Prince of Wales Marathon
May 28, 2005
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
This was our third consecutive Prince of Wales Marathon (POW) at Craig, Alaska, and the Dolphins hope to return in future years. We'll continue to tell our friends about this great event and encourage them to join us in sampling a unique running experience.
This year Lenore and I were joined by six others for our end-of-May adventure in south Alaska on the third largest U.S. island. In this group, Helmut Linzbichler, 63, of Austria lives the farthest distance from Craig. Next were Roger Biggs and Jack Brooks, members of the 100 Marathon Club UK, from the London, England, area. Ed and Lois Driver of Palm Desert, California, join us at marathons several times a year, and Bruce Katter of Edmonds, WA, is a long time friend whom we see at many marathons.
It was good to see Milton Taylor again, a 50 Stater from Odenton, MD, who ran our inaugural Yakima River Canyon Marathon in 2001. He's working on his third 50 State Marathon cycle.
There is much to like about the POW Marathon. It reminds me of some marathons that I went to years ago in which everyone either knew everyone else, or the newcomers were welcomed and soon knew most everyone. The community would support the event by participation as athlete, organizer, volunteer or contributor until everyone was involved in some manner.
As we gathered at the starting line near the town of Hollis, we all agreed that it was a great day to run a marathon. On this Saturday morning it was sunny with few clouds, and the temperature was in the high 50's with a light headwind. By the end of the race for the 27 marathon finishers and the many marathon relay teams the temperatures were in the mid 60's, and the cooling headwinds were moderate. For an island that averages 99 inches of rain per year, it was amazing that this was a "rain-free" day!
Race director Doug Rhodes made some announcements, and then Priscilla Welch, the featured speaker at the pasta feed, started the race by firing a shotgun into the air (away from the crowd).
Most of the first mile was downhill and I felt good, especially when I reached the first milepost in less than 10 minutes. By the third mile most of the running field was in front of me, but that was okay. I was running erect and without discomfort, and the miles were ticking by.
I enjoyed being in the Tongass National Forest to get pleasure from the natural history. I recognized the drumming of the pileated woodpeckers, but the birds remained hidden. The blossoms of buttercups, thimbleberries, columbines, bunchberries, Labrador tea and many more plants provided a medley of color to the Alaska forested and mountainous landscape. Pine butterflies and small bumblebees were out in force to feed while pollination took place.
Distractions aside, the many up-hills forced me to concentrate on the race and alternate a run/walk rhythm until the downgrades were reached and I could coast with gravity. By the halfway mark my tilt to the right had returned, and I had to resort to walking and a shuffle. The last 5K went by quickly, and I crossed the finish line at a seaside park in 5:38:51, 21st of 27 finishers. If there were age class divisions, I would have been 4th in the 70+M group, following Bruce Katter, Milton Taylor and Ed Driver.
Aaron Prussian, 30+, the 2003 winner from Thorne Bay (POW), was the first solo runner to cross the finish line. His time was 2:59:56. Amelia Ingerssoll, 40+, of Columbia, MD, was the first woman with a finishing time of 3:35:19.
Congratulations to race director Doug Rhodes of Craig for finishing his first marathon in 5:29:57. Kudos to John Smith of nearby Klawock for improving his personal record time by 45 minutes with a 4:29:59!!
Congratulations is also extended to Thomas Morrison of Hydaburg (POW) for completing his first marathon as he accompanied his sister Diann Morrison-Wilson of Eugene, OR. They both finished in 5:50:10.
Each year that we've been at the Prince of Wales Marathon Lenore and I have been amazed at the quality of their running/celebrity speakers who have highlighted the weekend. In 2001 Joe Henderson was at Craig for the second consecutive year to lend his knowledge and humor to the event. Last year Jeff Galloway was the speaker who convinced the audience that judicious walking can help most runners to finish a marathon. (It works for me.)
This year Priscilla Welch, an energetic 60 year old runner from Bend, Oregon, (formerly a Brit), still exhibited the same verve as she did in her early 40's. That's when she set many records, two of which are forever unique.
With minimal training, at age 36 she ran her first marathon, a 3:26, at the Stockholm Marathon. She improved and really made her mark as a masters woman runner. In 1984 at the Olympics Marathon in Los Angeles at age 39, she finished in sixth place on a warm day. Her time of 2:28:54 set a British women's record.
In 1987 at the London Marathon, 42 year old Priscilla came in second behind Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway. Her 2:26:42 finish set a world master record for women that still stands 18 years later! Considering all of the top women runners who have entered the masters ranks since 1987, this is a remarkable longevity for a record.
Later that year during the "Greta Weiss of Norway Era" of nine wins at the New York City Marathon, she was the winner there with a time of 2:30:17. Greta won in 1986 and 1988.
At POW Priscilla impressed everyone with her friendly personality and positive approach to enjoying life. This was reflected in her presentation at the pre-race pasta dinner and the many conversations that we had with her during the marathon weekend. I will never forget that she ran with me in the last 100 yards to the finish line and then complimented me on my race!
With 228 marathons to his credit, Helmut Linzbichler, 63, from Austria is a megamarathoner of a different breed. He's run across the United States from one coast to the other! During the winter months he's a ski instructor at Harbor Springs, Michigan. He's also a mountain climber and has scaled many peaks in different parts of the world.
He met our POW host, David (Roadkill) Johnson, when both of them ran the 2004 Yakima River Canyon Marathon. In Yakima they were guests of Mike Hendricks of the YRCM committee. Roadkill and Lenore both encouraged him to run the Prince of Wales Marathon, and he did…..with a sub-four hour time of 3:56:05.
Thanks go to Roadkill and Pauline Johnson for being the hosts for Priscilla Welch, the Dolphins and their friends by providing lodging, delicious meals, transportation and entertainment over the weekend. I'll always remember checking crabpots with Roadkill!
Thanks, also, to Chuck Haydu of the marathon committee for the boat ride that Priscilla, Helmut, Lois Driver, Jack, Roger, Lenore and I thoroughly enjoyed. From Craig through island straits to the open sea and return, we had close-up observations of humpback whales, Steller sea lions and sea otters. It was a great experience!
Each trip to POW has offered a variety of wonderful, new adventures, and we look forward to the next one on Memorial Day weekend of 2006.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Marathon Results follow
Prince of Wales Marathon Results - May 28, 2005
2:59:56 Aaron Prussian, 30+, Thorne Bay, AK, 1st Male
3:15:11 Jesse Agner, 17, Petersburg, AK, 2nd Male
3:26:22 Bill Elberson, 57, Ward Cove, AK, 3rd Male
3:28:48 Doug Riemer, Petersburg, AK
3:35:19 Amelia Ingersoll, 40+, Columbia, MD, 1st Female
3:48:35 Arthur (Jack) Brooks, 53, St. Albans, UK
3:51:51 Andrew Miller, Sitka, AK
3:55:50 Roger Biggs, 56, Stevenage, UK
3:56:05 Helmut Linzbichler, 63, Austria/Harbor Springs, MI
4:00:06 Sarah Bellamy, Craig, AK, 2nd Female
4:18:26 Kelly Repert, Ketchikan, AK, 3rd Female
4:21:37 Brian Raper, Thorne Bay, AK
4:26:34 Chris Nelson, Ketchikan, AK
4:26:44 Mike Cleary, Klawock, AK
4:29:59 John Smith, Klawock, AK
4:46:45 Lincoln (Bruce) Katter, 70, Edmonds, WA
4:47:34 Milton Taylor, 72, Odenton, MD
4:51:17 Mark McCready, Port Townsend, WA
5:00:33 Ed Driver, 79, Palm Desert, CA
5:29:57 Doug Rhodes, Craig, AK
5:38:51 Bob Dolphin, 75, Renton, WA
5:44:04 Cathy Thomas, Juneau, AK
5:50:10 Diann Morrison-Wilson, Eugene, OR
5:50:10 Thomas Morrison, Hydaburg, AK
6:44:10 Jeff Sheakly, Craig, AK
6:59:16 Brynn Castle, Craig, AK
6:59:16 Barbara Moots, Craig, AK