Monday, October 21, 2013

New Run? Try the Zombie Stumble

Here's a good one. The first annual Zombie Stumble is set for 13:00 p.m. (1 p.m.!) on Saturday, Oct. 26, in west suburban Stone Park. You can escape the Zombies on a nice flat course (with a few speed bumps) while getting in that Halloween mood! It's a 5K with loads of fun planned by the organizers. You can sign up online at You can sign up in person on race day from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Casa Italia, 1621 N. 39th Ave., Stone Park. Proceeds go to Casa Italia, the Italian-American Veterans Museum and Library and the Huntington's Disease Society of America. Call 708-574-1424 for more information. Don't be scared off!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K to Wallor, Staton

Saturday's 36th Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K was as fast and furious as I remember from years gone by. This was my first Park Ridge race since 2010 and before I hit the finish line, I had dug down about as deep as I can go. It's a hard-core, no-frills CARA Runners' Choice Circuit race that always brings most of the best runners in the Chicago area. For starters, the top seven men broke 16 minutes and the top six women broke 18 minutes. Eric Wallor, 30, of Palatine separated himself from the field early and won on a sunny morning in 15:19.94. Second place went to Emisael Favela, 36, of Berwyn, in 15:40.21, and he was followed a stride later by third-place finisher Mark Wehrman, 27, of Chicago, in 15:41.20. Pamela Staton, 26, of Chicago, was the women's winner in 17:16.16. Runner-up was Laura Batterink, 28, of Evanston, in 17:19.84. Third went to Jacqui Giuliano, 27, of Oakwood Hills, in 17:33.52. Loads of other big-name locals were behind them in great times. I love races like this where super runners show up knowing they all can't win. As for me, I got some well-timed pick-me-up cheers from some very nice runners (Fred F., Dave S. and Grace W.) during the race. They kept me going and got me where I needed to be. Congrats to all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chicago Half a Whole lot of Humidity!

I've had a couple of days to think about it, and the more time passes, the more I feel even better about finishing well in my age group despite what seemed to be 90 percent humidity on Sunday at the 17th annual Chicago Half Marathon. For me, it was a day to be careful early and make sure no Gator-Ade and water were skipped early. I didn't come close to the time I ran last year when conditions were close to perfect, but not many people did. In my case, this one was all about holding back through Mile 7 to make sure I had something left. Also great were the cheers from spectators along the way and having fellow runners from the Elmhurst Running Club in my midst as we all pounded the pavement up and down Lake Shore Drive. At any rate, the conditions were a factor for everyone. "The humidity sucked!" overall winner Thomas Frazer told me in an e-mail. Irish-born Frazer, 31, of Lake Forest, won it in 1:07:22. He is running the Berlin Marathon later this month, hoping to break 2:18. Second place went to Julio Del Val Gonzalez, 31, of Torrijos, (Spain or Mexico, not sure), in 1:09:26. Third was taken by local phenom Emisael Favela, 36, of Berwyn, in 1:10:08. The women's race was a runaway by former Lake Park High School standout Lindsay Flanagan. Flanagan, 22, of Roselle, won it on a tough day in 1:16:36. Women's runner-up was well-known local Kristen Heckert, 26, of Lisle, who posted a 1:19:19, and third was taken by Christina Fiduccia, 27, of Chicago, in 1:23:14. At last count, there were 10,594 finishers. This was a very well-organized race. Kudos to all involved.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Brendan Moody, Jacqui Giuliano Take OB Half

It was a cool day to run, which was a good thing for the Oak Brook Half Marathon runners Monday morning. The race was won by Brendan Moody, 32, of Van Wert, OH, in 1:11:30. The women's crown went to Jacqui Giuliano, 27, of Oakwood Hills, in 1:25:36. Runner-up on the men's side was Jeff Jonaitis, 32, of Tinley Park, in 1:12:29, with third going to Mike Matuszak, 23, of Carol Stream, in 1:13:18. Second-place on the women's side went to Blossom Marimpietri, 27, of Downers Grove, in 1:26:17, and third went to Stephanie Bulaga, 25, of Chicago, in 1:27:00.

Warm Day, Hot Times at Buffalo Grove

On a sunny morning with temps on the rise, some fast times were turned in Sunday at the Buffalo Grove Stampede 10K. The CARA Runners' Choice Circuit race was won by Brendan Christian, 26, of Chicago in a spiffy 32:37. Next was Emisael Favela, 36, of Berwyn, looking good after an injury earlier this year. His time was 34:01. Third place went to Jeremy Ruston, 33, of Roselle, in 34:26. Scott Laumann, 43, of Chicago, had a great showing as the top masters runner with a 35:56. In the women's competition, Columba Montes, 34, of Chicago, took top honors with a 40:05. Second place went to 51-year-old Angelica Guerrero, of Chicago, with a great 42:05, and third was taken by Carolyn Martineau, 36, of Chicago, in 42:51. There were 410 finishers in this competitive race. Steven Bugarin, 27, of Chicago, won the accompanying 5K in 16:44. Marli April, 35, of Buffalo Grove was the women's winner in 20:43.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Juhl, Hopper Win Half-Madness 13.1

On a day with a lot of competition around the Chicago area, Lars Juhl and Amanda Hopper took the overall crowns at the Peapod Half-Madness 13.1 based from far west-suburban Batavia. The annual half-marathon had 1,131 finishers with Juhl, 36, of Chicago, leading the pack in 1:14:05. Hopper, 28, of Carpentersville, was the women's champion in 1:25:43. Runners-up were Joshua Stein, 23, of Forest Park, in 1:15:36, and Elena Shemyakina, 54, of Geneva, in 1:26:16. Nathan Kennedy, 27, of Bolingbrook, was third-place male in 1:17:07. Third-place female was Ashley Molidor, 29, of Downers Grove, in 1:26:40. A Quick look at the results shows a high-quality field was on hand for this high-quality race.

Cauley, Giuliano Win 11.5-Mile Fort2Base

As I told my friends, one thing was for sure for most of us on Sunday. We would record PRs at the Fort2Base 'Nautical 10-miler," which translates to 11.5 miles. On the CARA Runners Choice Circuit for the first time, the race from what's left of Fort Sheridan, just north of Highland Park, to Naval Station Great Lakes, next to North Chicago, was interesting and challenging. The field of 825 finishers was sprinkled with many of the top runners in every age group. It was a humid day, but not a scorcher, but the universal feeling seemed to be "I'm glad that's over!" A good thing was much of the course was in shade. A not-so-good thing was that a few mile markers weren't in the right place, but those things happen. I enjoyed everything except for the advertised big hill at around 10.3 or so. As for the titles, Michael Cauley, 32, a transplanted Chicagoan living in Worthington, OH, was overall winner in 1:03:59 (5:34 per mile). Second place went to Todd Quednau, 31, of Chicago, in 1:04:44, and third was taken by Jeremy Ruston, 33, of Roselle, in 1:04:52. On the women's side, Jacqui Giuliano, 27, of Oakwood Hills, was first in 1:13:13 (6:22 pace) with CARA's Wendy Jaehn, 38, of Chicago, a close second in 1:13:33. Third place went to Helen Nuttall, 32, of Oak Park, in 1:15:49. Top masters runners were Scott Laumann, 42, of Chicago, in 1:06:04, and Laura Kennedy, 56!, of Lake Forest, in 1:21:06. The accompanying 3.45-mile race was won by Jordan White, 24, in 23:18, and Erica Shin, 32, in 23:23. My race? I felt really good for about seven miles and then worked to bring it home. Having served in the Army from 1971-73 (drafted), I felt a special bond just running on military turf.