Yakima River Canyon Marathon
April 2, 2005
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
We made big plans for our 5th annualYakima River Canyon Marathon to make it another spectacular marathon weekend for all of our participants. Packet pickup started at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1st, in the beautifully refurbished Selah Civic Center. By 5:30 p.m. our annual pasta meal was served, and an hour later Lenore was ready to give her traditional "Nuts to You" awards.
She introduced many of our racers and acquainted the audience with some of our guests. She proudly started with Jeff Hagen from Yakima who always wears race #216 for his accomplishment of setting a U .S. age record for 50 year olds by running 216 miles in a 48 hour race! Next she introduced Fenny Roberts of Salem, Oregon, who ran 121 miles in a 24 hour race. Fenny has sung the national anthem for us at all five of our races. Steve Boone, a founder and officer of the 50 States Marathon Club, came from Humble, Texas, to run our marathon with his wife Paula on his 56th birthday!
Everyone met most of the runners who were featured in Scott Sandsberry's stories in the Yakima Herald Republic newspaper. Joe Espinoza of Yakima trained to run his first marathon in memory of his dad Pete Espinoza, an avid runner who lost his battle with cancer early in 2004.
100 Marathon Club members Dan Archambeau came from Sebring, Florida, to compete in his first marathon after heart surgery last June, and Chuck Cammack from Albany, Oregon, was there to run his first marathon after radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
Gunhild Swanson of Spokane turned 60 last year and is breaking a lot of course records. Cathy Troisi of Seneca Falls, New York, ran our inaugural YRCM on her 55th birthday and returned on her birthday to run it again.
Joe Henderson, well-known author of running books and articles from Eugene, Oregon, joined us for the 5th time as our start and finish line announcer. He had been our guest speaker at YRCM #1 and YRCM #2, so it was appropriate for him to introduce Jose Nebrida from Chicago, Illinois. Jose was our guest speaker for YRCM #3 and YRCM #4 and has participated in all of our races.
Jose then introduced our guest speaker for YRCM #5, Dick Beardsley, U.S. fourth fastest marathoner!! It was a record crowd of 279 adults and 24 children who came to our pasta feed to hear his inspirational presentation and to buy his autographed book, "Staying the Course."
Dick's busy weekend began that morning with a talk about his successes and also about the low points in his life at an assembly for the Selah High School student body. The track team and their coach had an additional treat of a "question and answer" session with him and Joe Henderson.
We're in awe of this famous runner who honored us with his presence for our special celebration. He's in awe of our course and was at the starting line with 376 others on race morning to hear the Burlington Northern Train whistle send the participants on their way. We were again blessed with perfect weather for our race!
The many volunteers at the aid stations cheered everyone as they came by. Jerry Martin, 57, of Spokane was the first to cross the finish line in a time of 1:54:20. He raced in his new, hand-crank wheelchair and broke his old course record by 13 minutes.
Participating in his second marathon, Scott Bailey, 34, also of Spokane raced a respectable 2:29:50 for second place in the wheelchair division.
Dick Beardsley holds the course record at the Napa Valley Marathon. It was at this race in 2004 that Lenore and I met that year's winner, Nik Southwell, of Victoria, BC. We congratulated him on winning the race, his second marathon, in 2:28:56. We told him about the Yakima River Canyon Marathon and encouraged him to enter it some time. We were pleasantly surprised that he chose this year to join us.
This 30 year old professional triathlete, in his third marathon, ran our challenging course to win the race in 2:30:34, the second fastest time on the course to date. He was only 51 seconds off of the course record established by Jose Garcia in 2002.
As Nik accepted his winner's picture of the canyon, he made brief remarks about the marathon, the directors, staff and volunteers that were very complimentary….and much appreciated.
Cliff Richards, 44, of Maple Valley came in second with a 2:45:21 as he improved his time by five minutes over his November 2004 Seattle Marathon finish. In third place was Jeff Hashimoto, 34, who coaches cross-country at Ellensburg High School. He finished in 2:49:21. As the first local male to finish, he won a pair of running shoes provided by our sponsor, Brad Vaux, of Vaux Shoes in Yakima.
Cliff Banister, 44, of Pendleton, Oregon (3:00:19) and Steve Israel, 52, of Black Diamond (3:01:07) placed 4th and 5th.
Mary Hannah, 43, of Maple Valley won the women's race with a time of 3:05:50. She was only two minutes off of the course record set by Sam Saunders in 2003. In second place was Annie Thiessen, 34, a Marathon Maniac from Tacoma (3:09:10). Claudette Augert, 41, of Edmonton, Alberta, finished third with a 3:12:53.
There were five women in the race who made the top 10 best all-time course times since the race began in 2001. The other two were fourth and fifth place finishers, Merita Trahimovich, 38, of Gig Harbor (:3:13:21) and Jennifer Yogi, 29, of Seattle (3:15:21).
The first local woman finisher was Kerrie Rodriguez, 36, of Yakima (3:29:19) who won a pair of running shoes, courtesy of Vaux Shoes.
The following runners established new course records in their five year age and gender divisions. For the men: Cliff Richards, 44, 2:45:21; Larry Carroll. 65, 3:29:34. For the women: Annie Thiessen, 34, 3:09:10; Mary Hannah, 43, 3:05:50; Gunhild Swanson, 60, 3:38:49; Dolores Scott, 68, 4:56:02.
There were many who qualified for Boston, and I'm pleased to report that Anne Conner, 24, and Sommer Reynolds, friends from Puyallup, running their second and first marathons respectively, qualified and are Boston-bound this month!! Anne ran a 3:39:33 (first in her age division) while Sommer ran a 3:41:07 (second in her age class). Congratulations!
There were about 40 Marathon Maniacs in the race. Steven Yee, 45, of Renton, a founder of the club was the first maniac to finish. He was in 6th place overall with a 3:01:56 and was first in the 45-49M division.
My YRCM this year was a new experience for me. Because of my injury in a marathon on November 7, 2004, I chose to walk the entire 26.2 miles (to make sure I'd be a five-time finisher!) Soon after the train whistle started the race, the runners moved out quickly, and before long the rest of us walked alone.
In the first and second miles, right angle turns in the road allowed me to count the walkers ahead of me. I concluded that I was 11th of a dozen walkers. In the next several miles I noted that there were two others including myself who didn't do any running.
They were Bernadette Langdon, 51, of Portland, Oregon, and Bill Whipp, 60, of Harrison, Ohio. Bernadette races marathons often and has walked the Boston Marathon. Bill had run 26 marathons prior to his right knee replacement surgery in 1997. Since then, he has walked 145 marathons with his new knee!! In YRCM #5, his time was 5:15:03, and Bernadette was close behind with a 5:15:31.
In the second mile I enjoyed walking with Jose Nebrida. By his patriotism of carrying the flag in every race, he reminds us how fortunate we are to be Americans.
In the third mile we entered the canyon, and I'm always impressed at the beauty and scenic variety that is revealed as we passed a few farms and miles of wild country. The canyon was greening from new grass, wildflowers, and the leafing of trees and shrubs. Large yellow daisies were conspicuous just past the canyon entrance.
Being in the back of the pack with no more than one or two walkers in view, I had time to appreciate the natural history of the canyon during this spring growth period. The tranquility was broken only by those friendly oases known as aid stations.
In the second half my pace was slower than the first half by one minute per mile. There were two major hills to negotiate, and after that is was "all downhill" to the finish where I crossed the line in 6:48:13, third of three in the 75-79M division.
Keith Wood, 76, of Seattle, finished in 5:10:08, for first 75-79M. Our oldest runner, Ed Driver, 79, ran a 5:31:40 for second place.
Because this was our fifth year, we honored the 34 participants who completed all of our marathons at the awards ceremony/dinner. A white tyvek jacket with our logo on it and a running starfish with a "Five-Time Finisher" design on the front, a bottle of wine and a special certificate were presented to all of them.
This year we welcomed a record number of 34 Canadian runners. Ten were from a Calgary running club. We appreciate their participation and hope that they'll return and bring their friends.
The runners who came from the farthest distance were Raymond Hoyle, 62, and Alan Morton, 73, both of the United Kingdom. They are longtime members of the 100 Marathon Club UK, and both of them joined our 100 Marathon Club North America on this, their second visit to Yakima and the YRCM.
It was good to see the large number of 50 Staters and 100 Marathon Club members
who came to our race. We enjoy their company and it is good to see them each
year. We're happy to announce that our April 1, 2006, Yakima River Canyon
Marathon will be the first quarter reunion marathon for the 50 States Marathon
We made big plans this year, and when we hear from runners like Franceska Drozdz of Litchfield Park, Arizona, and Shari Okamoto of Los Angeles, we know that our plans to have a great Fifth
Yakima River Canyon Marathon
Franceska sent this message, "Thank you for a wonderful weekend. The breakfast the next day made it even more intimate and I liked the way you had everyone stand up and talk. Loved my yellow rose at the finish. It was my 37th wedding anniversary that week and my attendants carried a single yellow rose."
Shari ran our marathon on her 46th birthday and wrote: "I can't thank you enough for making my birthday (and anniversary) so incredibly memorable before, during, and after the
Yakima River Canyon Marathon. I know that I'll be the envy of my friends when I tell them that Joe Henderson announced my name as I crossed the finish line AND he wished me happy birthday and anniversary! And I got to shake hands with Dick Beardsley as he handed me my fifth place award."
For the first-timers who had a foot sticker on their bibs, for the five-time YRCM finishers who had a star on their bibs, and for all of the rest, it was another great marathon weekend. Join us next year, and you'll hear Joe Henderson call your name as you finish AND Dick Beardsley will be back to run 26.2 miles on our awesome course.
Written by Bob Dolphin