Puget Sound Marathon
August 19, 2001
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
Running the Puget Sound Marathon at Elma, WA, was something I had wanted to do in recent years, but there were always conflicts. This year there was no problem, and it fit nicely into my marathoning schedule on Sunday, August 19, 2001, eight days after the Crater Lake Marathon. Elma is a small town located midway between Olympia and Aberdeen. The three race medly (5K, half marathon, and marathon) started and finished at Vance Creek Park in a rural setting near Elma. The double out-and-back course was on a two-lane, black-topped road that was flat except for some long, easy grade rises and declines. There were horses in pastures, alfalfa and hay fields and an occasional farm house interspersed with forest, wetlands and streams. This made a pleasant pastoral setting.
At 9:30 a.m., the combined marathon and half marathon fields of about 70 runners left the park area and headed in a southwesterly direction to the quarter-marathon turnaround. During the second out-and-back loop, the front runners of the marathon were admired as they came back. With wide gaps between them, there was the winner, Michael Mahurin, 31, of San Francisco, CA, who ran a 2:45:16. In second place was John Neels, 47, of Williams Lake, BC, finishing in 3:08:50. Next, in third place overall and the first woman to finish was Ashley Feaver, 24, of Helena, MT, with a time of 3:18:11. I saw her go by three times in an opposite direction, and I was really impressed by her running form and speed.
David Whedbee, 33, was the lone wheelchair entrant. He led the field and finished around 2:30. He cranks his wheelchair one-handed....truly a strong arm!
In the early miles I found myself passing a young lady as she walked periodically and then being passed by her when she resumed running. As she was carrying her water supply in a camelback water holder, my curiousity was around, so I talked with her. She was Jane Nigra, 24, from Atlanta, GA, and she was running her fifth marathon. She was following Jeff Galloway's run/walk program of an 8 minute run followed by a 1 minute walk....done repeatedly. By using her own water supply, she could run through the aid stations and not interrupt her running schedule. It worked for her as she pulled away and finished in 4:07:24, 2nd place trophy winner in the 20-24F division.
When I passed the halfway mark in 2 hours and 2 minutes, I calculated my potential finish time by doubling this time and adding ten minutes. This came to 4:14, but I wasn't sure I could make it. The high, maritime fog had dissipated, a few cumulus clouds appeared, the skies became sunny, and the temperature rose to the 70's (not my kind of weather). With the half marathoners off of the course and the fast marathoners way down the road, I concentrated on overtaking runners who were slowing down in the second half of the race. I caught two going out and four coming back.....and wasn't passed by anyone. This diversion helped to pass the time and miles as I made my way to the finish in a time of 4:14:05. I was 12th of 35 finishers and first (and only) 70+M.
At the finish line at a park picnic shelter, I found Lenore collecting bib tags and running the operation with the assistance of our friends Ilene and Harold Mazanti from Ocean Shores. The Mazantis were our gracious post-race hosts for the remainder of the weekend.
Steve Christofferson took excellent photographs of all runners early in the race. Prints (5x7's) were mounted on a display board at the finish line and were available for purchase at the reasonable cost of $8.00. Steve had provided a similar service for the participants at our inaugural YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON on March 31, 2001.
There were runners from 15 different states and one Canadian province. I saw several 50 States and DC Group members wearing their distinctive singlets. Presumably they were adding "Washington" to their state lists. One of them was Stuart Olson from Chuluota, FL. Brian Kessler, 55+, a Marathon Achiever from Olympia, WA, was the only regional runner whom I recognized in the race. He ran a 4:16:25.
As usual, race director Bob Green was all over the course. He directed the runners and volunteers as he put on three simultaneous, well-organized races and kept the events running smoothly. There was ample water, Gatorade and cut fruit at the aid stations that were located every mile and a half. This helped keep heat problems to a minimum. Only one marathoner didn't finish because of heat exhaustion. Many thanks to Bob and all of the volunteers for their diligence and support.
This is a good marathon to run in August. The high fog helped to keep it cool for part of the race, and the temperature and relative humidity were moderate for this time of year. I expect to run it again....as long as it doesn't conflict with the Crater Lake Marathon or the Hood to Coast Relay. Bob Green conducts many races during the year, and I enjoy running as many of them as I can. This year I will run at least three of his marathons. I have already run his Easter Marathon and the Puget Sound Marathon, and I look forward to running his Christmas Marathon in December.
Written by Bob Dolphin