Vancouver International Marathon
May 2, 2004
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
According to the pre-race newspaper report in the Vancouver Sun, perennial
winner, Uli Steidl, 32, a German citizen from Seattle, would not be
running the Vancouver International Marathon this year.....due to a visa
problem. Because he is my favorite elite runner, I was disappointed to
At the 7:30 a.m. start of the race near the Plaza of Nations on Sunday,
May 2, 2004, the temperature was in the 60's, the sky was overcast, and it
In my third mile on an out-and-back portion of the course, a lone runner
approached. He was in his 6th mile as he sped past. It was Uli! He had
entered the marathon after all and was running unchallenged. He had a two
mile lead when he finished the race in 2:18:26 for an unprecedented and
consecutive FIVE TIME WIN at Vancouver. He's working on a master's degree
in education at the University of Washington in Seattle.....and continues
to be the racing hero for marathoners in Washington State and beyond.
In second place was Jay Berberie, 35+, (2:30:56) of Vancouver. Finishing
in third place was Nick LeBlanc, 30+, of Jasper, AB.
The women's race was won by Mary Akor, 25+, of Gardena, CA, and Nigeria.
She ran unchallenged to win with a 2:44:43. In second and third place
were Elisabeth Auel of Laval, Quebec (2:50:50) and Uli Steidl's
girlfriend, Trisha Rosenberg of Seattle (2:53:36).
A dramatic finish that was publicized in the Monday newspaper was that of
Paul Skarsgard, 35+, of Richmond, BC. He raced against his PR time of
2:43, surpassed it by three seconds, and collapsed at the finish
line.....happy with his time of 2:42:57.
Wearing bib number 100, Neil Wakelin, 56, of Vancouver ran his 100th
marathon in his hometown in 3:22:53. In the previous month he had run the YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON, Whidbey Island, and the Easter marathons within EIGHT
DAYS to have completed 99 marathons before he ran Vancouver. Lenore
Dolphin, co-director of the 100 Marathon Club North America, presented
Neil with a 100 marathon pin and an entry form for the club shortly after
his milestone race concluded.
My race went well in the early miles as I was running near a pace group of
about 20 runners. Using periodic rest walks, their leaders were guiding
them to a 4:30 finish. I stayed with them for half of the race and
enjoyed the urban and bay scenery that was highlighted by forested Stanley
Park. Due to the humidity, my second half didn't go well.
A favorite part of the course was the out-and-back section where I got a
hug from adopted grandson Michael Dutton, 34, of Everett, WA (3:58:22) and
saw friends Ken Bonner, 60+, Victoria, BC, (3:41:04); Mel Preedy, 71,
Ravensdale, WA (4:21:30...3rd 70+M); Karl Jensen, 54, Richmond, BC
(4:08:00); Jon Gissberg, Seattle (4:46:08); Evan Fagan, 67, Victoria, BC
(4:18:43); and Al Homenchuck, 70+, Burnaby, BC (5:26:19).
Other friends who were in the race were Steven Yee, 40+, Renton, WA
(3:18:51); Chris Warren, 35+, Renton, WA (3:18:52); Tony Phillippi, 40+,
Tacoma, WA (3:24:30); and Mae Palm, 64, Garibaldi Heights, BC
I finished in 4:51:27, 3,444th of 4,214 finishers, 7th of twelve
70+Males....and at age 74, the oldest runner in the marathon!
Congratulations to Annette McNamee, 25, of Sitka, Alaska, for finishing
her first marathon in 5:02:09.
At the awards ceremony Lenore and I met Sandy Weber, 65+, (6:06:39....3rd
65-69F) of Nokomis, Florida. She had just completed her fourth marathon
as an alumnus of Jeff Galloway's Running Camp in the Sierra Mountains in
We also visited there with Sam Saunders, 28, (3:03:49) of Penticton, BC.
She was the women's winner at the 2003 YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON. We
met her mentor, Jack Miller, 59, of Cache Creek, BC., who had run our
inaugural YRCM. In the Vancouver Marathon he ran a 2:56:51 for 2nd place
in the 55-59M division. Amazingly, he has run all of his 70+ marathons in
less than three hours!!
Thanks go to our weekend host, Karl Jensen, to the Vancouver International
Marathon Committee and all of the volunteers who put on a great marathon
I look forward to running the event in 2005 when the course will take us
through and around Stanley Park on the Seawall Trail instead of over a
major hill.......and I hope Uli Steidl will be there again to make it SIX
in a row!!
Written by Bob Dolphin