linda and I.   Small and local and full of potential and charm.

2018 USATF members will receive $10 off the $35 registration fee for the Valentine’s Day 5K.

We  encourage your membership  in USATF by also offering $10 off the $25 entry fee for the Halley’s Comet 10K.  The potential for personal bests and state records on this pancake flat, 1.5 mile asphalt, closed course loop.

So skip the lines and the whole Black Friday mess.  Shop small, shop local!





Gerry Lindgren.   World Record in 1965, as a high schooler.  27:11 for 6 miles.  His  13:44 5K as a high schooler would last 40 years until Galen Rupp finally bested in 2004.  1964 Olympic Team.  And a Lindgren.

Will:  Why is Island Living so easy?

Gerry:  Island living is nice because the best of weather is here year round. I can count on great running weather. People are friendly too. I can count on friendly people.

Will:  Name one living person you would like to have a run with

Gerry:  a living person I would like to have a run with is Billy Mills. We could recall great times and console each other on what our bodies will no longer allow

Will:  Whom was your favorite competitor?

Gerry:  My favorite competitor was Ron Clarke of Australia. He raced! There was never any doubt you would be in a super race if he was running.

Will:  Do you have any idea as to what your lifetime miles are?

Gerry:  My lifetime mileage I do not know. I couldn’t even venture a guess…

Will:  Race most proud of?

Gerry:  My proudest race was a 10k race in Germany (Germany vrs. America) that I lost to Tom Laris.

Will:  Race you wish you could have a do-over

Gerry:  The race I wish I could run over is the Northern Division Championship in ’66. I was on world record pace and I let up and missed the record.

Will:  Poke or coconut shrimp?

Gerry:  Coconut shrimp!!!!!!!

Will:  USATF or RRCA?

Gerry:  RRCA. There was not so much road racing in my day. A big road race would include 10-25 runners.

Will:  Favorite running shoe?

Gerry:  Puma had a flat that was so soft and seemed to fit my foot, but I cant recall the name.

Will:  Message to Nebraska distance running community?

Gerry:  NEBRASKA RUNNERS. Be the hammer, not the nail. Get beaten but MAKE it happen, don’t LET it happen.



Gerry and I first met in Portland, 2004 while he was being inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame.

Gerry and Pre battling it out at the NCAA XC Champs.

Whether on dirt or the track, Gerry was the only person able to run with and even out run Steve Prefontaine.






Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on thru life

I ask but a field that is fair,

A chance that is equal with all in the strife

A courage to strive and to dare

And if I should win, let it be by the code

With my faith and my honor held high

And if I should lose, let me stand by the  road

And cheer as the winners go by.

Author Unknown


There are enough hands to go around.  Yourselves and them covered the last two days.  Today I’m looking for a hand for us.  Who is  us?  Run Guru Elite, Inc.  501 (c)(3) not for profit set up to advocate for athletes serious about continuing their development with an eye towards local, regional, and national competitiveness.  Tax ID #47-4966239  All donations are tax deductible.

But who is Run Guru Elite, Inc?

Grant Wintheiser.  23 years old.  Former DIII XC National Champion.  Fastest runner to represent any Nebraska club since Mike Morgan 15 years ago.  His 1:06:15 at 2017 Garry Bjorklund Half erasing any doubt.  Grant’s 50:51 at the 2017 State Farm 10 Mile in Lincoln the fastest in 20 years.  He’s a medical student studying as hard as he races.  A once in a generation talent.   He deserves a hand.

Jay Welp.  25 years old.  Former GPAC XC Champion.   Outkicked LRC Racing (Johnny Rutford) and Team Nebraska’s (Colin Morrissey) very best at the State Farm 5K, surprising everyone but me.  Racing often over the next 5 months with an unblemished record.  High school teacher that works as hard as he races.  He deserves a hand.

Nicole Norris.  Nothing but personal bests this year.  An 8 minute improvement (1:25) on her half marathon personal best.  Marathon debut of 3:13 at 2017 Grandma’s on her 36th birthday.  Mother of two delightful children.  A stay at home mom that works as hard raising her family as she races.  She deserves a hand.

Elizabeth Starbuck.  22 years old.  The fastest female to run for me since Gina Morgan 10 years ago.  Goals of sub 17 for the 5K.  She trains as hard as she races.  She deserves a hand.

Abby  Schlater.  26 years old.  Two time Iowa state champ.  Pure miler.  Looking towards  the 2018 indoor season.  She deserves a hand.

Mark Abrams.  25 years old.  Former GPAC 10000 Champ.  The only fella I’ve met that has promised to beat Jay.  Great fit for that alone!  He dreams as hard as he trains and races.  He deserves a hand.

Jeremy Morris.  The baddest trail runner from Nebraska.  And by bad I mean the best.  More miles and races than anyone else I know.  He deserves a hand.

Angee Henry.  One of the most decorated female track and field athletes in Nebraska history.  She deserves a hand.

Jackie Freeman.  Mother of two, full time job.  Half and full personal bests this year.  She deserves a hand.

Amber Sargent.  Full time job.  Sub 3 hour marathoner.  She deserves a hand.

Sean Skillern.  Nick Knowles.  Tristan Nelson.  Ashley Schurman.  Stacy Mangers Shaw.  David Frost.  Kray Zeller.  Michel Davy.  Craig Halverson.  All solid.  All working their butts off.  They deserve a hand.

I’m asking for a hand for these athletes.  They need uniforms.  They need entry fees reimbursed.  They need travel and hotel assistance.  They need continued opportunities.

Donations should be made out to Run Guru Elite, Inc.  and mailed to 304 South 259th St., Waterloo, Nebraska 68069.

I’m asking you.


Give us a hand.





Following up on yesterday’s comments regarding the 71% increase in boys high school xc participation from 2001-2017.  Today I further  on how it coincides with the development of our Nebraska Association USATF Long Distance Running Program generally.  And Team Nebraska’s role specifically.   The Team Nebraska.  As originally scripted.  With all due respect to the current incarnation.

I sometimes belabor the point that there were no opportunities for post collegiate athletes prior to 2001.  Because of its relevancy.  It is why I celebrate the first athletes that represented The Good Life in toto.  Those that carried the USATF banner into battles.  Competitions against the best clubs in the United States.  Against the best athletes.  A team that verily and truly represented the entire state of Nebraska.  A paradigm that came and went.  The Platte rending what was once great.

Here is whom you can applaud for today’s robust participation.  The first members of Team Nebraska.  That coach.  That have brought our sport to new levels.  Allowing  me a seat at this computer with warm fuzzies, confident in my program.  USATF.  It  has changed yes.  It will continue to change yes.  What won’t change is the genesis.  The contributions of these fine young men.

Paul Wilson
Shannon Stenger
Dustin Llewellyn
Brian Wandzilak
Ryan Salem
James McGown
Craig Christians
Derek Fey

Give Them A Hand.

Coach Stenger standing proud with his 2017 Class A XC State Champion Titans.  Not for the last time my old friend, GIDDYUP!
photo courtesy of Aimee Guzman-Jones



Its all about you.  And you.  And you.  And you over there.  And you over here.  And all y’all over yonder.

Today I claim no lineage, no heritage, no credit, no authorship, no architectural provenance, no leadership, no nothing.

This column is for all runners in Nebraska except me.

No one has contributed more to distance running in Nebraska than you have.

Participation in boys high school cross country was flagging when I moved to Nebraska in 2001.

Since 2002 Nebraska boys cross participation has risen 71%.

Give yourself a hand.



A couple of good runs this past week left me with my highest mileage in perhaps a couple years.   I’m thankful for whatever I can get.  Can I possibly still mete out enough suffering to meet my minimum daily requirement?  Yes, so I’ve got that going for me.

Grant Wintheiser jumped in for a little test run at Beer & Bagel off road race.  Four miles in 22:49 for the win by over a minute.  Good to see our mate on the mend.  Nolan Border (25:03-LRC Racing) and Matt Seiler (25:50-Team Nebraska) rounding out the mattered places for the fellas.  Insert Nebraska USATF Athlete of the Year hashtags here.  Catherine Coletta (30:37), Christy Nielsen (30:58) were the first two women, Christine Houser and Amanda Lingg both credited with 31:18 for 3rd & 4th.

Camille Herron of War Acres, OK set the WR for 100 miles (12:42:41) this weekend at the TunnelHill 100.  First overall period, besting the semi professional field.  Insert friendship hashtags here.

Bo Pelini was a reviled winner.  66-27 over 7 years.  But not a good fit.  Insert spittle hashtags here.

Mike Reilly is a loveable loser.  Such a nice guy.   Insert sweet fella hashtags here.  Insert worst season in 60 years hashtags here.  Insert be careful what you wish for hashtags here.

“I will not run, nor will I accept my parties nomination.”  Decided against my run for ORC President.  Received  counsel from long time members of my community.   Became apparent that only a very small number cares about elite level running in Omaha.    Insert that’s why they don’t cross the Platte hashtags here.

Only the California International Marathon left for serious 2017 marathoners.  This year will serve as the USATF National Championships.  When I served as WLDR National Championships Chair that event, along with St. George’s Marathon were ineligible courses due to net elevation drop.  You could not run an Olympic Trials qualifier on either.  Insert strange times indeed hashtag here.