February 9, 2003
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
On December 22, 2002, I ran the Christmas Marathon which starts and
finishes at Millersylvania State Park near Olympia, Washington. Seven
weeks later on Feburary 9, 2003, I was back to run the Valentine Marathon
on the same out-and-back course through forest and rural settings. It is
deja vu all over again, especially since I ran the same course for the
Easter Marathon earlier in 2002 on April 20th. With outings in previous
years here, it adds up to my being thoroughly familiar with this course,
and I enjoy running it one to three times per year.
Bob Green, the race director, does a marvelous job of running these three
holiday events plus the Halloween Marathon (yes, the same place!).....and
the Puget Sound Marathon at nearby Elma, WA. The Valentine event was
typical as Bob offered the marathon, a half marathon, a 5K and a 1 miler.
The weather was good for running....temperature in the 40's, overcast
skies (except for a few miles) and infrequent 15 mph winds.
There were many friends on hand, and most were from the Pacific Northwest.
Fenny Roberts, 50, (4:50:24) from Salem, Oregon, took an early start with
Jim Scheer, 60, (4:50:25) of Vancouver, and Larry Brown, 63, 5:16:28),
also of Salem. Davey Jones, 57, (3:34:59), Jim Kunz, 54, (3:57:42), Ron
Fowler, 55, (3:34:49), and Jon Gissberg, 59, (5:09:45) came from the
Seattle area. Ron had run a windy and cold Las Vegas Marathon the
previous weekend and was ready for more tolerable race conditions.
There were a number of 50 Staters on hand. Bill Sweetay, 60, (4:21:12)
from Union, Kentucky, was running his 33rd marathon to complete a race in
his 30th state. He is well on his way toward completing all of the states
John Bozung, 49, (4:35:34) a 50 Stater from Orem, Utah, has a remarkable
record of having run a marathon a month since October 1993. He hopes to
break the national record some day, but he'll have to keep his string (now
at 113 months) going until 2012. Lenore and I met John at the Portland
Race Directors Conference several years ago and have seen him at a number
of marathons since then. His record is legendary. He is the first
American to have run marathons on all seven continents in one year, and he
is a "State Finisher." He is a member of the 50 States and DC Marathon
Group, the 50 States Marathon Club, and of the 100 Marathon Club North
America. He has a marathon PR of 2:52:03 and a total of 155+
marathons/ultras. In addition, John is the race director of the Squaw
Peak 50 Mile Trail Run in Provo, Utah.
Jon Gissberg of Seattle (and Alaska) has upped his goal from one marathon
per year to one marathon per month! His January marathon was in Southern
California. February brought him to the Valentine Marathon, and March
will take him to the St. Patricks Marathon in Elma. Then on April 5th, he
will run the YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON.
A nice feature of this course is that it is an out-and-back marathon where
one sees the whole field near the turn-around.....those in front and those
behind. In my eleventh mile, Kevin Andras, the eventual winner, ran by.
Kevin, 36, of Mukilteo, WA, ran a 2:56:14 and was followed by Quentin
Philips, 46, of Vancouver, WA (3:15:29) and Larry Harding, Jr., 39, of
Arrada, WA (3:20:26).
The women's division winner, in third place overall, was Connie Ridenour,
44, of Spokane who ran a swift 3:18:44. The second and third place women
were Kate Law, 25, of Everett, WA (3:21:42) and Lynne Butler, 46, of
After the 1/4 marathon mark the field thinned out quite a bit as the half
marathoners turned back. My run was going about the way it usually does
these days, and I ran a 2:05 half marathon. However, it took me 2:30 to
run the second half as I finished with a 4:35:26, 39th of 51 finishers and
first 70+ male.
Judy Fisher, 59, our friend from Auburn, WA, ran the half marathon in a
time of 1:51:18 to finish first in the 55-59F division. She finished
ahead of all women over the age of 42. Way to go, Judy!
I'm looking forward to returning to Millersylvania State Park on April 19,
2003, to run the Easter Marathon.
Written by Bob Dolphin