I’ve spent nearly 20 years railing against the state of marathoning in Nebraska.  Have held the highest standard and expectations for our running community.  Based on 40 years experience in our sport, at all levels.

Sidewalks, curbs, t-shirts and medals not matching the distance, poorly designed courses, lack of volunteers and signage (Wintheiser Phenomenon), untrained volunteers, misplaced cones, inaccurate B.S. descriptions (Flat and Fast!!!).

Nebraska deserves better.  And you’ll get it next April 25, America’s Marathon-Valley 7 Lakes.

Back to today’s rant.  If you are registered for next month’s HITS Omaha Marathon I want to express my sincerest apologies.  Especially if you are coming in from out of state or from our Good Life hinterlands.  This marathon takes the easy way out and in no way reflects the  best (not even close) of what Omaha can/could/should offer.  Here’s why:

I spent 4 hours last Friday as the second bike for the USATF Certification measurement.  Got a first hand tour of what the group out of Saugerties, NY is claiming as Omaha’s  Marathon.  The course being tweaked to eliminate the finish  inside TD Ameritrade Park, moving it to the parking lot just adjacent.  I wish they would have redesigned much, much more.

The tour starts out decent enough, heading up Capitol to Florence Blvd and Minne Lusa Blvd.  Highlighting some stately, some dilapidated homes, the smell of reefer wafting from the latter, at 9 in the morning, Wake & Bake!  It was when we turned onto Shirley St. that the course goes straight to hell.  The street so pocked with potholes that you hardly notice the accumulation of trash, dirty diapers, detritus, flotsam and jetsam.  I really hope Mayor Jean gets the road repaired or your racing flats are in for one hell of a ride.

Once you leave the mean streets you hop on the sidewalk called Riverfront Trail.  4 X 4 foot squares of concrete, open to the public, taking you behind OPPD on the right and huge belching stacks on your left.  The Missouri River separating the two as it collects discharge from both entities.  Heavy petroleum odors assaulting your sense of smell for miles.

Into Levi Carter Park where you’ll be greeted by derelicts, homeless and sundry other shady characters.  I didn’t feel safe passing some of same sitting in their cars doing any manner of no good deeds.

Make the U-Turn and run the course in reverse back to the stadium.  Good luck trying to weave and sweave through the runners possessing less fortitude and speed.

So there you have it!  The (S)HITS Omaha Marathon.  If you run it and are as disappointed as I think you will be, shoot me an email with your official finish time and we’ll work out a favorable arrangement to get you into Valley 7 Lakes next April.  originalrunguru@gmail.com Give us a chance to show you a completely closed country road, pancake flat, safe, cushy asphalt marathon.  America’s Marathon, Nebraska’s only Real Marathon in my opinion.  #ValleyStrong  #America’sMarathon #Valley7Lakes