Birch Bay Marathon
December 9, 2006
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
As I arrived at the State Park for the 8:00 a.m. early start of the Birch Bay Marathon on Saturday, December 9, 2006, several friends greeted me by saying, "Where's Lenore?" As the Dolphin Marathon Team we had gone to 276 marathons and ultra-marathons together and countless shorter races in the past 14 years. I explained that Lenore had a successful heart procedure earlier in the week in Yakima and that she was resting at our son's home in Mt. Vernon. She had received an early Christmas present of four stents to correct a 95% blockage in a coronary artery.
When we took our early start, the weather was ideal with a temperature of 40 degrees and a calm and overcast sky. I was tempted to leave my TyVek jacket and stocking cap in the car, but that would have been a mistake. The weather deteriorated badly later on. I watched the group pull away and ran alone, admiring the natural history of the Birch Bay and Blaine environs.
There was a Douglas Squirrel in a fir tree, and several hundred Mallards were flying from a park strip pond as they reacted to the runners going by. Offshore in the bay there were about 100 Canada Geese and a few Ring-necked Ducks. Later, Ron Fowler and Karen Wiggins told me of a Bald Eagle that they had seen by Drayton Harbor as they passed by. I had missed it and had to settle for my first Winter Wren sighting of the season. At four inches long, it's one of our smallest birds in the Pacific Northwest. There were snow remnants in the area from a recent storm, the first snow I'd seen here since running my first Birch Bay Marathon in 1993.
The out-and-back section on the Semiahmoo Hill gave me a chance to say "Hi" to early starters Dave Dutton, Brad Privett, Stan Nakashima, Jon Nevitt, Rick Haase, James Klarich, Mel Preedy and Jim Boyd. Eventually, the regular starters passed me on my first or second ten mile loop, and they all greeted me or visited awhile in passing.
Normally, this marathon is a pleasant, scenic run, but when there is cold, driving rain with a 20 to 30 mph headwind as happened in the last 10K, it became a challenge to find the finish line! By then, I was walking and occasionally stretching calf cramps.
When I left the bayside housing area and entered the State Park, I knew that the finish line was only a half mile away. I finished in 6:17:15, my slowest time of the year and one of my hardest marathons ever.
Race director Scott Krell knows how to treat the finishers. He provided a van with a warm stove, hot food of chili, hotdogs etc., and soft drinks. I revived quickly, visited with Scott and running friends Mark Hartinger, Al Herman, Chris Ralph, Tom Ripley, Van Phan, Mel Preedy, Arthur Martineau, Tony Covarrubias, Rick Haase and others before I headed south to join Lenore and the Stensland/Edmonds family at Mt. Vernon. It had been a satisfying day.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin