Vancouver International Marathon
May 6, 2007
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
The day before the May 6, 2007, Vancouver International Marathon, Lenore and I drove to Vancouver from our Whistler, BC, timeshare. I had seen a black bear on a golf course the day before as the natural history highlight of our time there. The trip was pleasant, and we even found a parking space on the street in front of the Westin Hotel Vancouver, the race headquarters.
Before we entered the building, we met people (Marathon Maniacs) we know, Eric & Michelle Barnes of Puyallup, WA, and Mel & Sonia Preedy of Ravensdale, WA. In the Expo area at the Running Room booth was Neil Wakelin of Vancouver who has run the Yakima River Canyon Marathon (YRCM). At the Running in the Zone book booth, we talked with the co-editors, race announcer Steve King & his wife Jean and Half Marathon finish area coordinator Dan Cumming & his wife Judy. As a chapter author, I encouraged a lady running her first marathon to look it over. She bought a copy, and I autographed my chapter.
It was a nice Expo with a good number of vendors. Many of them were giving free food and drink samples that were welcome. We needed to see Sports Marketer Marty Wanless who is one of the original sponsors of our YRCM. When we found his rack with entry forms for marathons from all over the world, we knew that we were getting close. Eventually, we met, and we profited from his insights about the trends in marathon marketing.
The next morning the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m., but I didn't care. It was race day, and I felt like I was going to have a good run. To augment these feelings as we left the Jensen residence in North Vancouver, BC, the temperature was in the low 50's (Fahrenheit) or 10 degrees (Celsius). At dawn it was overcast with a light rain, my kind of weather, for sure.
My Marathon Maniacs singlet and running shorts, Marathon & Beyond socks and new Asics 2110 running shoes that rebound nicely were all the clothes that I needed once I warmed up. A Seattle Marathon Tyvek jacket and cotton gloves would come off a mile or two after I started running.
By 6:00 a.m. we were at the BC Stadium (race day headquarters) parking lot to get an early-bird space. Because the half marathon starts at 7:00 a.m., the timing of our arrival was critical. Lenore took care of purchasing the parking ticket, and we were soon in the VIP tent having a light breakfast.
There were a few friends in the mass of marathoners waiting for the 7:30 starting horn. I greeted Janet Green of Courtenay and Evan Fagan from Victoria. Both live on Vancouver Island, and I see them at the Royal Victoria Marathon and other marathons during the year.
Once the race started, I concentrated on maintaining an eleven minute per mile pace. In the third mile on an out-and-back section, the race leader running with a substantial lead ran by. It was Thomas Omwega, 36, of Kenya and Tampa, Florida, running in his sixth mile. His finishing time of 2:25:23 was almost seven minutes faster than two-time past winner Kassahua Kabiso, 20+, of Ethiopia and Bronx, NY, who ran a 2:32:11. The third place male was Stephen Clarke, 40+, of Cedar Creek, NM, with a time of 2:37:58.
A course record for women was set by Claudia Carmago, 36, from Argentina who resides in Danbury, Connecticut. Her record time was 2:35:46, 42 seconds short of her personal record. She finished in third place overall. In second place for the women was Mary Akor, 30+, of Gardena, California, who ran a 2:44:22. Third place went to Sheila Mullins, 35+, of Vancouver, BC, who ran a 3:00:49.
There were a lot of friends to greet on the out-and-back sections. I remember seeing Jon and Sherry Mahoney, Ken Bonner, Al Harman, Evan Fagan, Harvey Nelsen and others……all of British Columbia. From Washington, there were Mel Preedy, Eric and Michelle Barnes, and many other Marathon Maniacs. (See the Partial Race Results.)
I couldn't believe how well things were going, but I still ran/walked the hills so that I would have something left in the last 10K. At the halfway chip mat in Stanley Park, I had a 2:23:08. Using the formula of doubling this figure and adding 10-15 minutes, I had the potential of a 5:00:00 finish. I knew there were a lot of hills in the second half, possible wall symptoms, cramps etc, so I was just hoping to better my 5:10:13 of the Eugene Marathon the previous week.
Periodic minor hamstring cramps reminded me that a lot goes wrong in the second half of marathons. After three miles of an out-and-back stretch where it seemed that everyone was ahead of me at 20 miles, we crossed another timing mat. My time here was 3:43:04. I still couldn't predict my finish time because I was slowing down, and there were hills to negotiate.
The last 5K was interesting due to the parks and bayshore views. At 24 miles I looked at my watch for the last time (it read 4:30), and then I concentrated on running the Burrard Bridge hill and the last mile. I had a bit of a finishing kick left and appreciated the kind words that Steve King was saying about me as I crossed the line. I could not believe that the numbers of the clock were still under five hours as I read 4:57:48! My chip time was 4:57:00, an 11:20 pace. Later I learned that I finished 2,691st of 3,114 overall and second of four in the 75-79M age division.
Lenore was waiting in the finish area and gave me a congratulatory hug. Will Gerber, a well-known runner who was volunteering at the finish line, took my chip and presented me with his Boston Marathon space blanket that was covered with runners' signatures. It meant a lot to him, and I will treasure it as a special memento of the Vancouver Marathon that was faster than the 52 marathons that preceded it!! Because of my "tilting" injury incurred at the City of Trees Marathon in Boise, Idaho, on November 7, 2004, I had given up on ever running a sub-five hour marathon again.
Lenore and I then went into the BC Stadium where I received my nice, cotton, finishers T-shirt. There was a lot of good quality food still available for late finishers (unlike some marathons that we attend). Then there was plenty of time to visit with friends before the start of the awards ceremony.
My second place age group award was an attractive Adidas sports bag and a gift check. Placing first in the 75-79M Division was Kenneth Karcher, 75+, of Boise, Idaho. He looked familiar because we had finished in the same order at the Great Potato Marathon at Boise in May of 1995, and I remembered him from that race.
When we returned to our hosts' home, they had returned from their racing outing. On Saturday, Karl Jensen, a renowned ultramarathoner, had run a 50 Mile trail race at Elk Lake near Victoria. For encouragement, his friend Lorraine Suomi ran some of each lap with him. He has several 100 mile trail races and some others that are 50 miles or longer scheduled for the remainder of 2007. I've always admired his ability to run those long races.
We again enjoyed our Vancouver Marathon weekend and look forward to early May of 2008 when we'll return to this well-organized race for another friendly event.
Written by Bob Dolphin
Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin