Tacoma City Marathon
May 13, 2007
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
The inaugural Tacoma City Marathon was held in Tacoma, Washington, on Sunday, May 13, 2007 with a start time of 7:00 a.m. As a participant, I can report that it was a successful event, as were the associated half marathon and 10K race.
It was co-directed by Fleet Feet Sports of Bonney Lake and the Marathon Maniacs. Tony Phillippi, one of three founders of the Maniacs, assumed the leadership role as race director and was assisted by others of the two directing bodies. Thank you, Tony, for giving me bib #404 to commemorate my 404th marathon.
There were a lot of individuals with running and road racing experience who volunteered, and this was obvious throughout the race weekend.
Lenore and I helped at Packet Pickup at the Expo in the downtown Greater Tacoma Convention Center and saw first-hand that everything went smoothly. There were a lot of friends and acquaintances who were race participants, volunteers and representatives to visit with, too, during the time that we were there.
On race morning there was excitement as we gathered near the convention center for the 7:00 a.m. start. The weather was good for running with air temperatures in the 50's, a heavy/overcast sky and an intermittent wind of 10-15 mph.
The course was an interesting medley of flat running to rolling hills in urban and suburban areas and in wooded parks. The loop course was shaped like an isosceles triangle and was run counterclockwise. A tour of downtown Tacoma and adjacent suburbs was followed by many miles along Commencement Bay. On this scenic stretch, the combined field split, and the half marathoners went back to Tacoma Center.
The marathoners then ran through Ruston Tunnel and ascended a short, steep hill to Fort Defiance Park. We ran through the coniferous forest on rolling hills and passed the half-way timing mat near a lookout of Gig Harbor. As we left the park, the hilly course paralleled the Tacoma Narrows with a good view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. When we came to Highway 16, we turned away from the bridge and ran on an adjacent paved pedestrian trail back to Tacoma Center and the finish area near the convention center.
I liked the novelty of seeing parts of Tacoma that I hadn't seen before. Yet, there was some nostalgia as I ran on part of the course that I knew from past races. Years ago, I had run the three Martin Luther King Memorial Marathons, the Pacific Rim Half Marathon and the Sound to Narrows Race.
My goal of the day was to run a sub-five-hour marathon for a second consecutive week. If I stayed on pace, my half marathon time of 2:23:10 made it seem possible. As the miles passed, the hills, wind and the wall eroded my cushion. The last two miles of the race were downhill on an easy grade through a partially wooded area, so I still had a chance to reach my goal. I quit looking at my watch by then and ran as fast as I could, which wasn't very fast!
When I approached the finish line and could read the clock, I knew that I had made it. Whew!! My (barely) sub-five-hour time was 4:58:55 and my place was 318th overall of 371, first of two in the 75-79M division. My good friend Ralph Riddick, 75, of Spokane came in second with a 5:22:53.
Even though it was late in the race, there was a lot of food available. The marathons at Eugene, Vancouver and Tacoma all get "gold stars" for making sure that there was plenty of good food for the "back of the pack" where I finish.
The marathon was won by local runner Michael Lynes, 40 of Tacoma in 2:40:08. In second place and not far behind was John Mozer, 31, of Fort Irwin, California, who ran a 2:41:45. Ruslan Tkebuchava, 26, of Vancouver, WA, was third with a 2:57:32.
Ann Armstrong, 45, of Poulsbo, WA, who finished second at the Yakima River Canyon Marathon in 2006 and 2007 won the women's race with a 3:05:46. Marathon Maniac Annie Thiessen, 36, of Tacoma was a pacer and came in second with a 3:18:02. In third place was Julie Groo, 50, of Puyallup with a 3:21:27.
It's always great to meet new marathoners and to get to know others better. Lenore and I enjoyed getting better acquainted with 54 year old Valentine-John Ridao. He's originally from Hawaii and now lives in Spanaway. He had run our Yakima River Canyon Marathon (YRCM) on March 31, 2007, as his first marathon. The Tacoma City Marathon was his second, and he hopes to run the Honolulu Marathon in his home state in the near future.
Jaime Philips, 30, of Ellensburg told me that she had volunteered at the YRCM this year but plans to be a runner next year on April 5, 2008. She and Brian Moore, 29, of Tacoma provided companionship for the three of us in the last 10K at a difficult part of the race. They finished close behind me in 5:05:17.
CONGRATULATIONS to the following:
Martin Cerrilos, 18, of Toppenish and Yakima for completing his first marathon in 3:50:33 and placing second in his age group. His proud mother was a volunteer at the finish area with Lenore and informed her that our friend Frank Purdy (YRCM course marshal) was Martin's coach for this high school project of "running a marathon."
Jennifer Martineau, 36, of Renton for walking her first marathon in 7:07:08. She joined the "early starters" and was accompanied by her husband, Marathon Maniac Arthur, who provided support and encouragement.
Marathon Maniac Gunhild Swanson, 62, of Spokane, a member of the 100 Marathon Club North America who completed her 200th Marathon/Ultra at the inaugural Tacoma City Marathon. Gunhild has a distinguished running career and invariably sets course records as she wins her age division in most races. At age 57, she was the overall female winner of the inaugural Wings of Gold Marathon on Whidbey Island, Washington, on April 27, 2002!
We're happy that there was a good turnout for this inaugural marathon and its associated races. In the marathon there were 371 finishers (including 14 early starters), 775 half marathoners and 432 10K participants…..for a grand total of 1,578.
It was good to see the Marathon Maniacs well-represented in the marathon and as volunteers at the Expo and on race day. Lenore and I look forward to volunteering and running the second annual Tacoma City Marathon in 2008.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin