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.