Yakima River Canyon Marathon
April 3, 2004
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
The surprising feature of the fourth annual YAKIMA
RIVER CANYON MARATHON on Saturday, April 3, 2004, was the weather. It was ideal for good
running, and this was reflected in the nine new age class records being
set on this date. In the previous three races there was good weather in
the early miles, but then it became too warm, too cold, too sunny and/or
windy.....but not this year!! It was a beautiful, spring day in the
canyon with yellow masses of balsamroot and white-flowered Juneberry trees
for viewing on our awesome course.....and the weather was GREAT.
Bart Gurgel, 29, of Saginaw, Michigan, and Doug Wordell, 38, of Spokane
ran together for the first eleven miles before Bart pulled away to finish
with a personal record (PR) 2:38:46 (6:04) and a new course record for
25-29 males. A few minutes later Doug crossed the finish line in second
place with a 2:42:33 (6:13). In third place was local runner Rick Becker,
49, from Selah and a member of the sponsoring Hard Core Runners Club.
Rick set a new course record for 45-49 males with a 2:51:19 (6:33).
Two other HCR local runners vied for first and second place for the women.
Cary Steinman, 38, of Moxee prevailed with a 3:14:18 win (another age
division course record). Carol Stuhley, 41, of Yakima had a 3:16:17
second place finish and a course record for 40-44 females. It was faster
than her winning time at the inaugural YAKIMA
RIVER CANYON MARATHON in
2001. In third place for the women was Wendy O'Neal of Spokane with a
time of 3:25:46.
At the far end of the age spectrum, Keith Wood, 75, of Seattle (an
Australian transplant) beat all veteran runners ten years junior to his
age! His excellent time of 4:02:29 (9:16) established a course record in
the 75-79 male age division. He finished 127th of 330 overall which means
that he preceded 60% of the total field of younger runners.
My race went well, and I attribute it to the ideal weather and the recent
marathons which were my training for the YRCM. It was a pleasure to run
for several miles with my friends Nelsen Petersen of Lincoln, Nebraska,
and Peter Graham of London, England. Nelsen and his Kibo Production
cameraman were interviewing and filming runners on the course. This was
in relationship to our marathon's selection as a "Destination Marathon"
for 2004. Lenore and I look forward to obtaining a video of the finished
Peter is the secretary of the original 100 Marathon Club in London and a
50 Stater. I run with him every year or so when he comes to the United
States to add more states to his "States List." This was his third YRCM.
Another friend whom I saw often on the course was Jack Swanson of Spokane.
Jack was running for four minutes and then walking for one minute. I
would pass Jack while he walked, and he would then pass me as he ran.
This went on for awhile until I pulled ahead and lost track of him.
I passed Mel Preedy of Ravensdale in mid-race, and he seemed to be
struggling from recent injuries. When he is 100% well, I never see him in
I walked/ran the two major hills at Mile 14 and Mile 22-23 and reached the
summit in good condition. Then I regained some time on the downgrades
that followed. The downgrade three miles to the finish went quickly, and
I crossed the line in 4:41:49 (10:46), 223rd of 330 finishers. I was
first of five in the 70-74 male division.
Ed Driver, 78, of Palm Desert, California, and his wife Lois were a big
help volunteering throughout the race weekend. They had been our
week-long hosts at Oahu during the Honolulu Marathon last December and
accepted our invitation to come to Yakima. Ed was the oldest runner in
the marathon and ran a fine 5:02:16, 262nd overall and second in the
75--79 male division.
Brenton Floyd, 18 (and then 19 on April 7), was on hand from Harrison,
Tennessee, with a marvelous story to tell about megamarathoning. Brenton
started running marathons at age 10 as he accompanied his grandmother,
Betty Burrell, who is an accomplished marathon walker. In 2003, Brenton's
count for the year was 52 marathons/ultras. This includes 17 weekend
DOUBLES!!! He is a 50 Stater who became the youngest finisher ever at the
age of 16, and he completed his 100th marathon the same year! He's a
member of the 100 Marathon Club North America and a new member of the
Marathon Maniacs. On April 3rd he completed his 208th marathon/ultra in a
time of 4:31:45. The next day he ran the Mt. Si 50K run at Snoqualmie,
Washington, in 6:15. On April 10th he ran the Easter Marathon at
Millersylvania State Park in Maytown in 4:18:06. That's TWO marathons and
ONE ultra in 8 days!
Congratulations to Donna Nettleship of Selah, Washington, for completing
her first marathon in 4:08:28. Donna, a Hard Core Runners Club member, is
the designer of the distinctive YAKIMA
RIVER CANYON MARATHON logo that is
worn on our shirts.......from Victoria, BC, to London, England, and many
places in between.
We're honored that Ray Scharenbrock, 70, of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
chose our marathon as his 500th marathon/ultra. His megarunning
accomplishments are legendary. He has finished eight 50 States & DC
cycles and is well on the way for his ninth tour. He is the first to run
that many. He runs about 48 marathons and ultramarathons every year in
the United States and foreign countries.
Jose Nebrida, 62, was on hand for his fourth YRCM. As the inspirational
speaker at our Friday night pasta feed, he once again reminded us how
fortunate we all are to be Americans. Wearing patriotic running attire
and carrying the United States flag as he participated in the marathon, he
delighted all who cheered him on.
Helmut Linzbichler, also 62, of Harbor Springs, Michigan, and Austria
included our marathon on their itinerary as and his wife traveled to their
skiing vacation at Whistler, BC. He's had many adventures in his life and
seeks more. For example, he has run across the United States from the
west coast to the east coast. He also has climbed Mt. McKinley in Alaska,
the highest mountain in North America.
Many thanks for the support we get from Joe Henderson and Martin Rudow.
Joe performed masterfully as the announcer at the start and the finish of
the marathon for the fourth consecutive year. Martin, editor and
publisher of Northwest Runner Magazine, promotes our race in his magazine
and widely distributes our registration forms for us.
Thanks, also, to Marty Wanless, Sports Etc, all other sponsors and
contributors, committee members, volunteers, the Hard Core Runners Club,
and the communities of Yakima, Selah and Ellensburg.....all supportive of
our marathon. Special thanks go to Mitch and Wanda Mitchell who came from
Bend, Oregon, to chauffer the race director, Lenore Dolphin, on the course
during the marathon.....to Ruth and Roelif Laughlin who (for the fourth
time) brought all of the flowers for our weekend from their home in
Shoreline (north of Seattle)......and to our son Jeff Stensland and his
family (Tara, Steven and Samantha) from Mt. Vernon who (also for the
fourth time) provided a pickup and trailer for transporting the "Drop
Bags" from Ellensburg to the finish area.
The participation of Marathon Achievers, 50 Staters, 100 Marathon Club
members, Marathon Maniacs and unaffiliated marathoners is also
appreciated. We hope that all will return to run the FIFTH annual YAKIMA
RIVER CANYON MARATHON with world famous marathoner, Dick Beardsley, on
April 2, 2005.
Written by Bob Dolphin