Vancouver International Marathon
May 4, 2003
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
When Lenore and I left Karl Jensen's home in Richmond, British Columbia, on Sunday morning, May 4, 2003, it was raining and the temperature was in the 50's......tolerable running conditions. Ordinarily our weekend host would be running in the adidas Vancouver International Marathon with me, but
he is undergoing treatment for an injured knee and had to pass this year. Karl is the first Canadian to run the "grand slam" within one year. That's six 100 mile trail races in North America....quite an accomplishment! He has run more than 102 marathons and 58 ultramarathons in his 20 year run
ning career, so we hope that he'll be back to marathoning again soon.
After a half hour drive to Vancouver, we found a new parking garage near the BC Stadiium start/finish area. Here we saw Jim Boyd, a 50 Stater friend from Seattle and San Diego. Jim is on the injury comeback trail and is making steady progress.
As we moved to the starting area, we met Max Meixsell and his brother-in-law Tom Potter, both of the Seattle area. Max had run in the inaugural YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON (YRCM) on March 31, 2001. This year he and Tom volunteered at the YRCM and made the 150 mile drive to help out and give so
mething back. The previous night Lenore and I enjoyed being present at the dinner that Max arranged at the Old Spaghetti Factory at historic Gastown in downtown Vancouver. Runners and their families from the Seattle and Vancouver areas enjoyed each other's company as we carbo-loaded.
Steve King, the emcee from Penticton, BC, entertained the runners at the start and finish of the marathon, the half marathon and the kids' run. He introduced Nicole Dawson, a talented 12 year old, who sang the Canadian national anthem before the start of the first two races and an inspirational
song before the start of the marathon.
After Steve started us off, we warmed up quickly and ran comfortably. At the end of the first two miles I found myself running a 9:30 pace, so I figured that four hours and thirty minutes was the best that I would run on this day.
In the third mile a runner about my age and I began talking on the Burrard Bridge upgrade. He said his name was Bill Greer. He's 74, and lives in Delta, BC. Both of us had run the Vancouver Marathon in 2002, but we hadn't met before.
A few miles later, I had an interesting experience. I was running with a group when a woman running next to me blew a whistle. Immediately, all of the runners around me, to the front and to the sides stopped running and shifted to a walk. Realizing that I was in a pace group that walks periodi
cally, I zigzagged throught the group and went on.
It was a friendly field, and many runners said something kind as they passed me. Many times runners would tell me when they had last seen me in an earlier marathon. They had better memoies than I!
Running in Gastown and Stanley Park was pleasant. In the latter there is a mile long hill just beyond the halfway point that gets one's attention. Race officials with whom we talked after the race said they hoped to change the course next year and will eliminate that hill to make the course fas
ter. There is a small trail in the park that will be substituted.
In the second half there was an out-and-back stretch from Mile 18 to the Mile 20.5 turn-around and then on to Mile 23. I passed many friends going in the opposite direction. They are mentioned in my partial results list.
Mel Preedy, who turned 70 on April 10, was the only one in front of me that I knew was in the 70+M division....but you never know until you see the race results!
In the last few miles the rain and wind increased, and we had to climb the Burrard Bridge incline for the third time. Minor cramps and wall symptoms slowed me down, but the last mile was downhill and then flat....so it's an easy mile. I finished in 4:31:00, 2,712th of 4,332 and 2nd of 11 in the
70+M division. It had been a good race.
The Vancouver International Marathon 2003 was won for the fourth consecutive year by Uli Steidl, a German citizen who is a graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the first runner to have won it this many times in a row. His winning time of 2:20:22 was only three minu
tes slower than the course record he had set last year. He had a nine minute lead over Phil Kochik, 25+, also of Seattle, who ran a 2:29:22. Uli was also recognized as first in the 30-34M division. His prize money award was $3,000 US. The third place finisher was George Kimathi, 25+, of Kenya
. He led most of the race but faded in the closing miles and was passed by Uli and Phil.
Defending her win from last year, Angela Strange, 23, a graduate student from Toronto, ON, returned for another win. She ran unchallenged to finish 14th overall with a 2:46:22. In second and third place were Trisha Rosenberg, 25+, of Seattle who ran a 2:58:23 and Kim Jones, 30+, of Abbotsford,
BC, who finished in 3:01:10.
Mae Palm, 63, of Garibaldi Heights, BC, continued her winning ways. She came in first in the 60-64F group with a 3:50:24. Lenore and I enjoyed our annual lunch with her during our pre-marathon week at Whistler.
This was the first marathon for Mel Preedy since his 70th birthday, and I'm happy to say that he came in first in our age division with a 4:19:15. Bill Greer finished third in this group with a 4:54:23.
Al Homenchuck ran his 70th marathon in 16 years at the age of 70 in a time of 5:14:54 and finished 6th of 11 in the 70+ division. He is still running marathons in spite of having a benign brain tumor removed less than a year ago. Lenore and I went to a party after the marathon and prior to the
awards ceremony at Al and Catherine's home in Burnaby to celebrate his 70th marathon. Many relatives and running friends were at this celebration. He has been a run leader at the YMCA marathon clinic for 13 years and was honored by this group later in the day.
Bob Lehew and Gina Moore found us in the crowd before the start of the marathon. Bob is the director of the Oklahoma Marathon in Tulsa and president of the 50 States Marathon Club. We have been running each others marathon for the past few years and hope to continue this tradition. Bob ran The
Boston Marathon soon after the YRCM this year and had a good race. Gina is a 50 Stater from Dallas, TX, who ran our inaugural YRCM. Our paths cross often at marathons.
It's always good to see some of our YRCM participants at other marathons. Michael Barton from Edmonton, AB, had just run our third annual YRCM on April 5, 2003. When he saw us, he thanked us again for the great time he had at our race and encouraged the others in the group we were with to run i
t next year.
We saw Steve Barrick several times at the marathon. Steve is a co-director of the Green River Marathon that will be on Saturday, June 7, 2003. This race goes from Kent, WA, along a paved trail by the Green River and finishes at Alki Beach in West Seattle. To enter this interesting race, contact Steve at (253)854-4916.
At the awards ceremony the top three finishers in the age classes were given unique awards of cube shaped wooden boxes with removable lids. They were crafted by the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver. Native American designs of fish, birds and mammals adorned the sides of these attractive boxes.
I was pleasantly surprised when Uli Steidl spoke to Lenore and me after the conclusion of the awards ceremony. This was the first time that I had met him. We talked about marathoning.....obviously! He said that he would like to run in the Boston Marathon some day. Several days later when I re
turned home, I saw Uli's picture on the cover of the May issue of Ultrarunning. This magazine recognized his win of the Way Too Cool 50K, a trail event on March 8, 2003, at Cool, CA, in a time of 3:18:17. This excellent time was 17 minutes faster than the next finisher and a course record.
The 32nd annual Vancouver Marathon was another great marathon experience. We thank the race director, the committee and all of the volunteers for continuing to provide us with this annual day of racing.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Vancouver International Marathon........Partial Results List
3:19:27 Michael Wakabayashi, 55-59M, 3rd, Spokane, WA
3:24:26 Steve Barrick, 40-44, Kent, WA
3:24:37 Pete Hansen, 45-49M, Ferndale, WA
3:25:53 Tom Potter, 30-34M, Seattle, WA
3:27:04 Max Meixsell, 40-44M, Seattle, WA
3:36:22 Jon Mahoney, 50-54M, Vernon,BC
3:40:55 Jon Burg, 25-29M, Seattle, WA
3:43:39 Bob Lehew, 60, Tulsa, OK
3:47:08 Michael Dutton, 33, Bellingham, WA
3:50:23 Jim Kunz, 50-54M, Seattle, WA
3:50:24 Mae Palm, 60-64F, 1st, Garibaldi Heights, BC
4:09:00 Gina Moore, 50-54F, Dallas, TX
4:11:17 Michael Barton, Edmonton, AB
4:19:15 Mel Preedy, 70+M, 1st, Ravensdale, WA
4:24:24 Richard Andrew, 55-59M, Mukilteo, WA
4:31:00 Bob Dolphin, 73, 2nd, Renton/Yakima, WA
4:35:06 Larry Phillips, 40-44M, Lake Forest Park, WA
4:48:26 Jim Boyd, 60-64M, Seattle, WA
4:54:23 William Greer, 74, 3rd, Delta, BC
5:14:54 Al Homenchuck, 70, 6th, Burnaby, BC