TIM TIN WIN

Full results from yesterday’s  Valentine’s  Day Runs on the banner above.  140 registered, 122 finishers.  The  trio  from Colorado, entry fee returns in Friday’s mail because they couldn’t make it and  they asked.  Photos on our 2017 Two Rivers Valentine’s  Day Runs facebook page.

Larry Hamm of Des Moines contacted me over a month ago, wanting to make  absolutely  sure the races were USATF Certified.  He  competes for national points in the 60+ age group but the runs ONLY COUNT if they are legit.

A dozen or so were running their very first 5K or 10K ever.   And they couldn’t have gone away any happier.  This is how you do it then.

Catering to runners of all ilk.  It took a while but the Nebraska Run Guru Events,  Inc formula is taking root, sprouting like collards on a heat mat.

I can’t say enough about our volunteers.  Huge thanks to y’all, from me and from our runners.

Tim Fry and several of your Club 402 runners, thank you.  Kami  Alessandro and  Megan Bold of Women  Run Nebraska, thank you.  Tin and Tristan and Nicole and Jackie Freeman of NRGE, Inc., thank you.

Catering to the serious USATF runners while offering outstanding amenity/entry  fee ratio for every single  participant.  Including the cat that  showed up with less than the entry  fee in his  pocket.

Putting up times that are meaningful in the bigger picture.  But only if the bigger picture is meaningful to you.  USATF Nebraska Association LDR program.  Thank you.

Two  Rivers State Recreation Area.  Park Ranger and long time buddy Mike Carrick, thank you and your staff.  Mike  was at the Team Nebraska  Road Race Management Committee meeting  in 2008 when I first pitched the idea of a “Two  Rivers Twosome”, the earliest incarnation of our Valentine’s  Day Runs.  Closed the roads in the park (What you  need is permits!), not a single angry driver throwing gravel, glare or shade.

Bakers.  Family Fare.  Sunrize Donuts.  Thank you.  West Omaha Cryotherapy.  Thank you.  Bar None Produce.  Thank us.

Nebraska Run Guru Events, LLC.  Real Runs put on by Real Runners.  For your own record books and the USATF Nebraska Association ledgers.

I encourage all other local and regional races to get their courses USATF  certified for their participants.  Give them  something to hang their hats on.

LABELING PEOPLE

My old buddy and Houston Marathon Director Brant Kotch added me recently to an Event Management group on facebook.    Another old buddy and one of the most respected men in the industry, Jim Gerweck,  immediately liked it and chimed in with Groucho’s classic quote “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”.

I’m not the only Nebraska event director in the group.  Just the oldest, with a long history  of connections.

Here’s a litmus test.  Are you in event management to line your pockets, bigger house, a boat, acreage, et blah?  That is a distinction I draw between those I respect most and many recent to the game.

I’m cool with old school.  Do it for the love of the sport.  Do it for you.  I call bullocks on artificial entry caps,  escalating entry fees, b.s. qualifying times, and every other effective ruse to drive  entries.  Yes,  none of my business, except its been my business for almost 35 years whippersnappers.

Linda and I have hand written our Valentine’s Day entry list, twice.  Transposed that list onto the race numbers.  Linda takes the time to decorate each bib.  What happens is a connection with our participants.  We know a lot of them before they ever toe the line, even if we’ve never met.  No computer generated labels to affix.  You are more than a line  of data in a spreadsheet to us.  More than simply another dollar.

1983 Channel Industry Sports Association 5K was my first.  Saturday will be my latest.  I’ve made every single mistake possible in race directing over that span.  Learned from those mistakes.  And those that Came Before Me.  Acknowledging their contributions to our sport.  Even if I didn’t see eye to eye with them.   That’s called Respect, whippersnappers.

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photo courtesy of Gary Dougherty

My Greatest Gaffe occurred at the 2008 Omaha Mile.  Used scaffolding for the finish line build out.  A significant wind change caught the non-vented banners leading to this collapse.  Athletes scramble while I hold up the clock and the 300 pound walkway, others rushing in to help.   Thank the Buddha the only injury was my bruised ego.

I promise no overhead scaffolding tomorrow morning!

 

 

WALLENDA’S SLIPPERS

Slippers like moth’s wings, delicate translucence dancing around flame, the thrill, the allure, the draw.  Closest circles, heightened senses, life’s sweetest balancing act.  And when you fall, you get right back up.  Its what you do.  Its your nature.

Online registration closed last night for this weekend’s Two Rivers Valentine’s Day Runs.  90 ladies, 35 fellas.

You can still register this afternoon during early packet pick up from 4 until 7 pm at Red Dirt Running Company.  We’ve kept the same entry fee, $35.  No exorbitant price increases, no artificial entry caps.   Runs for All Runners put on by Runners.  Big thanks to the Two Rivers State Park staff, our community partner West Omaha Cryotherapy and contributors Bakers and Family Fare!  And our volunteers!

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“I’m up in the spotlight, oh does it feel right
The altitude seems to really get to me.
I’m up on the tightwire linked by life and the funeral pyre
Putting on a show for you to see.”
Tightrope, Leon Russell, lyrics by Stan Kenton

Read more: Leon Russell – Tightrope Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

THIS MUCH IS TRUE

Always happy to lend out volumes from my personal collection of running books.   Jackie Freeman just finished “Slinger Sanchez, Running Gun”.  Loved it.  Written by my old  buddy Bruce Glikin of Houston.

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Here’s the big reveal.  It is based on a real runner.  And he lived for a time in Omaha.  And he was faster than you.   The fastest that has ever trod the roads of Nebraska in fact.   Anytime.  Anywhere.  A Texan.  This much is true.
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Leonard Hilton.  National Champion in the Mile in 1973 & 1975.  Personal best of 3:55.90.  Finished 3rd to Pre at the ’72 Olympic Trials 5000 (13:40.20).  The old  timers will remember Leonard moved to Omaha from his native Houston.  Maybe a few of them even got to run with him.

One way to inspire others  is to share stories of excellence.  To remind that there really were those that came before.  To put efforts and times into a bigger perspective.

I moved here in 2001 and with just a couple of exceptions (Kurt Keiser comes to mind), the mid 16s doldrums held sway, trumpeted as greatness.  I called BS, dared to insist that a locally decent time is just that.  Had a lot to say about women’s running too.  With just one exception (Christy Nielsen) saw the need for vast improvement.   Hubris born from 7 years as head of Women’s Athlete Development Program.

I’ve lost some of my most valuable books as loners.  An original “Training The Lydiard Way”, lent out and never returned.  “Arthur’s Boys” meeting the same fate.  Just my two favorites.   The risk you take.  Its worth it.

 

 

ALL YOU DO

Another of my dear, sweet Linda’s favorite lines.  Usually after I’ve spent countless hours studying, pondering, tinkering, figuring, estimating, finagling, analyzing, ad infinitum.  She will pull the veil of difficulty with the simplest solution.  Sometimes it really is the most obvious answers that escape me.

Talking with  Ben Holmes  this  morning.  He’s a throwback like me.  We see things similarly when it comes to putting on races.    The Nebraska Trail Run  * is the oldest consecutively run trail event in Nebraska.  And it doesn’t come close to the great work by Ben and his Trail Nerds.  I’m inclined to admire and respect those that have done as much.
* I’ve got a message in to Jim Craig, he may have a trail run with longer credentials

Let’s move it back to the roads though.  Our 4th annual Valentine’s Day Runs started in 2014 with just a small handful of runners, most of them comped entries to my former Team Nebraska mates.  2015 we grew to 30 runners.  2016 we inched to 35.

Linda recognized something.  All you do is make the Valentine’s Day Runs more appealing to everyone and stop trying so hard to cater to the elites.  And now we have 104 registered as of this morning.

Not including the Elites.

 

 

 

 

YOUR PIE WHOLE

How far has Nebraska running come since 2000 (b.w.)?  You decide.

Prior to 2004 there were no post collegiate opportunities for talented Nebraska runners.  Most retired or moved away.  A very few stuck around, continued to train for training sake.  Maybe hit up a local fun run.

This past weekend Nebraska athletes peppered the competitive landscape.  On Trails.  On Roads.  On Track.

Stacy Shaw (23:55) won the USA 100 Mile Trail 50+ medal, 6th USATF,  13th overall.  Kyle Clouston finished 5th USATF under 40,  7th in his  age group in 19:20.  Jerrod Anzalone made 80 miles in 15 hours before hip issues sidelined.

Joe Coil (20:07) narrowly defeated Ivan Marsh (20:12) at the Camp Carol Joy Holling 5K Trail Run.

Jay Welp ran 15:44 for the 2nd fastest Certified and Sanctioned road 5K of the year by a Nebraskan.  Nicole Norris ran 19:51 at the same Dalton Gang 5K to set a new 2017 Best Mark for our association.

Nolan Zimmer ran a fast 14:46 track 5K at Frank Sevigne.  Peter Falcon turned in a nice 15:19 on the same oval.

Pick a slice, any slice!  You’ve got the whole USATF pie!

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MAN AS EARTH

The second in my “Philosophical Friday” series.  Building on last Friday’s “MAN AS ALLIUM”.

Billions of cells alive and dead.  Plants, animals and all things,  utterly dependent on those smallest organisms, alive and dead.   Man above all with the highest call and purpose.  Ability to use some of those cells for cognition, consideration, free will, and action and joy and regret.

Hierarchical cells.  Assuming important  roles at every level.  Autonomic most primitive and advanced.  Breathe.  Pursuing comestibles for the food slit.  Eat.  Bacteria and flora and fauna.  Excrete.  Man.  You are you and you are what you eat and you are what you excrete.

Earth.  Its crust made of man.  Man made from earth.  Earth made from man.  Civilizations.  Cells.

What remains then?  What is left in a millennia?  Cells.   Alive and  dead.

And Spirit.  Imbued cells.  Gift to Man.  Greater Good.  Educating.  Enlightening.  Entertaining.  Enduring.

What will your living cells do  with the gift?

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USA 100 MILE TRAIL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Nebraska has established itself as one of the premiere trail running states anywhere, thank you very much Kaci Lickteig, Ivan Marsh, Pete Kostelnick, Jeremy Morris, Todd Nott, Tim Langdon, Tim McGargill, Justin Mollak et al.

Trails and trail runners everywhere you look.  Its popularity unquestioned.  It has become relevant like never before.  The 11th annual Nebraska Trail Run holding the distinction of longest continuously held in the state.  And most challenging.  But this isn’t about April 1st.

This coming Saturday is the USA 100 Mile Trail Championships!  Rocky Raccoon down in my old neck of the Texas woods.  Known for blazing fast times, it tempts and attracts runners from all over the US.  And $4000 in prize money.

Nebraska is sending down 4 athletes to contest what I deem unimaginable.  Three of them run for Nebraska Run Guru Elite.   Kyle Clouston, Stacy Shaw, and Jerrod Anzalone are registered, ready, and raring to go.  Their NRGE mate’s Jeff Gregg and Pete accompanying to crew.  Joining them will be Cyrstal Foust (unattached) of Fremont.

Even though I don’t know how they do it, how they make it, I am probably the happiest and proudest guy around.  NRGE representing my state, my spirit, and my USA Championships.  Good enough.

Some of the roadsters will race at the Dalton Gang 5K this Saturday.  We’ve been fortunate with cooperation by the weather gods and look to have another near perfect morning to RUN FAST.

The days are lengthening.  The more sun the more Bar None work to be done.  But these moments of morning musings must remain.

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The 2007 Swamp Stomp, the first was held in 2006.  Sponsored by Omaha Sports Physical Therapy and brought to you by USATF Nebraska.  Competitive Trail Running in Nebraska started with The Swamp Stomp and Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Runs.  It has morphed into one of the most popular aspects of putting one foot in front of the other.

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I used to dare have a fair bit of flair in the air even with no hair up there.  *2009

 

ELMWOOD PARK TRACK CLUB

With thanks to Lou Soukup

In my never ending quest to find Excellence in Nebraska Running I’ve had to go all the  way back to what seems to be the very origin, the root, the genesis as it were.  As disclaimer, if you prefer alternative facts, please exit here…

The Elmwood Park Track Club was established in 1963.  Ken Gould placed an add in the Omaha World Herald, asking runners to “Meet at the Big Tree” in Elmwood.   “In the late 60’s, the group that met was comprised mostly of elite college and high school athletes. The list includes many Big Eight and NAIA gold medal winners. Training runs were held daily – meets were once a week. Cross-country one week – track the next”

“The UNO track club would change gears and its name – to the Plains Track Club. The first road race would be held at Lake Manawa in 1973. A track coach at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln named Mick Freeman would host the first event (and he is still at it today).”

A common theme through Lou’s descriptions of Nebraska’s earliest efforts:
“Today’s running club with the Holiday Lights Fun Run and the Couples Relay is the antithesis of what was started back in 1963.”    Lou makes a very clear and definite distinction between what the club was founded on and where it sits today.

“The early pioneers of organized running in Omaha were fast. And they were serious competitors. They had big goals. The initial group, which included track stars such as Tim Hendricks, Greg Carlberg and Elliot Evans, were training for events like the Pan Am Games, World Cross Country Championships, and the Olympic Trials. They needed fast guys to push them harder – and they recruited local college and high school distance runners to join them for their nightly training runs – typically 10 miles. Word spread.  And the training sessions ended up being a “Who’s Who” of local runners.”

”  Plains Track Club (PTC) finest moment came in 1975 when it broke the USA record for a 24-hour relay. The club hosted the event at the UNO track. There were several 10-person teams entered – but the PTC team stole the show. Each person would run one mile – and then pass the baton to a teammate. Over the course of 24 hours, the PTC team averaged 4:46 per mile. “

Lou goes on to describe the major differences between the current climate (fundraising and participation) and days of yore when most races were put on by serious athletes.

Another point out sums up what I’ve tried to describe for the last 16 years, he seems to have it on the head.  Today, the Omaha Running Club, as an entity, is far more involved in assisting other groups with their races.  By contrast, The  Lincoln Track Club* “owns” their own race calendar.  Think about this  with your morning coffee, it is really quite deep.  No right or wrong way really.   Two Ways, see?  But does describe the vastly disparate cultures better than I have been able  to.  *Lincoln Track Club est. 1975

I hope you’ll take the time to read Lou’s chronology.  I’d like to rename his  series, The History of Excellence in Nebraska Distance Running, or, The History of Excellence in Eastern Nebraska Distance Running.  And then I would add the following chapters:  1.”USATF LDR, 2001-present”, describing the founding and foundation of today’s USATF Clubs and programs.  How Team Nebraska bridged the  Platte for over a decade.  Names like McGown and Morgan and Henry and Adams and van der Westhuizen.  How LRC Racing sprung from that model.  How Nebraska Run Guru Elite, embodiment of my competitive spirit, answered the call once again.  Names like Kostelnick and Wintheiser etching their names into the history of Excellence in Nebraska Distance Running.    2. “The Omaha Running Club Today”, to describe the credo that has held sway for at least the last 16 years  “a non-profit organization that supports local running and walking, “.   Tom Whitaker, over a decade and a half with his hand firmly on that wheel, deserving his own chapter.

Ken Gould, Mick Freeman, John Hawkins, Elliot Evans, I’d like to buy you a cup of Joe.

 

 

 

 

RON HILL

Farther than you.  Longer than you.  Faster than you.  It could be you.

Ron Hill ended the longest running streak in history this past weekend.  Saturday’s 1 Mile was the last day of 52 years and 39 days straight with at least that distance.   My old buddy *Alex Galbraith from Houston moved up a notch to 4th on the active U.S. list.

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Ron Hill’s Sportscaster Card, circa 1979.  When Real Men wore Real  Running Shorts.

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Celebrating over half a century of Commonwealth Games Gold, World Records and permanent place in the history books.

The Coverts (45+ Years)
Rank, Name Streak date (MM/DD/YYYY) City, State, Occupation, Age Streak days (years)
1. Jon Sutherland 05/26/1969 West Hills, CA, Writer, 66 17418 days (47.69 years)
2. Jim Pearson 02/16/1970 Marysville, WA, Retired, 72 17152 days (46.96 years)
3. Stephen W. DeBoer 06/07/1971 Rochester, MN, Dietitian, 62 16676 days (45.66 years)
4. Alex T. Galbraith* 12/22/1971 Houston, TX, Attorney, 66 16478 days (45.11 years)