Monday, July 19, 2010

PDS and The Judge at BSSG

So, Peter Dan Sullivan (PDS) had a great run at the Montana Mile on Friday night with his 4:34.  Then, up early the next morning and hit the track for a hard 5,000. 

Just like they did a few years ago, PDS and Pat Judge teamed up to see what they could do about dragging each other to some fast times. And, once again, it was a successful strategy.

Both set new age group records.  PDS got 2nd overall and a new 45-49 record with his 16:27.4 (5:17 pace).  Patrick got a 3rd overall and a new 40-44 record at 16:35.1 (5:20 pace).

Great running guys.

See you ont he roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not To Late For Naegeli Ranch Run

Still time to consider heading to the Thompson Falls area for the Naegeli Ranch Run next Saturday (July 24th).  It's a benefit for the Thompson Falls and Plains Cross Country teams and will be held on the Naegeli Ranch west of Thompson Falls.

This is a true trail run.  Jacob Naegeli has fashioned 3K and 8K courses righ throught the heart of the ranch.  It has forested sections, meadows filled with wildflowers, several creek crossings (one without a bridge :-0 ), cow paths and game trails.  The 8K has one tough, gnarly hill section.  He basically took his hand mower and has carved out 5+ miles of pathways.  It will be a course that you won't soon forget.

Check out for more info on the run.  Race time is 11:00, so plenty of time to head up to the race, get registered, run, check out the towns in the Clark Fork Valley and still make it home for a later supper.

Hope to see you there.

The Muddy Buzzard.

Big Sky State Games Notes

Patrick Casey pulls off another great performance at the Montana Mile.  He and John Ricardi (just having finished up at Idaho State) had a great race over about 1400 meters.  But, in about the last 200, Patrick put in the big finish and set a new raace record at 4:07.9.  This gave him a bit over 3 seconds at the finsh, with John hitting 2nd at 4:11.3.  Those are great times for both.  Over the last 2 or 3 years; these two athletes have taken the Montana Mile to a whole new level of times and competitive performance. 

John's performance comes after a long season of cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.  His outdoor track season alone included having to be on top of form all the way to June and the NCAA outdoor championships.  Amazing that he could still pull out a 4:11 when he's well beyond his competitive sharpness for the year.

And, Patrick is equally impressive.  After hitting a 4:04 mile this indoor season and getting 3rd at the NCAA indoor championships, Patrick reshirted his outdoor season to build some strength and get ready for a big XC season.  Well, the work is clearly paying off.  To hit a 4:07 in your off-season, with no recent competitions to get you sharp - it bodes well for what we'll see from Patrick in the upcoming year.  I dare say that he could be positioning himself quite well to be part of the NCAA middle distance elite over his next two years.

Another big time run came from super master Peter Dan Sullivan of Helena.  At 45, he hung right into the pack for a spectacular time of 4:34.3.  Just goes to show that you don't have to lose your leg speed when you get old and decrepit.  Way to go PDS.

Lois Ricardi Keller also put on a good show for the folks in the stands.  Winning by almost 100 meters, and figting off the effects of a pre-race hammy cramp, she set a new race record of 4:58.8.  Meanwhile, the Aragon sisters of Billings Senior and Nicole Reitz of Billings West continued their year long "rivalry" with Alexa running 5:17.2, Dani at 5:17.4 and Nicole at 5:17.7.

On the roads, Alan King fought through 97 degree heat on Friday evening to win the opening ceremonies 5K at 16:44.  He came back just 12 hours later (when it was already in the mid-70's at 7:00 a.m.) to win the 10K in a new race record of 33:10.

On the women's side, just one week after place 2nd at the Missoula Marathon (3:05 and change if I remember correctly), MSU-Billings' Lisa Minnehan pulled off a double of her own.  Winning the 5K in 19:15 , she came back yesterday morning to win th 1/2 marathon in a new course record of 1:30:25.

So, once again - Montana's athletes show great reliliency in the heat of Billings and turn in some great performances at the big sky state games.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Missoula Marathon

Year number 4, and the Missoula Marathon continues to be among the standard bearers for excellence in running events in Montana.  Having won the 2009 Runner's World Reader Survey as Best Overall Marathon in America, the event almost doubled in size this year - from 2300+ runners to about 4200.  In spite of the rapid rise in participants, the race still kept a great "hometown" feel.  Great energy, great excitement, great times.  Now - on to the Buzzard's thoughts from the race.

Great peformances in both the full and half marathon.

Meg Lerch with a new CR in the women's open half at 1:22:24.
Debbie Gibson with a new CR for the women's master's marathon at 3:15:26

All 4 open winners (men's and women's full and 1/2) from Missoula.
Men's and Women's Master's full marathon winners from Helena.
Great to have a race of this size and competitive level with a bunch of home grown talent.

Jimmy Grant continue's his hot running year with a 1:11:10 half marathon win (just one week after a 1:13:15 to win the Twin Cities Red, White and Boom 1/2).

The performances of the day however came on the men's side.  Both of these runs were impressive enough that they equal billing from the Buzzard.

Keifer Hahn wins his 3rd Missoula Marathon (and defends his 2009 title) in a new course record 2:30:37.  A 2:40 improvement on his record from last year and oh so close to the first sub-2:30 in Montana in over 20 years.  He went out hard (1:13:11 at the half), was never challenged and won by just under 11 minutes.  It was a great performance.

Equally impressive - Kyle Strode's 2:47:00 to win the master's race and place 4th overall and beats the master's record by 7:50.  Beats a great master's field that saw 6 guys under 3:00.  Kyle Litton (not sure of hometown)(2:49:07), Mike Telling of Dillon (2:50:43) and Scott Gaiser of Kalispell (2:54:20) were all under the old record as well.

I do have to aplogize to Kyle.  I had missed him when he first came in.  We were having some computer problems and he got "lost" in the crowd of 1/2 marathoners.  I saw Telling come in and assumed that he was the first master and gave him credit for the new record.  A few minutes later I saw Kyle in the finish area, he signed to me his time and it became clear that I had some back pedalling to do. 

Seeing the Higgins Bridge completely full with spectator's and runners for a couple of hours from about 1:30 into the race until about 4:00 into the race.

Seeing the crowd go ape shit as a big group of runners cranked over the bridge and just made it under the 4:00 barrier.

Trisha Miller wins the women's marathon at just over 3 hours (3:02:22) and blows kisses to the crowd as she crosses under the line.

Hearing the crowd noise when 83-year old Bob Hayes comes into the finish line.

Watching almost 1500 marathons head out in the early morning sunrise and fill the road for about 100 meters behind the start line as the UM ROTC cannon blast breaks the morning silence.

Getting a chance to hang out wit a bunch of runner's over the weekend and visiting with lots of friends at the expo on Saturday.

Working on a new personal tradition of marking the course late on Saturday night with Anders Brooker and his uncle Jay.

The excitement as Fran Gilday came across the line.  This was Fran's 50th state in which she finished a marathon.  A goal she first started working on in 1983.  She had a support crew of about a dozen folks, all dressed in red, coming over the bridge with her. 

There were just so many great stories during the course of the weekend - it really helps a guy to stay in love with the sport after spending a weekend like that.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard