February 11, 2007
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
For the first time ever I ran two consecutive marathons on the same course in different events. On December 23, 2006, it was the Christmas Marathon starting and finishing at Millersylvania State Park south of Olympia, Washington, and on February 11, 2007, I returned to run the Valentine Marathon on the same course.
These are holiday emphasized marathons directed by Bob Green. He also has a Halloween Marathon there in the fall, but the Dolphin Marathon Team is off to Washington, DC, at that time for the Marine Corps Marathon.
Due to hitting the wall early and having to walk the second half, I ran one of my slowest times of 2006 at the Christmas Marathon (6:11:16). I devised a new strategy for the Valentine Marathon. Taking a 9:30 a.m. early start, I decided to run a twelve minute mile (slower than usual) to see if I could avoid or delay a mid-race slowdown. While the problem wasn't entirely eliminated, it was only in the last five miles that I walked more than I ran. My official finish time was 5:28:21, much better than my last three times on this course.
The weather was good with air temperatures rising from 45 to 55 degrees during the event. It was overcast to partly cloudy with intermittent light rain. At times the 15 mph south wind was more of a hindrance than a help. After the 21st mile there was a light tailwind as we headed for the finish on the
At the one-hour early start a small group of marathoners and several half marathoners ran out of the park and soon headed south on Tilley Road (State Highway 121) on the scenic, rolling-to-flat, out-and-back course. In the early miles I visited with Jon Gissberg and Amelia Gailey, both from Seattle, and Jon's friend Hajimi Nishi, a megamarathoner from Tokyo, Japan, who runs many American marathons. Jon, known by his Marathon Maniac (MM) nickname as "Barefoot Jon," wore thin, flexible sandals on this day because of the gravel embedded pavement.
The next runner whom I visited with has an interesting story. Richard Takata from the Toronto, Canada, area has run close to 380 marathons and ultramarathons. His goal is to run 7 marathons on the 7 continents in 7 weeks to establish a new world record. He began this adventure on January 28, 2007, and has completed marathons in Germany, Japan and Westport, New Zealand (the day before!) Marathons in Egypt, Antarctica and Argentina are upcoming to meet his goal. He hopes to raise $120,000 for cancer research at the Prince Margaret Hospital.
The winner of the Valentine Marathon was Ben Wessenyelen, 23, of Seattle with a time of 2:57:07. In second place was Kevin Prentise, 44, of Edmonds with a 2:59:19. These two were running together as they passed me in my 11th mile. Coming in third was MM Gregg Walchli, 44, of Seattle. He looked strong as we greeted each other. His finishing time was 3:02:37.
The women's race was won by Ann Armstrong, 44, of Poulsbo with a time of 3:10:07. Last year at the Yakima River Canyon Marathon she was the second overall women's finisher. MM Annie Thiessen, 36, came in second for the women with a 3:19:24. She was accompanied by MM Tony Phillippi (3:19:33). Both are from Tacoma. MM Christel Elliott, 28, another Tacoma resident, was third with a time of 3:35:35. Congratulations to Christel for her new PR and Boston Qualifying time! MM Mel Preedy, 73, of Ravensdale ran a good time of 4:27:30.
It was a pleasant surprise to see MM Jim Simpson, 65, of Huntington Beach, CA, and MM Larry Macon, 62, of San Antonio, TX, on the course. Wherever we go for marathons, we always see old friends.
In conclusion, I learned that I can run the Millersylvania State Park course faster if I start out at a conversational pace and then run/walk the best that I can in the second half of the marathon. A continuous walk is relatively slow and needs to be delayed as long as possible.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin