November 22, 2003
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
Lenore and I revisited Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the third consectuive year in
order to participate in the Oklahoma Marathon on Saturday, November 22,
The day before the race was eventful, and it all started at breakfast at
the restaurant of the Southern Hills Hilton Hotel, the race headquarters.
At a nearby table three middle-aged couples were eating and obviously
enjoying each others company. Eventually, one of the men came to our
table and introduced himself as Jerry Roark, 60, from Stockbridge,
Georgia. He wanted to know if I had really run 100 marathons.....as was
prominently displayed on the 100 Marathon Club T-shirt that I was wearing.
I admitted that I had, and then he told us his story.
He was in Tulsa to run his first marathon on the birthday of his late son,
Sam, who had been a marathoner and athlete. Sam had died suddently seven
years earlier while exercising at a fitness center. Some family members
had come from various parts of the country to run with him, and others had
come to cheer him on. We wished them well on their upcoming, dedicated
run in honor of Sam's 35th birthday.
For most of the day Lenore was busy helping at packet pickup at the hotel.
Among those working with her were Lori Pratt, one of the race directors
of the Park City (Utah) Marathon that I ran in June 2001, and Gina Moore,
a Dallas runner whom we see often at marathons.
Because Bob Lehew, race director of the Oklahoma Marathon, is also the
president of the 50 States Marathon Club, he was supported by the
attendance of many club members who came to Tulsa to run the marathon. It
is always a pleasure to visit with 50 Staters and 100 Marathon Club
members whether they are long-time friends or someone we have just met.
They all lead interesting lives involving megamarathoning and frequent
The pre-race dinner at the hotel was a memorable occasion. Bob Lehew
introduced the first-time marathoners and then the leading megamarathoners
in the audience. Norm Frank, 72, of Rochester, NY, would be running his
829th marathon the next day. He's the leader of career marathons in the
Western Hemisphere. Ray Scharenbrock, 70, of South Milwaukee, WI, would
be completing his 490th marathon as he is closing in on being an 8 time
finisher of the 50 States & DC cycle!
Rick Worley of Kingwood, Texas, has his accomplishments listed in the
Guinness Book of World Records. He ran 200 marathons in 159 consecutive
weekends (that's 3 years and 3 weeks!) These marathons represented one 50
States & DC cycle per year for three years and one completion of the
Canadian provinces in the second year. He also worked full time as an oil
compnay executive and made his own travel arrangements during this time.
Rick is the director of a college scholarship foundation for Cal Farley's
Boys & Girls Ranch at Amarillo, Texas. The Oklahoma Marathon and all
participants contribute monetary support to this worthy endeavor every
year. Rick introduced the dozen or so boys and girls from the ranch who
were there to run the marathon (some for the first time).
Guest speaker for the dinner was John Bingham, "The Penguin," who writes
the monthly column "The Chronicles" for Runner's World Magazine and has
the website www.johnbingham.com. He had the audience laughing
continuously as he described his running experiences.
At pre-dawn on race day we took the first shuttle bus to the starting area
tent in Riverside Drive Park. Lenore continued with packet pickup and
answered questions from runners and their families.
Just before 7:30 a.m. we gathered at the start/finish line for a prayer,
the national anthem, instructions, well-wishes, and photographs. When the
gun sounded, the participants released red, white and blue helium-filled
balloons that we had been holding, started our watch timers, and then
headed south for a short loop.
After we re-passed the starting line, we headed north on a paved trail
adjacent to the Arkansas River. The course was variable in an open,
narrow park with scattered cottonwoods and willows, a few buildings and
playgrounds. It was flat to gently rolling with minor hills. We crossed
footbridges over streams and ran under overpasses for I-44. We climbed a
small hill to a sidewalk on the 11th Street bridge that crosses the river.
Here we could appreciate the width (1/2 mile), depth (shallow), and flow
(slow) of the river. A great blue heron, a few gulls and fishermen were
When we reached the far side, we found the turn-around where our bib
numbers were recorded (smart move....catches cheaters!) Then we reversed
course to run back to the finish line to record a half marathon. After
that we did it again.....and slower for most of us.
One nice thing about an out-and-back course is that we could see everyone
often and call out greetings to those going in the opposite direction. I
encouraged Jerry Roark on three such passes. He was hurting, but he was
determined to finish the race for Sam.
Rick Worley told me to slow down, but that was happening anyway. The
temperature was rising to 70 degrees fahrenheit, and the headwinds were
reaching 20+ miles per hour. These conditions caused some leg cramps in
the last 10K, but it was my 24th time over this stretch of trail, so I
knew the way to the finish line and persevered.
The only hazard on the course was an occasional swift bicyle that was
silent as it passed from the rear. One biker cleared his way by blowing a
police whistle. He was the escort for the first runner, Scott Mortimer,
of Boulder, Colorado, who won the race in a time of 2:47:38. This was the
only sub three hour marathon of the day.
My run was a slow 4:32:52, and I was 180th of 309 finishers. Even so, my
time was faster than my previous two Oklahoma Marathons. I found a chair
near the finish line and visited with Lenore, 100 Marathon Club members,
Ross Waltzer, 82, of Tulsa, has run 80+ marathons and 80+ ultras before
medical problems caused him to retire from running. Ed Burnham, 84, ran
the inaugural YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON. He ran his first marathon at
the age of 70 and just completed his 170th marathon. He was the oldest
participant in the race, but he wasn't the last to finish.
Don Kern 47, of Martin, Michigan, was congratulated for finishing 50
States & DC at the Oklahoma Marathon. This accomplishment is added to his
feat of being a Seven Continent finisher. Don's article about running the
North Pole Marathon will appear soon in "Marathon and Beyond."
Congratulations to Gene Bandler, 74, of East Meadow on Long Island, New
York, as he became a 50 States & DC finisher. Gene walks 22 marathons per
year (including the New York City Marathon) and will soon become a member
of the 100 Marathon Club North America.
Brenton Floyd, 18, of Harrison, Tennessee, ran a 4:17:39 race. He is the
youngest 50 States & DC finisher and has run 186 marathons. He and his
uncle Jim Simpson of Huntington Beach, CA, planned to join many others
from this race at the marathon in West Kansas City, Kansas, for a weekend
double....that's a full marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon
the next day!
Byron Critchfield of Osawatmie, Kansas, ran this race with his three
teenaged sons, Cody, Dallas, and Galen. Two of the boys were
first-timers. After the father finished, he ran back on the course to
encourage the last son and to accompany him to the finish line.
Ginger Allen, 14, of Cal Farley's Girls Town USA ran her first marathon in
4:50:49. She is the youngest female marathoner that I've seen.
When Jerry Roark neared the finish line, many members of his family who
had been waiting crossed it with him. All were wearing bright T-shirts
that said, "In Honor of Sam." It was an emotional occasion.
Thanks go to the director, staff and volunteers of the Oklahoma Marathon
for putting on an interesting event. This race has a cap of 300 (the race
director "fudged" this year), so it's good to apply early. See
http://www.oklahomamarathon.org for information
Written by Bob Dolphin
Partial Results....Oklahoma Marathon.......November 22, 2003
1. 2:47:38 Scott Mortimer, Boulder, CO
2. 3:01:26 Danny Ponder, Norman, OK
3. 3:03:43 Tom Brennan, Poteau, TX
1. 3:02:41 Lisa Butler, Tulsa, OK
2. 3:21:15 Lisa Voight, Fort Worth, TX
3. 3:34:34 Tina King, Edmond, OK
3:23:26 Glenn, Williams, Dacula, GA
3:45:47 Cody Critchfield, Osawotomie, KS
3:55:14 Francisco Crihiti, Philadelphia, PA
4:09:09 Gina Moore, Dallas, TX
4:15:29 Don Kern, Martin, MI
4:17:39 Brenton Floyd, Harrison, TX
4:20:23 Steve Boone, Humble, TX
4:20:59 Byron Critchfield, Osawotomie, KS
4:23:49 Galen Critchfield, Osawotomie, KS
4:27:43 Richard Irons, Tulsa, OK
4:32:37 Tara Miller, Austin, TX
4:32:52 Bob Dolphin, Renton/Yakima, WA
4:50:49 Ginger Allen, Girls Town USA, TX
4:51:54 Jim Simpson, Huntingtonn Beach, CA
5:02:40 Rick Worley, Kingwood, TX
5:05:16 Paula Boone, Humble, TX
5:22:50 Dallas Critchfield, Osawotomie, KS
5:44:32 John Marconnet, Clarendon Hills, IL
5:56:25 Richard Miller, Tulsa, OK
5:56:37 Eugene Bruckert, Arlington, IL
6:02:56 Gene Bandler, East Meadow, NY
6:20:16 Norm Frank, Rochester, NY
6:25:15 Ray Scharenbrock, South Milwaukee, WI
6:27:52 Jerry Roarck, Stockbridge, GA
7:26:46 Ed Burnham, Kansas City, MO
7:46:31 Susan Daley, Chicago, IL