Loop the Lake Marathon
August 12, 2006
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
In Yakima at the annual 2004 picnic of the Men and Women of the 50's, a group of alumni from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, I first met Barbara and John McCorry of Invermere, British Columbia. Barbara and my wife Lenore, one of the three organizers of the picnic, were classmates for four years at Central.
At the 2005 picnic John, a graduate of Puget Sound University in Tacoma, and Barbara invited us to visit them at Invermere in southeast British Columbia and participate in the Loop the Lake Marathon in early August.
We were interested in doing this, even though it conflicted with the date of the Crater Lake Marathon. Because this favorite race had become too much of a challenge for my 76 year old body, we decided to accept the invitation to travel to Invermere, BC, for the August 12, 2006, Loop the Lake Marathon.
It was an easy drive to our destination. From Yakima we went to Spokane on I-82 and I-90 and then on to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. From there we followed Highway US 95 north to the Canadian border and continued on Highway 95/93 to Invermere.
This is an attractive small town with year-round residents, but it attracts many summer visitors. It's located on the north shore of a narrow mountain lake in a valley bordered by rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains.
This area was everything that the McCorrys and Al Harmon, a Marathon Maniac from West Vancouver, BC, described. When we talked with Al at the Disney World Goofy Challenge in January 2006, we learned that he was the overall winner of the 2005 Loop the Lake Marathon.
At packet pickup the day before the race at the Invermere Best Western Hotel, I was given bib number "1326"….."13" as in half marathon and "26" for the full one! We were given a friendly welcome by Peter McIsaac, one of the race organizers, and by Susan Miller, registration director. Peter gave Lenore her instructions as a volunteer for the multi-event finish line the next day at the park-like setting at the Pynelog Cultural Centre. Sue recognized me from the 2006 Coeur d' Alene Marathon when she ran the half marathon.
Beginning at 6:00 a.m. on race day, there were a lot of events offered. A complete clockwise loop of Windermere Lake on paved roads started at this time. It was an ultramarathon of 63.3K (39.25 miles) for solo runners. Relay teams running this distance began at 7:30 a.m.
The marathon and half marathon participants were bused to their respective starting lines on the same course. They, too, ran to Invermere in a clockwise direction with an 8:00 a.m. start for the marathon and an 8:15 a.m. start for the half marathon.
The 10K race ran point-to-point counter clockwise from Windermere to Invermere starting at 8:00 a.m. Concurrently, as part of the 10K, was a Senior Relay and an Octogenarian run/walk for over-80 year old participants.
The weather was ideal with a temperature of 55 degrees fahrenheit at the start, no wind and overcast skies. During the race on the scenic, rolling course there was a cooling headwind of 5-10 mph. At the conclusion of the marathon, the temperature was 70 degrees with partly cloudy skies. It was great weather for an August marathon.
The course had many hills, but they were neither long nor steep. The distant view was of towering mountains, and nearby it was of fields, forests and areas with shrubs. I enjoyed the solitude in the first half of the marathon as I ran alone enjoying the landscape.
A bald eagle flew overhead and then was gone. When I ran alongside Windermere Lake, I spotted an osprey, ring-billed gulls and a great blue heron. Many wild flowers were in bloom at a time when they are past-bloom at lower elevations. Rose and purple-colored flowers of fireweed, Canada thistle and spotted knapweed brightened the grassy landscape.
A highlight of the run was to cross the Columbia River on a footbridge in a golf course while on a paved golf cart trail. The headwaters of this mighty river is north of Invermere.
In the second half I caught up with Mike Jones, 61, of Kimberley, BC, who was running the ultra. He had run our Yakima River Canyon Marathon on April 1, 2006, and told me that he enjoyed it. He had been running two hours longer than I and was 26 miles ahead of me in real miles. He then stayed in sight for ten miles and this helped to pull me along to my second best marathon of 14 in 2006.
Because it was downhill to the finish line in Invermere, I really enjoyed the last mile of the race. I finished in 5:04:38, 19th overall and the last one to finish the marathon.
At the finish area I congratulated Lonnie Matsuno of Calgary, AB, who ran a 2:51:27 to win the race. He hopes to run the 2007 Boston Marathon.
In second and third places were Dan Doupovec of Calgary (3:01:30) and Paul Benoit of Cochrane (3:20:34). The winner of the women's race was Janae Bateman of Edmonton, AB, with a time of 3:41:07. Coming in second and third were Sherry Wille of Vernon, BC, (3:42:35) and Patina Lee Valiukas of Surrey, BC, (4:02:35).
Our friend Jon Mahoney, husband of Sherry Wille and a Marathon Maniac from Vernon, was the winner of the ultramarathon as he "looped the lake" in 5:40:09. Jon and Sherry plan to run the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania in 2007.
The well-organized Loop the Lake Marathon and associated events are sponsored by the Invermere Rotary Club that provided a delicious pancake breakfast for all participants and spectators. The timing for all events was accurate, the results were posted immediately, and an award ceremony was held at the conclusion of each event.
Lenore enjoyed the day as a volunteer at the finish line…..and we thank Barbara and John McCorry for inviting us to Invermere. We recommend this race to all marathoners.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin
RESULTS: Loop the Lake Marathon, August 12, 2006
2:51:27 Lonnie Matsuno Calgary,
3:01:30 Dan Doupovec, Calgary,
3:20:34 Paul Benoit, Cochrane
3:21:12 Jeff Raugust, Calgary,
3:41:07 Janae Bateman, Edmonton,
3:42:26 Tyler Hayward, Lethbridge
3:42:35 Sherry Wille, Vernon
3:50:21 Nathan Brooks, Vanderhoof
3:56:59 Michael Morel, Calgary,
4:02:35 Patina Lee Valiukas, Surrey
4:04:52 Tracey Broome, San Anselmo, CA
4:05:56 Tom McCaig, Swift Current
4:10:00 Mark Lawall, Winnipeg
4:12:55 Darrell Penner, Calgary
4:22:44 Scott Tallman, Calgary
4:26:02 Wayne Llewellyn, Calgary
4:34:25 Austin Mueller, Vanderhoof
4:43:47 Mike Cardell, Calgary
5:04:38 Bob Dolphin, Renton/Yakima, WA