Race report: AlfaDog 40 Mile

AlfaDog 40 Mile

40 Mile #1 / Ultra #12

March 7, 2020

Place: 15/15

Time: 10:15:48

I was excited about this inaugural event from the moment I came up with the idea for it while sitting on a park bench in my hometown of Pretty Prairie on the Saturday of Easter weekend, 2019.

Like all races I host, I was determined to run this one. Especially this one. One day after my birthday, I wasn’t NOT running this race.

First things first, I was hyped about the sweet shirt design. Thanks to our friends at Fincher’s Findings, Inc. I am determined to round up a few more sponsors for next year, but I don’t hate rocking the big Fincher’s logo on the back of these shirts. They earned it for that design.

For those who haven’t heard/read already, the race name and logo come from Pretty Prairie’s most famous ever resident, Carl Switzer — aka ‘Alfalfa’ from Lil Rascals/Our Gang, along with the high school mascot of the Bulldogs.

Yeah, that’s a Bulldog with Alfalfa hair and bow-tie. Freaking awesome.

I gave Brett Fincher a specific vision for the logo and he and his people knocked it out of the park. Kami and I made finisher awards. I designed the bibs. This one had a real small-town, homemade feel to it. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

flat Derrick

Flat Derrick.


Names in gold, plus a monster truck sticker on all bibs (my 2-year-old son, Bryant’s idea).

I got back in town on Friday night — my birthday. We made our way around the course to scope out the roads and get a lay of the land before race morning.

Even had a close encounter with some deer.

Woke up early on Saturday to prep our aid stations, mark turns and all that fun stuff.

And now, for the most breathtaking shot I took on the day…

sunrise 2

Pretty Prairie, indeed.

Greeted folks and handed out bibs and shirts, gave some pre-race instructions and got ready to run. Of course, in all my haste, I forgot my water bottle on the first loop. Oops.

bib on shorts

This bib would be a just a bit more tattered by the end of the day.

Another great shot I’m really happy we took was a pre-race group shot. My logic was wanting to get the group all at once since we didn’t have an official photographer on the course. Turned out to be a nice memento of our first race and a group I only hope will grow from year-to-year.

group shot

2020 AlfaDog participants.

We had 25 people sign up for our inaugural event — 17 in the 40 mile and 8 in the 25K. I’m hoping to grow both those numbers next year. But I’m happy with them for this year, especially with our 40 miler turnout.

I ran too fast and too much in my first loop. Couldn’t help myself. Got caught up chatting with various runners throughout the first loop and a half as I slowed down and they never seemed to.

I didn’t mind. I was enjoying myself and really just wanted to make sure others were as well. I also wanted to capture as much of it as I could and simultaneously pull off RD duties.

I got in a bunch of cool course shots of dirt roads that never seem to get old — to me, anyway.

I got in a couple shots with some friends.

me and Lisa

That’s Lisa. She’s one of my most favorite humans.

me and trio

Krista, Jennifer, Ingrid. They’re super fun.

Some shots with no one.

selfie on course

It was windy out there, man.

Oh, and of course I had to grab a shot with my favorite co-race-director.

me and Kami

I’ve called this woman my assistant for the last time. She’s as much or more a part of putting these things together as I am. Love her. 

I got word well before my day ended that we had our winner. He actually passed me at the aid station of my second loop — his third. Yeah, he lapped me. With several miles to go. He’s a fast human.


40M winner, Andy Sivanich (5:22:33)

He was almost twice as fast as I was. Lol. I’m not even mad, I’m just impressed.

Believe it or not, I eventually crossed the finish line.


Place: 15/15 (DFL) … Time: 10:15:48

All in all, an incredibly fun, rewarding day. I’m so thankful for all the people who joined us and hope many of them will be back and bring some friends next year.

I had the course marked a bit long (better than short) at 40.76 miles, which was good for… well, a whole lot of steps on the day. Thanks for that exhausting information, Garmin.

Already excited for next year — race day March 6, which is ON my birthday this time. Speaking of next year, registration is open!

2021 AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K Registration

If you want to see more information on this race, check out our page on Ultra Signup (link above) which also has results uploaded — link here. And don’t forget to ‘like’ our Facebook page — link here.

Next up: (I have had two races, a 5K and 50K, canceled over the course of the next three weeks)Flint Hills 50 Mile — Saturday, April 18 — Manhattan, KS


Race report: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon

Half Marathon #34

January 18, 2020

Place: 47/123

Time: 1:58:19

Seems like we just did this. Back in 2019, this event was pushed back 7.5 months to August 31, which made myself and others skeptical that the event would continue moving forward. If it had been up to me, I would’ve kept it on Labor Day weekend. But it wasn’t — and they didn’t.

shirt design

I don’t love the shirts compared to the pullovers in previous years, but it’ll do.

I was impressed they got 100+ people signed up again with that quick of a turnaround, but it’s always nice to do a race here in town and not worry about travel and lodging.

Two weeks prior, as usual, I ran the course preview run, where I got to meet a couple new folks and had a good time, despite the cold temps.


It would be much of the same on race day. This was the race day forecast as of a few days prior.

Both times I’d run the race previously, I had run it in 2:17:something, going just a few seconds slower the second time than in the first. In the preview run this time around, I got it done in 2:13:something.

Wasn’t sure what to expect on race day. I knew sub-2 was highly unlikely and I had no aspirations of that, if I’m being honest. I was just hoping to beat that 2:17, but didn’t expect faster than 2:10.

Guess again.

I went to work for a bit first thing, to get our youth basketball game tipped off and actually wound up officiating a game due to an illness by one of our veteran officials. Nice little race day warm-up, am I right?

I then went to Indian Hills Elementary School, the site of the start line.

Indian Hills Elementary

Indian Hills Elementary School


Pre-race swag.

back of shirt

Back of the shirt.

I went out strong, with plans to fall back a bit as the miles ticked by. I told myself that I’d hold the pace until I felt I couldn’t any more, then back off.

Turns out, that time never came.

I also told myself to run up the hills because I knew once I got to the tops of them, I wouldn’t want to start running again — so that helped.

Urish Hill

At the top of the hill on Urish.

I realized after a few miles that I would probably beat my 2:17 time.

I realized after I conquered the Urish hill that I would likely beat 2:10.

I realized once I hit the gravel/dirt roads at mile 8 that if I could hold a steady pace, sub-2 wasn’t out of the question. Honestly, that’s what kept me going.

I saw the cross country team from Shawnee Heights High School (I coach at the middle school and knew a few of them) volunteering at the mile 12 aid station.

Knew I would beat two hours, as long as I stayed moving and didn’t walk. Actually thought to myself that if I could get down to the 1:57 range, I could potentially beat my time by 20 minutes.

I didn’t quite get that, but it was still a very successful day, as I crossed the finish line in 1:58:19. I was pretty excited about that time — especially on this course. Sub-2 is pretty challenging for me these days, but this course is really tough and I often commented how it just wouldn’t happen here.

But it did.

Can’t be mad about that.

Splits: 8:47 | 8:56 | 8:47 | 8:51 | 8:51 | 8:48 | 9:14 | 8:48 | 8:56 | 8:52 | 9:31 | 9:15 | 8:59 | 8:07 (0.2 mi)

post race

I got fifth in my age group, but they had extra mugs, so I got one. I felt like I earned it on this day.

Next up: AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K — March 7 — Pretty Prairie, KS

Race report: Hangover Half Marathon

Hangover Half Marathon

Half Marathon #33

January 1, 2020

Place: 126/171

Time: 2:33:14

logoYet another Hangover Half Marathon to start the year off on a good note.

Weather: Mid-20s to low-30s, low wind, sunshine.

I had no real goals going into this one, as I just wanted to get some miles in and enjoy my new watch I got for Christmas. Kami got me the Garmin Forerunner 945 watch — hands down the coolest and most unexpected Christmas gift I’ve ever received. I love it and am still playing with new features on it each day since.

I actually wound up running a pretty good pace in the early miles and felt good throughout. At the midway point, I decided I’d pick up the pace a little bit. I was on pace to finish in the 1:54 – 1:56 range if I maintained my pace — although I was actually speeding up.



I feel you, bro.

UNTIL… I took a wrong turn. No, really. Myself and at least two other runners got off course and wound up going too far. When it was all said and done, I had run 15.38 miles — officially finishing my slowest half marathon time ever. But pace-wise, I wasn’t mad about anything. I still had a really good run overall.


After ditching a couple layers and laughing about the extra mileage.


Finisher swag.

Next up: Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon — Saturday, January 18

Race report: Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Christmas Corral Half Marathon

Half Marathon #32

December 21, 2019

Place: 27/50

Time: 2:19:10

Directing this second year event was another fun experience. Our numbers dipped slightly, as we had just a few fewer finishers than in 2018, but we had great weather once again and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Despite not running in the past three weeks, I decided I’d give it a go — with a suggestion from my good friend Lisa Johnson to run together giving me just the nudge I needed.

flat derrick

Rather than finisher mugs, we opted for stocking caps, offering two different colors for participants to choose from. They turned out to be even better quality than I expected and they seemed to go over well.


Got up early with my brother Jon to mark the course as Kami, her sister Macey and my mom all prepared the registration table and post-race items like hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

2.25 aid station

Sunrise at mile 2 as we marked the course.

5.25 aid station

Sunrise at mile 5.25 as we marked the course.

I gathered folks in the high school gym lobby, gave a few pre-race instructions and we headed to the start line for the start of the half marathon.

start group

Group at the start line. Courtesy photo: Christopher Eshelman


Drone shot of the start line. Courtesy photo: Corby Stucky

Lisa and I eased in to a fairly comfortable pace, all things considered — that being me on rusty/heavy legs and out of shape lungs, with Lisa having dealt with an illness recently.

Neither of us was on top of our game, but I had a great time running and chatting with my friend, nonetheless.

Lisa and me best

Lisa and I running together near the first aid station.

We got a little slower as the race went on, but still kept moving. It was nice to see the pavement for the last stretch and turn by the water tower — even though the old classic one is now gone. The new one will take some getting used to. Anyway…

Lisa and me 1

Lisa and me, nearing the finish line.

We crossed the finish line and I went inside to eat some cookies and enjoy some hot chocolate. I then helped with some finish line duties and cheered folks in as they finished their own race.

lisa and me selife

Always good to see my friend and share some miles.

2019 Christmas Corral Half Marathon + 4 Mile RESULTS

Thanks to everyone who joined in for this fun, low key event for the second year in a row. I’m always happy to see a good turnout at an event I host.

A day or two after the race, I received our 2020 Rodeo Run logo, which runs along the same course…

2020 Rodeo Run logo

Registration for the 2020 Rodeo Run (July 18) can be found — HERE.

Registration for the 2020 Christmas Corral (December 19) can be found — HERE.

While you’re at it: Registration for the 2020 AlfaDog 40 Mile + 25K can be found — HERE.

Next up for me: Hangover Half Marathon — January 1, 2020 — Leawood, KS

Race report: Thanksgiving Day 5K

Thanksgiving Day 5K

5K #53

November 28, 2019

Place: 3/30

Time: 25:17

The annual free Thanksgiving Day 5K was moved at the last minute this year, since the Gazaway family recently moved and was unable to host this year’s event.

I helped supply bibs, while others helped organize and set up a course, starting and finishing at Prairie Hills Middle School in Hutchinson.

Usually, there are 250-300 people in attendance, but the changed venue and gross weather resulted in only 30 runners this year.

No worries. Still good to get in some miles with friends before spending the day with family eating everything in sight.

me, Jess, Lisa

Jess, Lisa, me

I ran the whole race with my friend Lisa, who is quite a bit faster than I am at this point. But we had fun running together and chatting, eventually tying for third place overall.

Splits: 8:20, 8:18, 7:53, 7:17 (0.1)

Lisa and me

Lisa is easily one of my most favorite running friends.

Next up: Christmas Corral Half Marathon — Pretty Prairie, KS — December 21


Race report: Spooky Sprint Half Marathon

Spooky Sprint Half Marathon

Half Marathon #31

October 27, 2019

Place: 119/151

Time: 2:33:15

race logo

Wanted one more race with Bryant before the end of the year, so I signed up for this one at Longview Lake in Kansas City. I had been there before for a different race and really enjoyed it.

This experience was an interesting one for a few reasons:

  • They ran out of safety pins and asked runners to donate spare ones.
  • Bryant got cold and was tired, so I handed him off to Kami at 7.3, going the rest solo.
  • It started out out pavement, but quickly transitioned to a soft, fine gravel course.

Still an enjoyable experience overall, despite Bryant struggling. I was happy Kami was there to take him or I would’ve had my first ever DNF at a half marathon. The kid perked up once he warmed up and saw a dog at the finish line. But yeah, he wasn’t having it out there. No worries, though.

Not sure if I should count this as my fourth stroller-pushing half marathon or not, since we didn’t make it the whole way together. Oh well.

Here are some photos:

shirt and bib


Race report: Heartland 50 (DNF)

Heartland 50

October 12, 2019

Place: DNF

Time: –:–:–

It has been eight days since my DNF at the fall version of Heartland 50. I will keep this report short.

My mind was elsewhere and my body was unprepared. I called it a day at mile 25.57 and went home to see my family. I’d been pretty busy lately and hadn’t spent enough quality time at home. That needed remedied more than I needed another finisher award.

My phone blowing up with work issues simply exacerbated my desire to not be out there all day long.

This was the first/only ultra so far that I’ve done without staying in a hotel the night before. I don’t believe that was a factor in my DNF, but it certainly didn’t help the stress levels having to get up at 3:30 and hit the road at 4.


Here are a few selfies I took during the day:

Here are some shots of the course:

Here are some shots of the singular most ridiculous shirt I’ve ever seen at a race event of any kind:

race swag

Seriously. I wish that was a joke, but it isn’t. I can’t even begin to understand that one.

Mile 90 Photography was out there once again and once again, did a phenomenal job. Despite the DNF, I really enjoyed these photos:

And here is what apparently happens to your bib when you get a DNF:


My kid is an artist, you guys.

Probably shouldn’t have signed up for this one to begin with, but I was stubborn and wanted to give it a go. My next ultra will have to wait until 2020 — almost certainly the new one I’m hosting and will also run — AlfaDog 40

Next up: Spooky Sprint Half Marathon — Sun, Oct 27 — Kansas City, MO