Walk with Me Marathon
June 18, 2005
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
For our sixth marathon in six consecutive weekends, Lenore and I drove to Eugene, Oregon, for the third annual Walk with Me Marathon on June 18, 2005. This is the only marathon that is available on the paved trails in parks and the wooded shoreline along the Willamette River there.
I have good memories of the Worlds Veterans Masters Marathon on August 6, 1989, on some of the older trails in that area. Also during a recent ten-year period when we visited Lenore's sister and brother-in-law at their riverside retirement home at Willamette Oaks, I enjoyed walking and running on the trails on both sides of the river. So, I welcomed the opportunity to return to this pleasant setting for more exploration.
The course is a double loop that used two footbridges and trails on both sides of the river. All participants did a clockwise loop of 13.l miles, and the marathoners continued by reversing course and retracing a counter-clockwise loop.
The first two years I chose to run on this mostly flat course, but this year I joined the "walking" majority of the 217 participants at the 7:00 a.m. start at Alton Baker Park. Of that total there were 138 in the half marathon and 79 who completed the full marathon distance.
The running winners of the marathon were Brad Carmack and Simeon Brandon, both 22 and both of Provo, Utah. They had spent 14 hours driving from their homes to run their first and fifth marathons, respectively, in less than three and a half hours. Congratulations!
The winner of the walking race was Mark Stroble, 37, a commercial pilot from Creswell, Oregon (near Eugene). He power-walked the 26.2 miles in a phenomenal time of 3:55:00 (9 minute pace) in his first marathon!!
My first 100% walking marathon at Eugene turned out better than planned, partly due to favorable weather. While I was on the course, the temperature was in the 50's to low 70's with partly cloudy skies and gentle breezes. However, about six and a half hours into the race a thunderstorm brought a heavy downpour of rain.
I walked briskly and concentrated on a 15 minute pace, but my finish time of 6:20:40 gave me a 14:30 pace. That was good enough for a negative split by three minutes and a personal record by 27 minutes over my Yakima River Canyon Marathon walk on April 2, 2005. I enjoyed the natural history of the river, adjacent fields and strip forests. Gravel pit ponds and city parks also had interesting wildlife.
There were four of us who sported Marathon Maniac singlets. Cyndie Merten, 48, of Corvallis, OR, (fresh from the Park City Marathon a week earlier) finished in 5:25:00. Fenny Roberts, 52, of Salem, OR and Jim Scheer, 63, of Vancouver, WA, had a time of 5:55:00. Both of them are five-time finishers at the Yakima River Canyon Marathon.
As in past years, Lenore was a volunteer in the picnic shelter finish area and assisted with packet pickup, food preparation and finisher T-shirt distribution. After the race started, she enjoyed visiting with Joe Henderson, renowned running author who lives in Eugene.
He had completed his early morning run from Alton Baker Park and was there to wish us well at the start. I recommend to all runners and walkers a visit to his website www.joehenderson.com and also to read his column in the bi-monthly Marathon and Beyond magazine.
Linda Belton of Roseville, CA (near Sacramento), participated in the full marathon in 2004 and did the half marathon this year. She is a fitness coach who brought five people with her to participate in the Walk with Me Marathon and half marathon. She plans to bring a similar group to the Yakima River Canyon Marathon on April 1, 2006.
Our good friend Don Lang, 70, came from Glendale, CA, to run his 397th marathon at Eugene. He plans to run #400 on his 71st birthday on July 31, 2005, at the San Francisco Marathon. Don has run more marathon/ultra events than anyone west of the Mississippi River, and he has completed four cycles of 50 States and DC!
He has also run marathons in all of the provinces and territories of Canada and Australia., 24 European countries plus Greenland, Iceland, Africa, New Zealand and many more far-flung places. We look forward to seeing him again at the inaugural SeaFair Marathon in Bellevue, WA, on July 10th.
Tyler Burgess, race director of the Walk with Me Marathon, teaches classes in "walking for fitness" at Eugene. She also organizes guided walking tours in various cities and regions in the United States and Europe throughout the year. We thank her and the race volunteers for putting on a well-organized non-competitive walking marathon at which runners are welcomed.
Our sixth marathon in six weeks provided another great weekend for the Dolphin Marathon Team!
Written by Bob Dolphin