Walk with Me Marathon
June 20, 2004
by Bob Dolphin
In the past decade it was always a treat to visit with Lenore's sister Dorothy and her husband Walt Kahle as we passed through Eugene, Oregon. They lived on the ground floor of Willamette Oaks, a retirement complex that is adjacent and parallel to the Willamette River and its wooded shores. While at their home, I always enjoyed looking through the patio's sliding glass door at the turbulent river and seeing runners on a trail by the far shore. I wished that I could join them, but there was no bridge nearby. However, within the past two years trails were added to the shoreline next to Willamette Oaks, and they extended in both directions to link up with other trails to form an extensive trail system on both sides of the river.
When Dorothy (by then widowed) sent me a copy of the entry form for the inaugural Walk with Me Marathon and Half-Marathon on June 28, 2003, it was an opportunity for me to explore the Willamette River and its parks and trails in the Eugene area. Lenore and I had a marvelous weekend in which we joined Dorothy and Joe Henderson for a post race lunch at a riverside restaurant where we could watch some of the walkers, runners, and bikers pass on the trail that was part of the race course.
Unfortunately, Dorothy passed away on March 16, 2004, so we realized that a visit to Eugene would never be the same. This year we returned to Eugene so that I could run the Walk with Me Marathon on June 20th while Lenore volunteered at a picnic shelter near the start/finish area. Some of our friends were participating, and we like to think that we had some influence for their presence.
There was a good turnout for the 7:00 a.m. start at the Alton Baker Park across the river from the city center, and it was great seeing Joe Henderson there as he wished us well. About 300 participants signed up for the two races. Of these, there were 78 runners and walkers who started the marathon, and the remainder participated in the half marathon.
It was a clear and sunny day with the temperature in the high 60's at the start. It rose to the low 80's by the end of the race. Fortunately, there were light breezes, and about half of the race course was shaded from the shoreline trees ( native forest or tree plantings).
The course was initially a clockwise loop on both sides of the river. Runners crossed on footbridges with two short out-and-back stretches at each end of the course. The finish line was reached at 13.1 miles at which point the half marathoners exited and the marathoners reversed their direction to run a counter-clockwise loop to finish. The almost flat course was scenic as it passed through two parks, some fields, and a shopping mall.....by suburban housing, a school, restaurants and apartment buildings.
My first half went well, and I enjoyed the pleasant scenery. I felt sadness as I ran past Willamette Oaks because Walt and Dorothy were no longer there. I had dedicated my race to them.
In the 11th mile Tony Phillippi and Chris Warren, the leaders, ran by......for their second loop. By the time I reached the halfway mark, about a dozen other runners had preceded me. My time was close to my recent average, but the heat affected my running in the latter miles. By Mile 20 my running pace became a walking pace, so I walked in at a 14 minute pace with Dude Spelling, a fellow Marathon Maniac from the Portland area.
It was nice to reach the finish line and be welcomed by Lenore, Joe Henderson, Tony and Chris. We waited until all of our friends finished and then visited with them before leaving the area.
The outstanding running performance of the day was put on by Tony Phillippi, 42, of Tacoma, WA, and Chris Warren, 36, of Renton, WA, as they led the marathon field. These Marathon Maniac founders ran together, prevailed against the heat and set a course record of 3:29:25. This was Tony's 11th marathon in 10 consecutive weekends.....and he has more consecutive weekends planned!!! Chris also has an impressive string going.......10 marathons in 10 consecutive weekends!! My 6 marathons in 6 consecutive weekends is more modest, but it extends my previous string record by one.
Bernadette Langdon, 50, of Portland who briskly walked the Walk with Me Marathon was a participant in three consecutive marathons in three weekends. We saw her at the Newport Marathon (Newport, OR) and the North Olympic Discovery Marathon (Port Angeles, WA) prior to the marathon at Eugene.
Bob "Dude" Spelling ran back-to-back races. The day before he had run a 50K trail race in Portland's Forest Park and joined me for the last six miles of the Walk with Me Marathon.
It was good to see Susan Marshall, 58, of Duncan, BC, again. She had finished second in her age division at Port Angeles the previous weekend. At Eugene she passed me in the 20th mile and finished at approximately 4:45:00. She credits me for encouraging her to run this race as she and her husband vacationed in the States.
Thanks go to Lynn Kahle (son of Walt and Dorothy Kahle) and his wife Debi Eisert for being our gracious weekend hosts. And THANKS to Tyler Burgess, race director, and her many volunteers for putting on this interesting marathon and half marathon for walkers and runners.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Partial Results Walk with Me Marathon June 20, 2004
(1) 3:29:25 Tony Phillippi, 42, Tacoma, WA
(1) 3:29:25 Chris Warren, 36, Renton, WA
4:45:00 Susan Marshall, 58, Duncan, BC
5:09:41 Dude Spelling, 30+, Portland, OR Area
5:09:41 Bob Dolphin, 74, Renton/Yakima, WA
5:27:00 Janice Kay Moyer, 47, Wellpinit, WA
5:39:06 Fenny Roberts, 51, Salem, OR
5:39:06 Jim Scheer, 62, Vancouver, WA
6:00:00+ Diane Anderson, 65+, Enumclaw, WA