Gateway to the Pacific Marathon
July 11, 2004
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
To keep fit to run marathons, I like to run one or more each month if I can find one in the Pacific Northwest. Other than several ultramarathons, the only one that I could find in Washington for July was the Gateway to the Pacific Marathon at Elma, about 30 miles west of Olympia, on Sunday, July 11, 2004.
This was a marathon directed by Bob Green, and I always run his marathons unless I have a scheduling conflict. Earlier in 2004 I had run the Valentine and the Easter Marathons that Bob directs, and I always run the Christmas Marathon. We miss his Halloween Marathon because it's scheduled for the same time as our East Coast trip for a visit to my mother, a marathon in a "new" state to add to my 50 States List and for the Marine Corps Marathon than has become a traditional one for us. Millersylvania State Park, south of Olympia, is the site of the "holiday marathons."
Lenore and I spent the night before this marathon with her long-time friend Evelyn Maxin who is always a gracious hostess. Evelyn accepted our invitation to come to Vance Creek Park to meet some of our running friends and to volunteer with Lenore at the finish area.
There was a good turnout of Marathon Maniacs, the popular running club that originated in the Puget Sound Area. I joined group picture gatherings of many members before and after the race. I enjoyed meeting some members for the first time as well. I was also appreciative that founders, Tony Phillippi, Chris Warren and Steven Yee, Sue Fauerbach, Guy Yogi and his daughter Jennifer waited for me to finish. It was kind of them! On the race results for the marathon I have indicated members of the club with an "MM."
It was good to see Jim Boyd again and compare our running plans. Since Jim, a 50 States & DC finisher, lives in Seattle and in San Diego, he travels back and forth a lot.....besides going to Asia on business. He always tells me about some interesting road and trail races that he has run in California. He's another thoughtful person who waited for me to finish.
The weather is always of concern in a July marathon, but we fared well. It was 68 degrees at the 9:30 a.m. start and 75 degrees for the afternoon maximum.....one of the lowest in the country according to newspaper reports the next day. After the race started, there was a heavy cloud cover that lasted over an hour. Then the conditions changed to partly cloudy (better than clear skies). A light tailwind in the first half was appreciated. In the later miles it became a cooling 5-10 mph headwind.
The race course went from the park in a southeastern direction on two-lane, paved, county roads. It was flat with minor grades and a few small hills. All 57 participants in the six events available started together with the total field getting smaller at the many turn-around points on this out-and-back course. There were 24 runners in the marathon, and the remaining participants ran in the Half Marathon (11), 10 Miler (2), 10K (7), 5K (9) and 1 Miler (4).
After the half marathoners turned back at 6.5+ miles, there weren't any marathoners in sight.....from my perspective. A few miles later it was a welcome sight seeing the returning leaders, all of the Marathon Maniacs, and Jim Boyd as we greeted each other and gave high-fives when we were within reach of each other.
It was a pleasure to greet the leader by name as he ran by. It was Leland Wakelin, 45, of White Rock, BC, who won with a 3:10:52. Lenore and I have seen him in the past decade many times when he ran and sometimes won the Birch Bay Marathon near the Canadian border. We've also seen him at the Royal Victoria Marathon on occasion. He was kind enough to drive onto the race course and wave goodbye as I was in my 25th mile, and he was heading back to White Rock.
Ken Croteau, 43, of Newburg, OR, came in second with a 3:14:27, and Rubin Contreras, 49, an MM of Stanwood, finished third overall with a 3:14:30. Jennifer Yogi, 29, of Seattle, an MM, won the women's race in a time of 3:25:42 and was in fifth position overall. Her father, Guy Yogi, 50, also of Seattle and an MM, had a good race, too, and finished with a 3:48:33.
Tony Phillippi, 42, of Tacoma (3:43:09) and Chris Warren, 36, of Renton (3:50:08) were living up to their Marathon Maniac designation by running a weekend double. On the previous day, they had been in Ashland, Oregon, to run the Siskiyou Outback 50K Trail Run, a difficult ultramarahon race in the mountains. Congratulations for surviving your insane weekend!!!
The setting for the marathon was pleasant. The countryside was agricultural with beef cattle, dairy cows and sheep in pastures. There were hay fields that had been harvested with the hay rolled into many round balls presumably to feed the local cattle and to ship out the surplus.
At the half marathon turn around on South Bank Road there was a large greenhouse operation that also had acres of growing nursery stock, an apparently thriving business. Small farms, dairies, scattered homes plus woodlots and distant mountains covered with forest were the backdrop for the races.
There were many summer flowers in colorful bloom. Rose colored fireweed, light purple foxglove, white daisy, white mayweed, pearly everlasting, orange California poppies, and yellow dandelion- like cats claw were visual treats as I ran through the countryside on a nature appreciation run.
My first half went well, but my second half did not. After 14 miles, I used a run/walk alternation to rest my cramping legs.....and shuffled on at a slow pace. At 20 miles, I quit the run attempts and shifted to continuous walking at a 14 minute per mile pace. As I crossed the bridge over the Chehalis River, I knew I was getting close....it was the 5K turnaround. Less than a half hour later I crossed the finish line in 5:21:19 (12:15), 21st of 24 finishers, and the only 70+ runner.
It was good to see Lenore, Evelyn, and my friends in the finish area as I plunked down in the first vacant chair that I found. There were more group pictures with the MM's and Bob Green, his wife Kristina Salazar and her mother Monica. Our thanks go to them and their volunteers for putting on marathons for runners and seeing to it that everyone has a good time......with plenty to eat and drink, nice finishing medals, age class awards, and apparel.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Gateway to the Pacific Marathon Results, July 11, 2004
3:10:52 Leland Wakelin, 45, White Rock, BC
3:14:27 Ken Croteau, 43, Newberg, OR
3:14:30 Rubin Contreras, 49, Stanwood, WA (Marathon Maniac...MM)
3:20:42 Richard Palmer, 44, Shoreline, WA
3:25:42 Jennifer Yogi, 29, Seattle, WA (MM)
3:35:27 Steven Yee, 44, Renton, WA (MM)
3:43:09 Tony Phillippi, 42 Tacoma, WA (MM)
3:44:17 Rick Norman, 40, Yakima, WA
3:45:20 Jeffrey Johnston, 49, New Richmond, WI
3:48:33 Guy Yogi, 50, Seattle, WA (MM)
3:49:06 Courtney Bridges, 24, Federal Way, WA
3:50:08 Chris Warren, 36, Renton, WA (MM)
3:50:46 Marty Bridges, 52, Auburn, WA
3:55:27 Marie Bartoletti, 46, Finleyville, PA
4:07:39 Jim Boyd, 62, Seattle, WA
4:29:32 Chris Chen, 29, Marietta, GA
4:31:25 David Penfold, 60, Fielding, XX (Overseas)
4:35:31 Dennis Spurlock, 42, Spokane, WA (MM)
5:08:16 Bill Rex, 64, Geneva, IL
5:12:28 Don Robinson, 67, Xenia, OH
5:21:19 Bob Dolphin, 74, Renton, WA (MM)
5:35:56 Janice (Kay) Moyer, 47, Wellpinit, WA
5:51:50 Paul Piplani, 57, Phoenix, AZ
5:58:20 Laurence Macon, 59, San Santonio, TX