Marine Corps Marathon
October 27, 2002
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
This was our third, consecutive Marine Corps Marathon, and I hope that we have a long string in the making. I have never felt inclined to run any other marathon in the eastern United States every year, but the Marine Corps Marathon is different. It's a great event, the People's Marathon, and it
lives up to its name. We get VIP treatment from Rick Nealis, the race director, and his staff....and they make me proud to be a former Marine.
The highlight of the marathon was seeing Khalid Kannouchi and his wife Sandra for the first time since 1999. We had a few pictures taken with them and congratulated Khalid on his new world record of 2:05:38 at the London Marathon last April and his recent win at the Chicago Marathon in October.
Lenore visited with them at the viewing stand as the race started. Later they ran the 5K Race together, and Sandra was the overall women's winner in a time of 21:10.
At the race seminars the day before the marathon, Lenore and I enjoyed listening to Jeff Galloway describing his pace group training and the value of planned walks in meeting marathon goals. Susan Love, an inspirational speaker and marathoner, gave an enthusiastic talk that was timely and well r
eceived. Next on the program were the "Dollies." They are a team of four women marathoners from Texas who are fun loving. They presented a number of skits to the amusement of everyone present. Always in costume, they cannot be missed during the races. This time the "Dollies" wore red, white
and blue patriotic costumes, ran at the back of the pack, and boosted the spirits of all of the runners and walkers they met along the course.
Our thanks go to Todd Byers and his twin sister Tina for being our host and hostess at their family home in Berkeley, Springs, West Virginia, prior to the marathon. Todd showed us the interior and grounds of the large family home that had been built in 1894. Later he showed us the spas and spri
ng in a local park and the nature museum and lodge of the Cacapon Resort State Park. His friend Angie McCusker invited us for dinner at her log home that would be a candidate for a Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful Magazine article.
On our way from Berkeley Springs to Aston, PA, (near Philadelphia), we passed the rest area where the infamous sniper pair had been apprehended a few hours earlier. Television crews were there with their communication satellite dishes and lighting equipment. We were in on the "Answered Prayers"
We spent that night with Eleta and Jack Buss in Aston. Eleta and Lenore have been friends since they attended Central Washington University together.....many years ago. We appreciated their hospitality, good food and a chance to visit another part of our wonderful country.
Todd's generosity extended to a pre-marathon dinner on Saturday evening. He invited Lenore and me to attend a gathering of Penguin Brigade members at a hotel near Race Headquarters. The Penguin, John Bingham, couldn't attend......but we look forward to seeing him again at the inaugural City of
Trees Marathon in Boise, Idaho, on November 3. To learn more about The Penguin's running humor and wisdom, check his monthly column in Runner's World Magazine under "Chronicles."
When race time arrived, it was a good day for running the marathon. At the 8:30 a.m. start the temperature was in the low 60's, and the skies were clear with light breezes. Four hours later it was about 65 degrees and still clear. There had been cloud cover in mid-race, but it dissipated.
My bib number was 28, so I lined up in the elite corral. It took only four seconds to cross the starting pad after the howitzer fired. I was off to a good start, but the downside was that 3,500 runners would pass me before I finished. Oh well, at least I had a good start! As always, I enjoyed
running with the many younger runners in the field. I didn't see any 70 year olds.
We circled the Pentagon and admired the reconstruction of the bombed portion of the building. At 8 miles we re-passed Arlington National Cemetery and the starting area. Then we crossed the Potomac River and ran through Georgetown and into Rock Creek Park for a gradually rising out-and-back. On
the downgrade I passed the half mat at 2:00:46, so I figured I would have a 4:12 finish. The run went well as we passed the monuments, government buildings and other landmarks. In the final four miles I faded as we re-crossed the Potomac River, passed the Pentagon and National Cemetery again,
climbed a short (but steep) hill, circled the Iwo Jima Memorial and ran to the finish area.
I finished in a chip time of 4:06:04 (9:23), 3,556th overall of about 14,100, 2,771st male, and second of 25 in the 70-74M division. Todd Byers, 39, preceded me with a 4:03:55. George Wiebe, 66, of Vancouver, WA, was first in the 65-69M group with a 3:32:48. Jim Balkwill, 55, of Puyallup, WA,
a running friend whom I visited with in the starting area, ran a 4:04:39. John Conley, 50+, a friend who is the race director of the Motorola Marathon in Austin, TX, ran a 5:26:00.....slowed by an injury.
Christopher Juarex, an Air Force officer from Ellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV, pulled away from a small group at 20 miles to win the race with a time of 2:25:01, a personal record. In second place was John Sence, 32 of Cincinnati, OH, who ran a 2:26:31. Benjamin Sandy, 27, of Ft. Riley, K
S, (with an Army team) finished third with a 2:29:20. Corporal Mark Croasdale, 37, of the Royal Marines at Stubbington, England, came in fourth with a time of 2:30:46. He was on the United Kingdom team that won the Challenge Cup. Each year this cup is contested by running teams of U.S. Marines
and Royal Navy/Marines from the United Kingdom. The composite finishing times of the first three team members decides the match.
Liz Scanlon, 31 of Alexandria, VA, led the women's race after the 18th mile and finished with a 2:57:27. In second and third places were Jacqueline Chen, 40, (3:00:53) of the U.S. Army in Germany and Mary Kate Sullivan-Bailey, 27, from the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, VA, (3:02:24).
Thanks go to Rick Nealis, former U.S. Marine Corps major and race director, his committee and staff.....plus the 2,200 Marine volunteers.....for the excellent race that they deliver every year.
Written by Bob Dolphin