Pink Gorilla sold me yesterday. Their managerial efforts unparalleled in Nebraska. The most professionally conducted event that I’ve seen since moving here in 2001. Fulfilling my wishes for a competitive race, while addressing the masses. No detail left unturned. I’ve been around the world, blah, blah, blah, but have finally seen my vision come to fruition in my own back yard. And I had not a whit to do with it. So Big Tips to Ben Cohoon and Jason Bakewell for doing what I just never could. And what no one else in Nebraska, for that matter, has ever done either. With all due respect to the Lincoln Marathon and my own efforts with the Freedom Run, The Bar is way up there now. Not as fast as Freedom, but deeper competitively and with 3500+ for the first year, no arguing it put the GLH on the map.
Four of the top 5 clubs in the midwest racing, Iowa Run Ablaze, LRC Racing, Nebraska Run Guru Elite, and Team Nebraska, only the Kansas City Smoke lacking.
Nebraska Run Guru Elite had great representation. I’d hoped this would be Craig Donnelly‘s Big Splash on the scene. While just about anyone else would have been thrilled to finish 8th (1:12:06), it was the slowest half he’s ever run and didn’t set well with him. He did run a ballsy race though going out with the leaders. Ended up puking blood in the final half mile, no questioning this kid’s heart. Still able to hold off hard charging 34 year old Chad Sellers by :02. And Chad schooling young York Thomas, 10 years his junior, on the ways of finishing kicks, rounding out the top 10.
Home is where the heart is. It was exciting to see Luka Thor make his final move coming down the ramp, passing crowd favorite Tom Nichols, also by the slim two second margin. Luka doesn’t run for me any longer, not on the outside. Ah, but on the inside he’s still my son. He’s never forgotten his roots and that is all that matters to me.
Our NRGE women, while not included in the official Team Results (needed 5 to score), ran stellar races. Amber Sargent (5th, 1:25:40), Jessica Pape (8th, 1:27:04), Lindsey Brezenski (13th, 1:28:26), and Stacy Shaw (22nd, 1:30:43, 1st 45-49) impressed the hell out of me. For what they Didn’t and Did do. What they didn’t do was continue training after they kicked ass at the Des Moines Marathon a couple of weeks ago. Paid attention to their Coach. Did what they were told to do. Took the prescribed and necessary time off and recovered completely. And still toed the line and gave it all they had.
NRGE was also behind the scenes. El Jefe Kyle Clouston and Badwater Badass Pete Kostlenick were not only in charge of setting up the course but were Ben’s Operational go to guys. Nearly 30 hours of work over the weekend, damned proud of you guys. Even Jerrod Anzalone got in on the act serving as an official pacer. And Linda and Jimmie Doherty (and you too Mandy Sue) all providing support and cheering, not only for ours but yours too. And yeah, I was there. But only to bare witness. To the dawning of a new era in competitive racing. Brought to you by Pink Gorilla.
Our NRGE ladies. Tough as nails, their races yesterday only the tip of the iceberg that is coming to change the landscape. The common thread shared is their ability to listen, their respect. That final and most important piece of the puzzle. I can’t give them money or buy their shoes or lavish them with fashion shows, but damn I can coach and advocate for them. These are the athletes I want. Those that are in it to win it, not interested in what material goods or social climate that comes with the kit.
Craig’s got big balls. Fears no runner. Wants to win. Badly. You got just a hint yesterday. More to come.
Luka, surrounded by friends and second family. Craig has a picture of he and Luka competing side by side in a collegiate cross country race. Something you’ll be seeing more of, you can count on it.