BIRCH BAY MARATHON
December 10, 2005
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
After a three year absence, it was a treat to be back running the Birch Bay Marathon on December 10, 2005. I first ran this race in 1993, and this one was #10 for me.
Sometimes the weather is a challenge, as when seagulls get pushed backwards by the strong wind, or when we have to detour through yards because of flooded streets. But this year it was as close to ideal as it ever gets for a Birch Bay Marathon.
At the 8:35 a.m. early start that six of us took, the sky was overcast, the temperature was in the thirties, and it was calm. Later in the race the temperature rose to the mid-forties, the skies were partly cloudy, and there was a light wind.
John Bandur, Jon Nevitt and Stan Nakashima ran together and were out of sight after three miles. I ran with Chris Ralph and Tom Ripley for several miles, and we talked about our recent races. They had run the Heartland 50Mile/100Mile Race at Cassoday, Kansas, in the Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie on October 8, 2005. They enjoyed the experience as they participated in the 50 Miler and finished in 12:48:59.
In this race they had a run/walk pattern alternating 6 minutes of running with 4 minutes of walking for a 10 minute pace. That worked well for them, and I lost track of them after five or six miles.
Pete Hansen, the leader of the race, then made up my 25 minute early start advantage and passed me in the 6th mile running strong on a long, steep hill. He ran unchallenged and won with a 2:59:33.
He has completed at least eight marathons in 2005 and has finished them all in less then three hours. He was the winner of the Skagit Flats Marathon at Burlington, WA, on September 11, 2005, with a 2:55:45. His best time of the year was a 2:51:37 at the Capital City Marathon at Olympia, WA, on May 15, 2005. What a great year for Pete!
By taking an early start, I saw all of the regular starters as they caught up to me and visited briefly before they moved ahead and out of sight.
This is a great course. We ran from Birch Bay State Park along the bay and through the village of Birch Bay to the junction where we started the counter-clockwise "frying pan" loops. The first time around there was a short out-and-back by Drayton Harbor. We ran by fields and forest and some rural and beachfront housing and could see White Rock, BC, in the distance. It's a pleasant run with two major hills. After the second loop, we ran back to where we had started at the State Park.
My run went fairly well. I walked the hills, went to a 50/50 walk/run pattern in the last 10K and then to a brisk walk in the last 5K. I finished in 5:32:59, last in the field of 16 and the oldest runner in the event.
It isn't easy to do bird watching while running, but I did see two great blue herons, a common loon, mallards, buffleheads, surf scoter ducks, two bald eagles, one northern harrier hawk, gulls, crows, juncos and song sparrows. I always enjoy seeing the wildlife at Birch Bay.
Due to the recent snow and frosty nights, the wildflowers were few this year. However, I saw some flowering dandelions, cats-claw, yarrow and tansy on the loop.
Thanks to race director Scott Krell, his wife Denise, his friend Chris and Lenore for their efforts to make the Birch Bay Marathon a great success. This is the oldest continuously run marathon on the Pacific Coast. It's small, but it holds a lot of good memories for those of us who have participated in it over the years.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Race Results - Birch Bay Marathon, December 10, 2005
2:59:33 Pete Hansen, 49, Birch Bay
3:43:15 Brad Privett, 19
3:45:11 Van Phan, 34, Maple Valley, Marathon Maniac (MM)
3:55:20 Dave Dutton, 45+, Camano Island
4:16:28 Michael Shiach, 55, Bainbridge Island, MM
4:19:25 Diana "Slug" Robinson, 38, Bellingham, MM
4:29:28 Jim Boyd, 62, Seattle, MM
4:35:03 Rick "Roadkill" Haase, 60, Shoreline, MM
4:42:38 John Bandur, 67, Federal Way
4:51:13 Tom Ripley, 56, Sammammish
4:52:13 Stacy "Possum" Otter, 29 (her birthday), Bellingham, MM
4:55:10 Jon Nevitt, 66, Mt. Vernon
4:55:10 Stan Nakashima, 63, Mt. Vernon
5:10:18 Mel Preedy, 72, Ravensdale, MM
5:13:21 Chris Ralph, 54, Kirkland
5:32:59 Bob Dolphin, 76, Renton/Yakima, MM