Marine Corps Marathon
October 30, 2005
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
The 30th anniversary of the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) was celebrated by race director Rick Nealis, his support staff and the United States Marine Corps in a big way. To share the marvelous marathon with more runners this year, the cap for participation was raised to 30,000 for race day, Sunday, October 30, 2005.
The MCM 8k and the Healthy Kids Fun Run added to the number of runners and walkers who joined in the weekend activities. To accommodate the extra participants, the race headquarters was moved from Crystal City, VA, to Washington, DC, with activities in the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill and the D.C. Armory that's located 1.5 miles from the U.S. Capitol.
The armory was a spacious building that was large enough to handle packet pickup, a varied Expo and entertainment for two pre-race days. At the hotel there was a two-day Race Directors Boot Camp, a Healthy Kids Pasta Bash, an MCM Celebration Pasta Dinner and an MCM Post Race Party.
On race morning, transportation services by Metrobus and Metrorail began at 5:00 a.m. to bring runners and their families to the start/finish area near the Iwo Jima Monument adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery and Rosslyn, VA.
The opening ceremonies before the race were impressive and solemn as a chaplain prayed that the Marines and other servicemen in Iraq and other dangerous overseas posts would return home safely. This was followed by the singing of the national anthem and the electrifying feature of the show put on by the Navy Seals. A team of eight parachuted from a helicopter and landed in leap frog succession on a red "X" target on the pavement in front of the starting balloon arch and timing mats.
To reduce the congestion of runners in the early miles, there was a two-wave start. The elite, seeded and faster runners wore scarlet colored bibs and started at 8:15 a.m., while those with gold colored bibs crossed the starting mat at 8:45 a.m. In order to reduce the time that roads and intersections would be closed, the 50 wheelchair participants were released three minutes before the gold start at 8:42 a.m..
The weather on race day was ideal. Under clear skies and only light breezes near the Potomac River, the temperature was about 50 degrees at the start and 65 degrees as the last participants finished in the afternoon.
With military precision, the race went off smoothly. This was due to the organization and execution of race management and the many volunteers who contributed their expertise and energy to the marathon and supplemental events.
It was fitting that the honor of winning the 30th Marine Corps Marathon was contested from start to finish by two runners, and the outcome wasn't decided until the first one of them crossed the finish line.
Carl Rundell, 37, of Birmingham, MI, had raced the MCM several times and knew the front runners by name and reputation. Wearing bib #13, he thought that this was his year to win. In the early miles in the lead pack there was only one person he didn't know. This fellow was still with him by the 6th mile when the others started to drop back. They battled back and forth for the next 20 miles. Only after the race was over did he learn that this competitor was Ruben Garcia, 34, a corporal in the Mexican Navy, who crossed the finish line in 2:22:18. This was the fastest finish time since 1997. Carl was close behind with a 2:22:26, and in third place was Eric Post, 26, of Centreville, VA, with a 2:23:54.
The winner of the women's race was Susannah Kvasnick, 33, of Great Falls, VA, who finished unchallenged with a 2:47:07. In second and third places were Liz Wilson, 37, of Eugene, Oregon, who ran a 2:49:55 and Emily Brozozowski, 26, of Savannah, GA, with a 2:54:55.
The first handcrank participant to finish was Todd Philpott, 48, of Sydney, VA, who had a time of 2:12:15. David Swaim had held the wheelchair title but came in with a 2:28:04. Holly Koester, 45, of Cleveland, OH, won the female wheelchair division for the sixth time finishing in 4:06:12.
It was great to see running friends on the course as they passed me going in the same or opposite directions. Some of them were Steve Barrick, Jason Gordon, Gina Moore, Fenny Roberts, Jim Scheer, Terry Sentinella, Chris Warren and Steve Yee.
My race went well, to a point. I started out at a 10:30 pace and tried to keep my cumulative time under an 11 minute pace. As I walked some of the hills in the second and third miles in Rosslyn, I fell behind schedule. But I made it up on some downgrades. At Mile 19 I was still at an average 11 minute pace, but I slowed down quite a bit from then on. I walked/ran a 14 minute pace in the last 5K to finish with a 5:06:50 (11:41), 12, 355th of 19,211 finishers and 2nd of 14 in the 75+M age division. Even though things didn't go well in the final miles, it was still my fastest time in 2005.
I enjoyed being part of a great race with runners from all 50 states and 44 different countries. Most of them seemed to be enjoying themselves as they looked at the monuments and government buildings during our tour of the Nation's Capitol.
It is fitting that we finished at the Marine Corps Memorial where we could reflect on what the Marines have done for our country. They have carried on a tradition that began in 1775 and continues to this day at home and abroad.
There were 7,000 active military service men and women in the race. Most of them were from the five American branches and others came from the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico and a few other countries.
It had been a marvelous week for Lenore and me. On Monday we traveled from Boston to the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, and then checked in at the Red Roof Inn in Alexandria, VA, our "home" for the week.
On Tuesday we drove 25 miles south to the Quantico Marine Military Base where I had been stationed several times during the Korean War. This included Officer Training School. Most of the main camp looked familiar, but many new buildings have been added since I left there 50 years ago.
Our main reason for this trip was to visit the newest building, the headquarters of the Marine Corps Marathon. Race director Rick Nealis and staffer Connie Sayers were our guides for the tour. Following that we visited the Post Exchange to shop for replacement ribbons, medals, stripes and bars that had been stolen during a burglary at our home several years ago.
The highlight of the next day was meeting Renee Dexter, Michaela Gaaserud and their husbands Clark and Pete for dinner at an Alexandria restaurant. Renee and Michaela are the publishers of the book From Fairbanks to Boston - 50 Great U.S. Marathons. Included in this book is a chapter on our Yakima River Canyon Marathon that I had authored.
On Thursday Fenny Roberts and Jim Scheer flew in from the West Coast, so we were all able to be at the D.C. Armory when it opened at 9:00 a.m. the next day for packet and T-shirt pickup. By Friday afternoon it was time for Lenore and me to sign in at the Marine Corps Marathon Race Directors Boot Camp.
The Boot Camp's evening function included a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Washington. The sights of the river shore from dusk to dark were great, and the quality of the food was excellent. The high point of the cruise was listening to Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee relate how running and a new diet had changed his life. His recently published book You Don't Have to Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork describes what running has done to improve his health. The Little Rock Marathon in March of 2005 was marathon #1 for him and his wife Janet, and the Marine Corps Marathon would be #2 for both of them.
Saturday, it was back to the Boot Camp for breakfast and the morning session of lectures on race management topics. After a lunch with John Elliott of marathonguide.com, Rachel Ridgway and Larry Herman of the Frederick (MD) Marathon, and Ralph Staph, Cleveland Marathon Race Director, we all "shuttled" back to the armory. We spent the afternoon listening to Rick Nealis' talk, hearing the patriotic songs of the gifted soloist who would sing the national anthem before the start of the race, and selling (and autographing) some From Fairbanks to Boston books at Rene and Michaela's booth.
Included in our Boot Camp entry fees were tickets to the Saturday evening buffet dinner at the Hyatt Hotel. The guest speaker was Dick Beardsley who had been the guest speaker at our April 2, 2005, YRCM, and will be back in 2006. Dick's stimulating and humorous presentation was followed by the ceremony for the 30th anniversary of the Marine Corps Marathon
Ken Berger, the MCM announcer and emcee for the evening, narrated the event. A Marine honor guard brought in the colors, and everyone in the large ballroom stood for the playing of the national anthem and the remainder of the ceremony. A large anniversary cake was then brought in. The first two pieces were cut with a saber by two Marine officers and given to me, the oldest runner in attendance. To symbolize the passing of the guard from one generation to the next, I passed a piece of cake to the youngest runner, a 16 year old young man. It was an inspirational conclusion to a wonderful week and great preparation for the big event the next day.
We appreciate all of the work that Rick Nealis, his staff and the United States Marine Corps put forth to make it all happen. Semper fi!
Written by Bob Dolphin
PARTIAL RESULTS - Marine Corps Marathon, October 30, 2005
2:22:18 Ruben Garcia, 34, Mexico, 1st overall
2:22:26 Carl Rundell, 37, Birmingham, MI, 2nd overall
2:23:54 Eric Post, 26, Centreville, VA, 3rd overall
2:47:10 Susannah Kvasnicka, 33, Great Falls, VA, 1st woman overall
2:50:03 Liz Wilson, 37, Eugene, OR, 2nd woman overall
2:54:58 Emily Brozozowski, 26, Savannah, GA, 3rd woman overall
3:03:40 Ken Blauvelt, 40, Renton, WA, Marathon Maniac (MM)
3:10:44 Terry Sentinella, 41, Anacortes, WA, MM
3:19:17 Jay Wind, 55, Arlington, VA, 100 Marathon Club (100 MC)
3:28:26 Steve Yee, 46, Renton, WA, MM, 100 Marathon Club
3:39:56 Chris Warren, 38, Renton, WA, MM
3:45:23 Lisa Blauvelt, 38, Renton, WA
3:47:31 Jim Anderson, 48, Auburn, WA, MM
3:55:05 Steve Barrick, 43, Kent, WA, MM, 100 MC
4:01:52 Robert Borglund, 77, Fort Myers, FL, 1st of 14 in Age Division
4:09:16 George Banker, 55, Oxon Hill, MD
4:14:38 Greg Roth, 51, Richmond, VA, MM
4:15:15 Jason Gordon, 41, Puyallup, WA, MM
4:16:01 Kevin Brosi, 50, Flower Mound, TX, MM
4:19:05 Gina Moore, 54, San Marcos, TX, 100 MC
4:19:33 Kirstin Elling, 43, Schenectady, NY, Married at the MCM Starting
Line 9 years ago, Wore Anniversary Singlet
4:23:28 Mark Watson, 37, Renton, WA
4:25:35 Rick Kovecki, 37, Estero, FL, MM
4:27:02 Rachel Ridgway, 34, Frederick, MD
4:31:14 Katie Burn, 19 Randolph, NJ
4:37:29 Mike Huckabee, 50, Little Rock, AR
4:38:05 Donald Kienz, 50, Exton, PA, MM
4:50:52 Faustyna Fatula, 49, Steubenville, OH
4:56:07 Andrew Edwards, 34, Columbia, AL, MM
4:58:03 Fenny Roberts, 53, Salem, OR, MM
4:58:03 Jim Scheer, 63, Vancouver, WA, MM, 100 MC
5:05:17 Sue Fauerbach, 58, Renton, WA, MM
5:06:38 Bob Dolphin, 76, Renton, WA, MM, 100 MC, 2nd of 14
5:09:33 Keith Whited, 53, Alexandria, VA, MM
5:11:04 Amanda Preble, 41, Honolulu, HI, MM
5:15:53 Larry Macon, 60, San Antonio, TX, MM, 100 MC
5:16:06 David Bell, 42, Highlands Ranch, CO, 100 MC
5:19:36 Bob Elling, 57, Schenectady, NY, Married at the MCM Starting Line
9 years ago, Wore Anniversary Singlet
5:42:49 Bob Carr, 77, St. Augustine, FL, 3rd of 14
5:58:34 Marilyn Bullard, 59, Pearland, TX, One of the four patriotically
6:00:04 Ray Scharenbrock, 72, South Milwaukee, WI, 100 MC
6:02:47 Sharon Kerson, 63, Culver City, CA, 100 MC
6:22:54 John Bingham, The Penguin, 52, Chicago, IL
6:39:41 Carlton Mendell, 84, Windham, ME, 9th of 14
7:07:10 Janet Huckabee, 50, Little Rock, AR
7:17:05 Margaret Hagerty, 82, Concord, NC, 2nd of 3