DEMOCRACY

This column is cemented in Free Speech.  My athletes have lost a lot for that cherished freedom.  They understand and respect that.  Those independent minded runners called to my message.  My message.  What do you make of that?  Some of the most talented runners in the Midwest understanding that their financial support was pulled because of this column.   And still they come.  Blue Collars.  They vote with their shoes.

Working on a little project.  Alumni.  Where did you matriculate?  Whom do you run for?  Why?  Three easy questions.

 

 

LA OTRA VOZ

The other voice.  It is mostly Linda and she is usually calling me to task, holding my feet to the fire, pincers on my tongue, Editor-In-Chief.   “No, no, no!”  You can’t write that you’ll piss (insert here) off!  I listen to her a lot.  I change some of my more pointed word constructs.  Some I don’t.

She doesn’t want me railing and honestly I’d rather be all rosy too.  But I’m the one that can’t sit idly by.  The one that has the strongest opinions, has the most invested.  Tengo huevos mas grande de todos!

Yesterday I presented a survey of Midwest marathons.  Provided hard data illustrating the significant difference in participation between the events, especially vis-à-vis Omaha.   But it goes much deeper than lack of support for elite level runners.

That ‘ol devil, facebook.  Revealing.  Chris McBratney of Fremont posed a civil question to the ORC leadership regarding the lack of pacers, which were advertised,  for the 3:30 and 3:45 group.  Told by the RD that “we have to work with what we are given.”  Another indicated he should “STFU”.   None apologized for the inferior product.

When you think you’ve got a running community by the balls its easy to speak like that.

Its a culture folks.

FALL MARATHON NUMBERS

Midwest fall marathons by the numbers. The 2 biggies, Twin Cities Marathon this coming Sunday and Chicago Marathon Oct. 8th.  The others, all regionally local and hosted by similar size cities.  Numbers range from the burgeoning to the anemic.  How do these Midwest cities manage to host higher participation?  How do these cities create and manage Signature Events that become part of the fabric and attract runners?  First and foremost it is strong leadership within their running communities.  People in positions of power that are able to interact and influence civic leadership, those in their communities that make Real decisions.  Usually starts with the Governor and or Mayor.   What is their vision for their community?  Most of these leaders are dynamic and open to new ideas.    To grow their events.  To showcase and highlight their cities.  What do they do that we don’t?   For starters they are more inclusive.  Supporting USATF as  well as RRCA.  Understanding the importance of including the Front of the pack as well as the middle and rear.   Has to be both, has to be all.

Ask yourself.  Why is the Omaha marathon market so fractured to begin with.  You know my answer.

Moline Illinois, population 42,250- Quad Cities total 383,681 (September 24, 2017)
Quad Cities Marathon.  399 finishers.  163 females, 236 males.  Avg time 4:53:45
Half Marathon.  1770 finishers.  1076 females, 694 males.  Avg time 2:28:22
5K.  1097 finishers.  705 females, 392 males.  Avg time  40:09

Des Moines Iowa, population 215, 472 (Des Moines Marathon, October 15, 2017)
2016 Des Moines Marathon.  1373 finishers.  566 females.  807 males.  Avg time 4:10:13
Half Marathon.  4360 finishers.  2727 females, 1633 males.  Avg time 2:21:22
5 Mile.  530 finishers.  335 females, 195 males.  Avg time 53:01
5K.  829 finishers.  514 females, 315 males.  Avg time 35:52

Kansas City Missouri, population 481,420 (October 21, 2017)
2016 Kansas City Waddell & Reed Marathon.  1249 finishers, 477 females, 772 males.  Avg time 4:37:56
Half Marathon.  4170 finishers.  2429 females, 1741 males.  Avg time 2:42:42
5K.  937 finishers.  554 females, 383 males.  Avg time 35:48

Omaha Nebraska, population 446,970
2017 HITS Omaha Marathon, September 17
Full- 275 finishers
Half Marathon.  704 finishers
10K.  121 finishers
5K.  236 finishers

2017 Heartland Marathon, September 24
98 finishers.  35 females, 63 males.  Avg time 4:48:20
Half Marathon.  262 finishers.  146 females.  116 males.  Avg time 2:20:52
10K.  103 finishers. 59 females, 44 males.  Avg time  1:07:18

Nebraska Marathon, (October 15, 2017)
2016 Full.  113 finishers.
Half Marathon.  570
5K.  179

NO DICE

I’m not much of a gambler preferring the sure thing when I can figure it.

In 2008 I was the USA Team Leader for the World Championships Half Marathon in Rio De Janeiro.  That same weekend was the inaugural Market to Market Relay.  In a free and curious moment I checked on the results half a world away.  Immediately pissed to see that several of my Team Nebraska runners had been poached for another team.  Last year’s edition also found  one of my top NRGE athletes “persuaded” to represent LRC Racing.  Every year in between a shit sandwich.

When I did enter teams it was In It To Win It.  And we did.

Until another chapter that will forever color my opinion of  the event.

No, not in 2009 when I had to release the top ultra runner in Nebraska history of their kit for being, again, “persuaded” to run under different kit,   See a pattern here?  So many persuasions!!!

In 2012 LRC Racing was just getting their wings.  As it should have been, as I’d hoped, they entered a top tier team with the intention of putting the brash Red & White in their proper place (East of the Platte).  Tired of my trumpeting and “voiceterousness”, bored of my team being so far ahead of the field, the decision was made to unseat.

If it was close early LRC Racing began to separate.  Stretching their lead to nearly two minutes at the final official exchange area.  My boy Matt Pohren never gives in though.  He steadily ate away at the lead and caught the LRC runner at the base of the pedestrian bridge.  What happened next changed me.  Put me on a hot seat.  Made me the most unpopular athlete/administrator in Nebraska.

The LRC runner passed his baton to a fresh athlete as soon as he was caught.  Who in turn caught and passed Matt,  My whole team up in arms and as upset as myself.  After meeting with the fellas, getting their description of what happened, we protested immediately.

Very diplomatic.  The Rule Book was brought out and studied.  Final determination.  “There’s nothing in the rule book saying it was not allowed.”  LRC Racing claiming the title 7:25.22 to 7:25.23.

Now five years later, I ask you  readers to consider those circumstances.  How would you have reacted?  Would you have let it pass?  Would you have considered it fair?  Would you have stood up for your mates?  I did.  And I lost.  I still feel my fellas were cheated out of victory that morning.  That opinion won’t go over well but look at the facts folks.  Being unbeholding,
unencumbered & unsponsored  allows me to speak freely.  But it is up to you to weigh in with your own pondering of what is right and just.  How  would you have felt if that baton pass had happened to your team?

This year NRGE, Inc has a coed team entered and anxious.   But.  Jackie was injured at M2M Ohio.  Nick with a sore hip flexor.  Ashley two swollen knees.  Nicole much more important fish to fry (Race For The Cure, Des Moines Half).   Made one  of the hardest and easiest decisions I’ve had to.  Told the mates at yesterday’s team run that I was pulling them from the event.  That I felt strongly enough to waive goodbye to the $600 entry fee.

Y’all enjoy the morning, hope it turns out your way.  I just won’t roll it on aggravating injury or incurring same.

No dice.

 

 

 

GOOD BONES

Scenario:  Old man gets his tired butt out the door this morning.  Slowly eases into familiarity and solace of the rhythm of the road.  A couple miles in and the remaining modicum of fluidity washes over like wave over stone.  The old bones still able to bring work and honesty and joy.  Good Bones.

Scenario:  Old house battered for a century.   Harsh Nebraska winters and summers leaving scars and scratches and scrapes and character.  Families move in and out.  The house remains the same.  Well constructed.  Old bones.  Good Bones.

Scenario:  USATF Nebraska Association Long Distance Running program.  Old soul, rural Illinois farm boy, founds and launches and rides herd over something dear and passionate and worth it.  Program thrives.  Splintered but whole.  Withstanding all the miles and harsh Nebraska winters and summers.  Good Bones.

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The Bar None suffered massive damage from the hail storm on June 29th.  New roofs already up on the house, garage and studio.  They’ll have the barn finished today.  Good Bones.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Today’s column filled with nothing but positivity!

Katie Wetzstein (Greeno 6K, 1st O/A- 21:19)- LRC Racing
Mary Hillis (Greeno 6K, 8th O/A, 22:15) – LRC Racing
Kayte Partch (Greeno 6K, 33rd O/A, 23:14)- unattached
Erica Doering (Greeno  6K, 36th O/A, 23:21)- LRC Racing

Anna Hazard (Omaha 10K, 2nd O/A, 38:43)- LRC Racing

The LRC Women’s team looking formidable.  Giving Nebraska USATF  ladies some great inspiration and competition!

Kayte Partch (Freedom Run 10K- 4th O/A, 38:05)- unattached
Nicole Norris (Freedom Run 10K, 39:17)- Nebraska Run Guru Elite
Liz Starbuck (Freedom Run 10K, 39:32)- Nebraska Run Guru Elite
Liz Starbuck (Omaha 5K, 18:45-19:19)- Nebraska Run Guru Elite

Nicole and Liz showing well against LRC’s best, at least on paper.   With the addition of Abby Schlater (Iowa HS 1500 and 3000 state champ-2008, Iowa HS 3000 state champ 2009) our aspirations are dialed in and announced.

The Heartland Marathon, ($105), Half Marathon ($95), and 10K ($65) will still accept your entries through Saturday’s packet pick up.  No race day registration or packet pick up.  Good luck to all the runners and racers and walkers too!  Be sure and say hello to Dr. Bill Weeks, he’s out there for you!
ilm-70s-poll

 

 

LOYALTY

I wasn’t torn at all.  It never occurred otherwise.

The first 90 minutes of the Husker game broadcast out of the back of our jeep.  No, not tailgating, rather selling at Village Pointe Farmer’s Market.  Didn’t miss a play and when we were loaded and ready to roll, my reward only a dead battery.  Quick jump and back to the Bar None for most of the second half.

Anxiety.  Hope.  Disappointment.  My team lost.

What’s the deal?  I graduated from Northern Illinois University,  class of 1992.  The final 40 hours of 153 earned toward my BS in Community Health Promotion.   The first 100+ matriculated at Lamar University  in Beaumont,  TX.  Now had Pecker Tech been the David to slay Goliath that might have been another story.  But losing to NIU brought me no joy, no priapism as suggested.

Loyalty does go deep for me.  I’m fiercely loyal to USATF.  Nationally, regionally, and locally, mostly in that order but sometimes with shifting focus.

I’m loyal to NRGE, Inc.  I’m loyal to Team Nebraska.  I’m loyal to LRC Racing.  I’m loyal to Women Run Nebraska.

I’m loyal to my program and athletes, much more than any kit.

And I’m critical.  As author and architect I weigh in with direct, sometimes cutting assessment.  I’m not afraid to say what others are thinking.   Sometimes gets me in hot water, always gets the message out.

Ought not take it out on my mates though.

See, that is what this is all about.  Why my mates are the only unfunded, if most talented, club in Nebraska.

This has been the most successful recruiting class of my career.  Each athlete has been informed upfront that we are unsponsored.  That the other clubs will enjoy a financial advantage.  That they will be Blue Collars until Linda and I come up with support for them- And we will.

Thanks to El Jefe for sending me the link for complete results at Woody Greeno.
Greeno full results  LRC Racing the only club represented according to the results.  Peter Falcon and Matt Pohren listed as unattached but I don’t think they’ve jumped the Red & White just yet.   Katie Wetzstein of Wisconson, via South Dakota, now LRC Racing taking the measure of the full women’s field.

I was recently challenged on why NRGE, Inc. was accepting athletes from Iowa.   I freely volunteered the mechanism by which athletes from out of state can legitimately  be added to our Nebraska  clubs.

Didn’t go over well at all when I introduced, now protocol.  Glad to see the other clubs taking advantage of the rules and advocating for talented athletes no matter where they  are from.

USATF.  My Loyalty.

 

 

 

 

 

DEBT FREE

Freedom.  Financial and otherwise.  Its the way I have chosen to live my life.  And it says just about everything you need to know about me.  Over 40 years of credit cards.  Never once carried a balance forward, not one red cent in interest.  Paid cash for the Bar None.

Debt free.  Not beholdin to anyone.  Living within my means so that no one else can tell me what to do, how to do it, why to do it, when to do it, where to do it.

Choose to live your own life, it has tremendous rewards.  Be principled.  Be independent minded, don’t let popular culture sway you.  It’s not easy, wait a minute, yes it is.

Peak to Peak 10 Mile this past weekend.  No runners under 60 minutes.

Woody Greeno this past weekend, some fast college times as always.  Several USATF Nebraska Association athletes raced.  I am ever so curious.  The results link, Woody Greeno Results  includes only the top collegiate finishers.   If you know where I can check performances for our USATF Nebraska Association members and clubs, unattached or not, thanks in advance.

Omaha Marathon also  this past weekend.  My old KC Smoke buddy Kory Cool using his long training run for the win in 2:33:49.  In the Half Marathon Josh Baden ran a remarkable and solo 1:08:56 for the W.  In the 10K no runners under 38:00.  In the 5K NRGE’s Liz Starbuck took the Overall overall win in a time somewhere between the 18:45 on her watch and the 19:19 in the official results.

 

 

 

 

 

FRACTURED FAIRY TALE

I’ve been nurturing this young lad for four years.  Bringing him along gently, with kid gloves as it were.  Incremental progression.  Individualized workouts.  Specific times.  Short, mid, and long term goals.  The vision- DI scholarship and post collegiate career.

Sam Runde.  Made his high school debut at the Burke Invitational a couple weeks ago.

17:07.  The fastest time by a Burke freshman.  Ever.

Now hobbled with a likely stress fracture.  The leap to over mileage too abrupt for him.

Not the way  I thought it would go for Sam this year.  They don’t redshirt freshman.

I do.

 

MUCHO MARATHONS IN OMAHA

The Omaha Marathon is this weekend. (NE13010KU)
The Heartland Marathon is September 24 (NE16006GM)
The Nebraska Marathon is October 15. (NE16011GM)

The Wabash Trace Marathon was last week.  Granted in Iowa but still illustrating the explosion in 26.2 mile races East of the Platte.

Why are there so many 26.2 races popping up in the last 3 years?  Because no single marathon has captured the imagination and support of the entire Omaha community.  Bounce back to yesterday and my keen interest in annexation.  If it does happen, and Waterloo becomes part of Omaha proper, well then.  In 2013 I pitched the Freedom Run Half Marathon  to the  Twin Rivers YMCA.  With an eye on designing  the flattest, fastest 26.2 mile race in the United States.  Patience Guillermo, Patience.

Our NRGE Board of Director and Medical Director will once again be on loan as Chief Medical Officer duties for the Heartland Marathon.  NRGE, Inc. happy to contribute to the Omaha running community.  De Nada.