St. Patricks Day Marathon
March 23, 2003
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
The theme for the St. Patrick's Day Marathon on Sunday, March 23, 2003,
was "green." The race course was a flat-to-gently rolling terrain in the
GREEN Chehalis River Valley. We picked up our GREEN T-shirts at a picnic
shelter at Vance Creek County Park, a mile south of Elma, Washington. At
10:00 a.m. on a pleasant spring day we began our run south-eastward on a
two-lane county road that paralleled the river. It was an out-and-back
course. There was fresh, GREEN grass in the lawns of scattered farmhouses
and in the many pastures along the way. One pasture had a herd of about
thirty elk that were feeding and warily watching the runners. Osoberry
trees had new GREEN foliage and small, white, hanging flowers. There was
a cloud cover most of the time, so it was comfortable running in cool
temperatures that were in the high 40's and low 50's. A constant wind
from 5-20 mph blew from the northwest, the direction we were running, and
it pushed us along for 13 miles.
At 6.5 miles the small field became even smaller as 14 half marathoners
turned and headed back to the starting area. There was only one
marathoner in sight at that time. Five miles later several front runners
passed as they were going in the opposite direction. The only ones I knew
were Mel Preedy and Jim Kondek. I soon realized that the runner I had
been chasing was Eddie Hahn. He had on a classy, patriotic running suit
patterned after the American flag. We exhchanged greetings and went our
separate, opposite ways. Near Oakville, I turned at the 13 mile cone and
immediately faced into the wind. This was to be the main obstacle to
reaching the finish line. In my 14th mile I was slowing and cramping
When I reached the last mile of the marathon, I ran into a strong wind,
and shuffled my way to the finish line in Vance Creek Park. My time of
4:29:27 made me the fifth overall finisher and the first (and only) 70+
The race director, Dave Beeler of the Elma High School Track Boosters,
provided a basic marathon. Each mile of the course had a cone marker and
limed mile numbers for both directions (i.e., "10" and "16").
even-numbered markers had an aid station that provided water (but nothing
else) from stationary vehicles. Refreshments were offered at the finish
line, and awards went five deep (essentially, one for every runner.) Dave
and his friendly volunteers put on a good training marathon. It was a
good workout for Eddie Hahn, Mel Preedy and myself for the upcoming YAKIMA
RIVER CANYON MARATHON on April 5, 2003, almost two weeks later.
Race Results and Commentary
1. 3:24:23 Neil Leen, 46, Priest River, Idaho....ran well into the wind to garner a commanding lead for first place. 1st 45-49M.
2. 3:42:58 Layne Davis, 50, Milwaukee, Wisconsin....came to Washington State to run a substitue marathon for the canceled Washington DC Marathon that had been scheduled for the same date. 1st 50-54M.
3. 3:58:10 Jim Kondek, 47, Bainbridge Island, Washington....actually ran a PR on this windy day while running under four hours. 2nd 45-49M.4. 4:14:57 Mel Preedy, 69, Ravensdale, Washington, has run 253 marathons/ultramarathons. He is a member of Marathon Achievers and the 100 Marathon Club No
rth America. He plans to run 70 miles beginning on April 9th and finishing on his 70th birthday, April 10, 2003. He is team captain of the Fabulous Fifties Relay Team. 1st 65-69M.
5. 4:29:27 Bob Dolphin, 73, Renton/Yakima, Washington, is co-director with wife Lenore of the YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON and the 100 Marathon Club NA. 1st 70+M.
6. 4:32:22 Nancy Sullivan, 49, Tillamook, Oregon. This was the first time that she had won the women's division in a marathon, and she was happy about her accomplishment. 1st 45-49F.7. 4:40:42 Eddie Hahn, 37, is a career staff sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington, wher
e he is assigned to the Quartermaster Corps. He is a member of the 50 States and DC Marathon Group and the 50 States Marathon Club. He helped Heather Gould finish the marathon. 1st 35-39M.
8. 4:40:42 Heather Gould, 24, Brooklyn, New York, ran her FIRST marathon at Elma because the D.C. Marathon was canceled. She ran with her dad, Mike Gould, of Anchorage, Alaska. 1st 20-24F.
9. 5:01:54 Brian Biggest, 27, Bainbridge Island, Washington, completed his FIRST marathon in spite of a knee injury that required walking breaks. 1st 25-29M.
10. 5:06:31 Debbie Durkee, 48, Newport, Oregon, wife of Bruce Durkee, director of the Newport Marathon, completed her 47th marathon. Her goal is to run the Newport Marathon on May 31, 2003, as her 50th marathon. She helped Jon Gissberg finish the race. 2nd 45-49F.
11. 5:14:07 Jon Gissberg, 59, Seattle, WA/Anchorage, AK. The day before the marathon Jon fell and injured his leg while biking. in spite of this, he ran the marathon to keep his "marathon per month" string going. Debbie Durkee provided him with a packet of GU and three glucose tablets which gave him an energy boost at a
critical period late in the race. 1st 55-59M.
12. 5:18:03 Mike Gould, 48, Anchorage, Alaska, joined his daughter, Heather Gould, in running his FIRST marathon. His wife Jill drove the family vehicle to provide support and encouragement on the course. 3rd 45-49M.
13. 5:41:00 (approximate time) A male runner with bib number 370 was in the last tenth mile as our friends Ilene and Harold Mazanti, and Lenore and I were driving away from the finish area in the park.
14. Unknown......Walking male.
Written by Bob Dolphin