Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go! Get Outside 5k (or how to turn a 5k into a stage event)

I was going to title this six hours for a 5k. Guess you'll see why

My friend Tom told me about this race last year. A 5k race on the limestone trails of DuPage Forest Preserves Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook IL. 2009 was it's second year. Tom's race, the Oak Brook half marathon, uses 3 miles off the trail including the hills so Tom helps them with this race. As I spend lots of time running and hiking the trails of various DuPage Forest Preserves I knew I wanted to do this race as the proceeds benefit kid's nature education the nature center provides.

After signing up I knew I might have to make an event out of the event and ended up walking a mile from home, taking the train to Hinsdale then walking another 2 miles to Fullersburg. Due to timing my journey to the Metra schedule I arrived at the race with a full hour to spare. Picked up my bib number and a nice hot chocolate colour long sleeve tech shirt which includes the logo at the top of this report (wished the logo had been a full size one not the smaller pocket location size but that is my only race improvement suggestion!!). Chatted with Tom a little then with a race volunteer named Bob who seems to help at races and walks every weekend and is a great volunteer.

It wassoon time to line up for the race. The start line was the edge of a wooden fence marked with a yellow ribbon. Around 120 people where in the race plus a few dogs. I lined up middle pack which was still close to front in a small crowd. Forest Preserve ranger said a few words and then the start gun was fired and we was off. Having run/hiked these preserve in the past I knew it would be scenic but if you run the same trails they can have a totally different look throughout the year as was the case with Fullersburg. The race ran along the limestone paths that paralleled the Salt Creek river on both sides using the preserve bridges to cross at each end of the course. I soon found myself maintaining a steady pace as the field spread out. At times people would pass me and I'd pass others including a bulldog. Around mile 1.5 we encountered a small hill which I ran up, no stopping - the summer hill repeats paying off. Just after mile 2 we past the Graue Mill Dam built in 1935, crossed the river via York Road and turn to pass Graue Mill/Museum built in 1852 (info from Fullersburg Historic Foundation flyer). Now we hit the only paved section of the course for about half a mile but still on the river bank. Back to limestone when a turn onto a trail covered with wood chip and the finish line was in sight. I crossed feeling strong with fairly even mile pace. My time was not fast but there was still plenty of folks behind me.

Hang around for the awards, some fast times then left for a 2 mile walk to the train i9which was 10 minutes late)

The DuPage Forest Preserve had put on a great little running event. This race has room to grow which the right marketing and earlier sign up announcements. The course is great, the T shirt was nice (although make the logo bigger), after race refreshments were just right and the awards was very good, not that I win awards.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Javelina 100

Photo: Steve finishing JJ100 2009 with his wife Toni. In the background Mike Hanes, Steve Hanes and myself

Last year my good friend Steve set out to complete is first 100 mile race, the Javelina Jundred 100 in Phoenix AZ. The race is held on the full moon nearest (or on) Halloween encouraging the runners to get dressed in costume. That year Steve ran has Pancho Villa. Steve got to mile 92 before missing the cut off for the last loop by 14 minutes.

But Steve was back in 2009 with a mission to complete.
More to be added............

Sunday, October 25, 2009

North Face

I don't do many race. I do attend many races to work, volunteer or crew and sometimes pace but a large number of CHUGS were attending the North Face Endurance Challenge and I wanted to be there. The North Face EC offers 4 distances: 50 mile, 50k, half marathon and 10k all on trails. There are four regional races in NY, WA, DC and WI plus the series championship race in CA. The WI was in my backyard being held at Ottawa Lake in Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine. While ago I had hoped to do the 50k but as the year went by that became the half marathon and closer to race day I knew it would be a slow half marathon. This actually played into my schedule well because the week after I was going to Phoenix to crew and pace my friend Steve for a loop at the Javelina 100 so time on my feet on trails would be good.

Going into race morning i also had another objective: to beat my friend Mary Gorski. Mary is a many time 100 miler finisher and Badwater vet plus also talented at triathlon, mountain climbing, cross country skiing and all around lovely person. Oh I should add Mary was the sweeper for the half so I had to stay ahead of her and the cut off.

More to come................

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Course Record

Sammy won the 2009 Chicago Marathon in a new course record which was also the fastest time ever ran in north America. He beat Khalid's record by one second. That one second was worth $100,000 extra in prize money!!

My friend Kevin after volunteering as a course marshal headed to the finish line and snapped the great photo above of Sammy's finish (posted with permission)

Still can't believe I picked Sammy up from O'Hare only 3 days before his record run.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Driving an Olympic Gold Medalist !!!

Every year I volunteer as a Course Marshal Captain for the Chicago Marathon. I am doing that again this Sunday but I also offered to be an Elite Transportation driver for this year's race.

I was assigned to pick up two groups of runners from O'Hare, one group Wednesday evening and one group Thursday lunch time.

Wednesday was the Russian group including the 2008 female winner Lidiya Grigoryeva, another Russian athlete plus their agent, coach and family members. Well those pickup didn't go to plan as they where all on different flights much later that night. The only arrival was the coach so marathon HQ asked me to drive him into Chicago. He didn't speak a word of English and I know no Russia but he was a character for sure.

Thursday I was schedule to pick up some Kenyan runners. Sammy Wanjiru , Richard Limo and Patrick Ivuti. You might now these names. Patrick won Chicago marathon in 2007 - the heat year. Richard has a 2:06 marathon and has been a track world champ. Sammy has a marathon best of 2:05:10 and last year in Beijing he won the Olympic Gold medal in the marathon.

Sammy was first of the flight and while we was waiting for the others we got to chat. He was recognized by a guy waiting for his cousin from Mexico who is running Chicago and Sammy was happy to have photos taken. Richard was next through the gates but informed me Patrick was not on the flight (I've since read a NBC interview leading me to believe Patrick is now in Chicago). Richard ran Chicago last year and was really happy to be back in town. As we got closer to the hotel after the crawl drive along the Kennedy Richard was recognizing places. Sammy had never been here but was excited to be in Chicago despite a very long flight.

It was a pleasure driving both Sammy and Richard and hope they both have great races Sunday.

Not every day one gets to drive an Olympic champ.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

24 hours on a mountain bike

No not me but my good friend Mr Chris Strout.

Number of years ago I told Chris about a race named 24-9 and asked him if he had thought off doing a 24 hour mountain bike race. He hadn't but then did. He asked me to crew that year but I was already crewing at Badwater (Badwater and 24-9 were same weekend that year) but the next two, 2008 and 2009 I was there crewing for Chris and cheering on his teammates, Brad and Todd from sponsored by

You'll no doubt read about Chris' race via his blog so I'll leave the details to him and his teammates but here are a few random photos in a random order.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Badwater 2009 PR

Another great year crewing at Badwater for my friend Kelvin Marshall. This was my third time at Badwater and second crewing Kelvin. I love this event and the Badwater family.

Kelvin ran a very smart race changing his plan due the high heat during the day and this enabled him to ran almost 3 hours faster than 2008 and become the fastest Aussie at Badwater ever in 37 hours and 36 mins.

Before race start

At finish line

Some random race shoots that blogger will likely place where it feels like it

Runners check in

Race morning

Badwater Basin

On the course

After race, Kelvin ready to go again!!

Steve Hanes who crewed for Kelvin in 2008 and
was given a start (and finish( in 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Badwater 2009

This coming weekend I head to Death Valley to crew my friend Kelvin Marshall at the Badwater Ultra. Kelvin will be running 135 miles from Badwater basin to Mt Whitney portals which takes him and the 85+ other runners through Death Valley from 282 feet below sea level over 2 mountain passes with long climbs to finally finishing at 8360 feet. The temperature can easily be over 120 degrees and possibly very windy.

Kelvin ran Badwater last year finishing 1st of the 6am wave starters in just over 40 hours. This year he has an 8am start. Matt and Steve are back to crew along with me plus a new addition in Rita. Steve Hanes who crewed last year was invited to the big dance. Congrats Steve.

Kelvin is being sponsored in part by the awesome folks at who have supplied him with some fantastic signage for the crew car/van. This will be so different than last year LOL

Last year followed by this year

Here's a great TV video about Lisa Tamati fro New Zealand and her 2008 race. Nice job TVNZ and Lisa. She is back in 2009

Lisa and Kelvin at the 2008 awards party

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CHUGs Chicago to Milwaukee Beer Run

From an idea for a long run for his birthday Chicago's Badwater bound Adrian Belitu dreamed up a run from Chicago to Milwaukee with a beer at each end. He posted the idea to the Chicago Ultrarunner (CHUG) group and the idea took off.

June 19th 14 group members gather at Goose Island in Chicago to celebrate with Adrian and two belated birthdays (Geof and Kelly) with a fun cake made by CHUG chief Torey - "Best Energy Bar Ever".

After a beer, cake, a short weather delay and waiting for Brian to change into his running costume; oh yeah they decided to make it a costume run, 6 took off along Sheffield Ave towards Fullerton and then onto the Lakefront towards Milwaukee. 4 others would drive cars for crewing and too run segments of the route sharing driving with 4 of the original 6 who would also be running segments only. Two had decided to run the full way.

So from a little idea another North America 100 was born. As I write this they are still headed to Water St in Milwaukee. I'll update sometime tomorrow when I hear anything.

For now here is the start line photo:

Back Row: Brian, Gary, Jim, Adrian, Tony

Front Row: Kelly, Paige, Torey

Photo stolen from Adrian's camera

UPDATE: They finished in 23:51 with Jim running the full distance and Tony getting in 70+ for his distance PR. I'll add some links to any reports the CHUGs write.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just Read "Born To Run"

Just finished reading Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall.

What a great read.

This is what Amazon editors said: ReviewBook Description Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.
Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.
With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Friend makes a running video

A friend made a video for a Nike run video contest and I think it is rather good. Click to Janeth's blog where she has posted the click to the video. If you like it I am sure Janeth would love your vote.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chicago Ultra Runners group run

Today was held the first official Chicago Ultra Runners group run. I say first because a few of them went on a group Inaugural run for a photo shoot for Windy City Sports (see April issue) last month.

Brian Gaines put out a suggestion to run at Deer Grove, in Palatine. Great suggestion Brian.

I've ran at Deer Grove only twice before. Once when I picked it as a new park to explore and run and in 2007 I ran the Xterra Trail 12k finishing last!!

Seven of us sowed up to run, the Magnificent Seven - Torey, Sarah, Kelly, Sean, Ben, Brian and myself. I would also run into Juli half way around my one loop. Photo by Kelly

When I left Naperville for the 50 minute drive north it was raining. Last time I ran Deer Grove for the Xterra race it poured with rain on the drive up. Was this a sign? The drive was fine not much traffic at that time of day. Pulled into the car park and Kelly, Brian, Torey and Sean where already there getting ready to run and talking. Introds were made. Sarah and Ben then pulled in and so we was already to go. Brian and I had a cheery debate on which way to run onto the yellow trail, left or right, but i think Torey just decided and headed towards the right or clockwise. I knew I'd be slow and running way behind these guys. Kelly kindly ran with me for around a mile then went ahead. I caught up with them soon after thanks to a bathroom break but all soon pulled ahead. There was a number of trees down on the trial and some minor mud section. Of course heading down the trail along Dundee Rd was a mud bath with some mud shoe sucking sections but like a good trail runner I plowed through them and on. I had forgotten how hilly this trail is. Illinois is not known for hills but if you seek them out they are there.
About half way around I ran into my friend Juli coming from the other way. Juli told me she had ran the Chicago Lakefront 50k the day before and was out the "shake out her legs" - I'd have been sleeping not running. After a few minutes of chat Juli decided to run with me back to her car that was actually just one car park away from where the group runners were parked. This was great and got me back into a good groove and helped me run and not hike. I kept my run to 5 mins hike 2 mins plan although did start running again before the 2 mins was up. About a mile from the car parks Juli and I meet the group (sans Kelly) running the loop again but in the other directions - guess Brian won that debate!!! Juli was introduced to those that didn't know her - I think Juli will be out running with us again :-) All too soon Juli was back near her car and I finished up the last half mile. Kelly was at her car so we chatted until the others got back and then the above photo was taken. Next time Kelly will HAVE to be included.
This run did me a world of good and hopefully will jump start my training that was very lacking over this winter. Most my running race plans are not happening now due to that so I'll be replanning. I think (Xterra) Trail 12k at Deer Grove might be in the plans now before HOBO in September.
Thanks to Torey, Sarah, Kelly, Juli, Ben, Sean and Brian for being out there today. It was great fun and i can't wait to run with the group again. I'll see some of you at McNaughton next weekend.
Cheers, Ian

Monday, February 23, 2009

20k Trail Race for a good cause

A 20k at Lapham Peak, Delafield WI, near Milwaukee. There is a 20k and a 5k both on the trails around Lapham. The 20k includes parts of the famous Ice Age Trail. See web for more info.
As my title says the race is for a good cause. I didn't know Nancy who was tragically killed in summer of 2008 by a drunk driver. I do know a lot of people who's life were touched by Nancy.
Be there April 26th

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Road run in trail shoes

I woke this morning to 1/2 inch of snow on the ground. Not much really but I had planned a 4 mile road run today as Laura and I had errands to do. Before the run I get the newspaper from the end of the driveway (our paper delivery is always plastic wrapped which we recycle) and the driveway is covered in ice. The walkways have snow. The roadway is just wet but that's for cars. The sides of the roads were a mix of wet, snow and ice. What to do................... any trail runner I put on the trail shoes instead of road shoes and head out on my 4 mile road loop. Wasn't a great run but was good to be out there. Winters kill running for me and I refuse to join a health club and run on a dread mill.

Think Sunday and Monday I'll hit one of the many nearby Du Page Forest Preserves for a limestone trail run. Knoch Knolls will be too muddy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicago area trail races

My 2009 schedule is here: but thought I'd supply a list of Chicago area trail races. By area I've included Chicago and burbs, central IL, southern WI and NW IN. Some are dirt, some limestone. Some are not confirmed so check first. If you know others let me know, any distance.

Chicago area: Channahon 25k (4/11) think mostly limestone and flat Website not updated but 2009 dates are 8k (6/6) 10k (7/11) 12k (8/8) part limestone part single track dirt.

Universal Sole put on two trail races Rock N Sole around 5 miles one in July (Palos) and November (Schiller Woods) but US is under new management so not sure if they will happen in 2009. Both events were on single track, wide grass and if on limestone it was non maintained so "dirt"

Spring Ahead 10k (4/19) Naperville part road part trail (5k all road)

Equestrian Connection Trail races 5m, half marathon and full marathon May 3rd, limestone mostly I think

Run for the Cops Swallow Cliff of Palos (6/7) Trail is limestone but not maintained so more like dirt in places and not flat

Jim Brimm Events holds the Cross Country Challenge in Gilberts 5 miles in December
2008 details

Windruners (Lisle) 10k (8/30) limestone trails Danada FP.

Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 mile in July at Waterfall Glen all limestone 2009 TDA 2008 info

Rockford: Rockford Road runners hold 2 series of trail races plus another trail race all on dirt single and wide track
Winter Series 5k, 10k (both done) 15k (2/21) 20k (3/21)
HOBO series 10k (9/18) 25k (9/19) 50k (9/20)
plus Fall Classic 4m (9/26) in near by Caledonia IL

Danville area Lake Mingo 7.1 mile (6/13), Howl At The Moon 8hour (8/8) Wild Wild Wilderness 7.55 (9/23)
Champaign area Clinton Lake 30 (3/28 - sold out), Buffalo Trace 5m (5/16), Allerton Park 5.5 (10/25) Buffalo Trace 7 day trail (5/24-30 TBC)

Near Peoria or thereabouts
Pekin, Il (4/10-12) 50,100,150 miles
nr Peoria (10/17) 8 and 33 miles

Wisconsin near or short drive from Chicago:

WORS series (held with their MTB series)
Bear Trax 20k plus 5k (4/26) Delafield WI
Ice Age Trail 50k,50m (5/9)
Kettle Moraine 100k 100m (6/6-7)
Blue Mound Trail (6/6) 15+k, 6+k TBC
Dances With Dirt 50k 50m (7/11)
Devil Lake's Lake Half marathon (10/24)
Glacial Trail 50k 50m (10/11)
North Face Kettle Moraine (10/24)

Indiana near Chicago:
Foot Pursuit 5k (3/7) Valparsio
Xtreme 12k (5/27) Portage all dirt mountain bike trails with river and creek crossing 2008 info:
Cedar Creek 5k (6/21) Fort Wayne IN surface - no idea
No 2009 details but in 2008

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Below is my thoughts for races to do in 2009. As they say all subject to change. Number of dates/weekends have a few events to choice from - not doing all these!!!

March 21st Rock Cut Trail 20k

April 4th one of these as a training run, both multi loop so not worried if no finish
Lakefront 50k or
Madison Madicty 50k

April 26th Lakefront 10 mile race now 25th - can't do so
April 26th Bear Trax 20k

May 3rd EC Trail half or marathon

May mid one of these 3
May 16th Berryman trail marathon
May 17th Rockford marathon
May 24th Madison marathon

June 27th Running w/Devil marathon unless
July 13-14 Badwater crewing

July 11-12 Keweenaw Trail Festival if no Badwater

August and September not yet decided - maybe HOBO trail

October/November one of the following
Glacial Trail 50M
Heartland 50M
Door County 50M
Lakefront 50M