Marine Corps Marathon
October 26, 2003
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
Running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, and northern Virginia
is a special treat that I look forward to each year. This year the
marathon was held on Sunday, October 26, 2003, for the 16, 456 runners who
started the race. This event is well-organized and follows a military
operational plan to ensure its success.
I was assigned bib number "8"..........I couldn't believe it! The
pressure was on, and I had to live up to the billing.
At the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City Lenore and I attended a Race
Directors Conference, listened to race director Rick Nealis there and
later at a seminar, and went to the race packet pickup and Expo.
Our friend Marty Wanless, sports marketer, had his running brochures that
included those for our YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON displayed on a huge
rack. Ray Scharenbrock from South Milwaukee, WI, found us at the Expo.
His marathon exploits are legendary. He had run our inaugural YRCM, and
the Marine Corps Marathon was going to be #485 for him! Ray will soon
complete his EIGHTH cycle of running 50 States & DC. He is so personable
that it is always a delight to meet him and hear about his marathoning all
over the country and the world.
Later that evening we had dinner at a nearby restaurant with runners from
the Interurban Running Club of South King County in Washington State.
Joining us were J. Ellis, Meredith Johnson, John Kokes, Kathy West, Todd
Byers and Angie McCusker. Ed and Lois Driver of Palm Springs, CA, our
weekend companions, also attended. We had a good time with the Drivers
and look forward to our week with them in Hawaii for the Honolulu Marathon
At the marathon start on race day there were welcoming remarks from Rick
Nealis and from the Commandant of the Marine Corps. A navy chaplain said
a prayer, the national anthem was sung, the colors were presented, doves
were released......and then it was time to race. The wheelchairs left two
minutes before the runners were released by a blast from a howitzer.
I crossed the starting line in 8 seconds......and then enjoyed the
downgrade in the first mile. In the fourth mile there was a major hill on
a new out-and-back configuration. This was a course change due to
security purposes relative to the Pentagon. As always, the run in Rock
Creek Park, by the Potomac River, Watergate, Lincoln Memorial, Supreme
Court, Capitol, Smithsonian Institute (with the Jefferson Memorial and the
Washington Monument in the distance) made the miles fly by.
Only in the last 10K did it get a bit laborious. The sun came out, the
temperature rose to the 60's, humidity was high, and the wind increased to
15 mph. I passed quite a few slow walkers and runners in the last two
miles. Then I walked up a short, steep hill, ran a loop road around the
Marine Corps Memorial and ran to the finish line. My chip time was
4:15:59, and I finished 4,158th overall of 15, 974 finishers. I was first
in the 70+Male Division, and this made my day!
Lenore met me in the finishers chute and steered me to the VIP tent where
I could rest, eat and drink, and watch a steady stream of runners cross
the finish line. There were stimulating conversations......and pictures
taken with The Dollies (four runners from Texas in patriotic costumes) and
with Rick Nealis and other friends.
It was here that we met Bob Elling of Albany, NY, and his wife Kirstin.
Their race numbers were "6" and "7", and Bob wore a singlet that had
"Anniversary" printed on the front. He explained to us that they had been
married at the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon seven years
ago....and then they ran the race. They return each year to celebrate
their anniversary by running the marathon together.
The winner of the marathon was Peter Sherry, 35, of Great Falls, VA. At
21 miles, he was a minute behind the lead group of runners. Then he
picked up the pace and began to pass the opposition. At the 24 mile
marker he caught the leader, Eric Post, 24, of Fairfax, VA. Peter
finished in 2:25:07 while Eric held on to second place with a 2:27:49.
In 10th position and the first military finisher was Gerardo Avila, 30, of
Fort Lewis, WA. He was the winner of the third annual YAKIMA RIVER CANYON
MARATHON on April 5, 2003!
Running her first marathon, Heather Hanscom, 25, of Alexandria, VA, won
the women's race in a fine time of 2:37:59 and placed 19th overall. She
broke away from the competition in the first mile and pulled away to a 20+
minute lead by the time she crossed the finish line......tired, but
running strong! In second place was Lindsay Gannon, 38, of the United
Kingdom who finished in 2:58:46.
Later, the Drivers, Lenore and I returned to our motel to clean up, rest
and get ready for the evening function at the race headquarters hotel.
This post-race party featured dance music, food, drinks and stimulating
conversation about the marathon.
Before we left, we told Rick Nealis how much we enjoyed the marathon and
how much we appreciate his efforts and those of his staff and the
thousands of Marines who help make the "People's Marathon" the great
success that it is. We'll be back in 2004 for my 5th consecutive Marine
Written by Bob Dolphin
Partial Results..........Marine Corps Marathon
1........2:25:07 Peter Sherry, 35, Great Falls, VA
2........2:27:49 Eric Post, 24, Fairfax, VA
3........2:28:24 Aaron Church, 28, South Riding, VA
1........2:37:59 Heather Hanscom, 25, Alexandria, VA
2........2:58:46 Lindsay Gannon, 38, United Kingdom
3........3:00:14 Kristin Van Eron, 31, Timonium, MD
2:32:59 Gerardo Avila, 30, Fort Lewis, WA
3:32:14 John Kokes, 48, Seattle, WA
4:04:54 Herb Allen, 61, Bainbridge Island, WA
4:05:32 George Banker, 53, Oxon Hill, MD
4:15:59 Bob Dolphin, 74, Renton/Yakima, WA
4:37:06 Rob Willis, 52, Tacoma, WA
4:37:06 Meredith Johnson, 51, Tacoma, WA
4:37:06 J. Ellis, 44, Tacoma, WA
4:38:49 Todd Byers, 40 Long Beach, CA
4:54:59 Ed Driver, 78, Pasadena, CA
5:21:09 Ron Baker, 62, Albany, NY
5:37:01 Kathy West, 46, Seattle, WA
6:12:49 Ray Scharenbrock, 70, South Milwakee, WI