December 1, 2002
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
The alarm went off just after I awoke in anticipation. It was 4:45 a.m., and it was race day, December 1, 2002. The Seattle Marathon would be starting at 8:15 a.m. near the Space Needle landmark. My cold was past its peak, and my foot injury had apparently healed. I was ready to run another marathon!
Within an hour, Lenore and I were ready to lead our houseguests to the Seattle Center parking area in a two car convoy. The guests were Fenny Roberts and Larry Brown of Salem, Oregon, and Jim Scheer of Vancouver, Washington. There wasn't much pre-dawn traffic, and we readily found parking at the 5th Avenue starting area.
The first person we met whom we knew was Martin Rudow, editor and publisher of Northwest Runner Magazine. Martin was taking pictures and interviewing runners and walkers. We then talked with Al and Catherine Homenchuck of Burnaby (near Vancouver), BC. Al, a 70 year old, has recovered from bra
in surgery for a benign tumor and would participate in the Marathon Walk that would start at 7:15 a.m. We watched this group leave.....most were walking, but some were running.
While waiting for the next race to start, the Half Marathon at 7:30 a.m., we talked to participants whom we know. We also watched Jose Garcia, 32, of Yakima limbering up for this race. Jose set the course record for the YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON on April 6, 2002. He had been ill for ten day
s and didn't decide to run until the day before the race. On race day he prevailed and won the 13.1 mile race in 1:10:33 with almost a three minute lead.
As I was walking Lenore to the finish area in nearby Memorial Stadium where she would volunteer, we were surprised to see Bob Lehew, director of the Oklahoma Marathon at Tulsa. We had spent a lot of time with him the previous weekend at that event and helped celebrate his 60th birthday. When we
met him, he asked if I knew of anyone who had run 60 marathons the year they turned 60. I admitted that I did not. Rick Worley of Kingwood, Texas, and others have run 50 marathons in one year at 50 years of age, but a 60 marathon year will require 8-10 two-marathon weekends and a lot of travel
. The Seattle Marathon is the first one in Bob's quest. We wish this megamarathoner well as he pursues his goal.
As I waited for the race to start, I met Kenn and Jean Zahn of Yakima. Kenn is a marathoner and past president of the Yakima Hard Core Runners Club, and Jean is a competetive walker/runner. They came to cheer their son Mike as he ran his first marathon.
While waiting for the gun, I talked to Scott Krell for the first time in several years. He had run the Seward Park Marathon (also in Seattle) the previous day in 3:42:16. Since he is an experienced ultramarathoner, I didn't think that this weekend marathon double would be a problem for him. (He ran a 3:52:55.)
When we started the race, the temperature was in the low 40's, and the sky was overcast. It became sunny, and the temperature rose to the high 40's....with light winds present during most of the race. In the first two miles it was nice running on 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle. As we entered t
he I-90 lanes, we began to overtake half marathon walkers who left the start area at 7:45 a.m., a half hour before the marathoners. By mile 5 the walkers would follow the Lake Washington shoreline to the north while the marathoners would be on the floating bridge heading east to the Mercer Island turnaround.
On the bridge as the first runners went by in the opposite lane, I was surprised to see that It was three time winner Uli Steidl who was in the lead. It had been reported that a knee injury might keep him from running the race this year. He had a quarter of a mile lead over a group of three runners. On this day Uli, 30, a German citizen who is working on a second masters degree at the University of Washington, became the first to win four consecutive Seattle Marathons. His time of 2:26:36 was his second fastest here, even though he favored his injury and was not pressed by other competitors.
A blond-haired woman was running with the front runners with no other female in sight. Later I learned that she was Joan McGrath, 40, of New Westminster, BC, a special education teacher, who would win her second marathon in a row at Seattle with a 2:51:15. She set a record by being the first ma
ster's winner of the women's race in the Seattle Marathon.
I was pleased to be greeted by one of the front runners. It was Cliff Banister, 41, of Pendleton, Oregon, a longtime friend, who ran a 2:55:32 for third place in the 40-44M division.
My race went well on this beautiful course that shows some of the best features of the Seattle area. I enjoy the run along Lake Washington and in Seward Park. The second half is hilly, but I walk the steepest parts to save my legs for running! The Arboretum and the curvy Interlaken Park are pleasant portions of the course in the last 10K. The final mile is mostly in downtown Seattle, and the Space Needle acts as a beacon to guide participants to the finish line in the stadium. At the half marathon mark in Seward Park my time of 2:09:20 suggested that I would finish around 4:28:40.
My 4:28:33 finish is about as close as I could get! I was second of seven in the 70+M division....another Boston qualifier.
I always look forward to seeing Rich DeCample, a 50 Stater from Renton, to cheer me on with a mile to go. As in years past, Rich was greeting the runners at the 25.2 mile mark with the finish area in sight.
Thanks to the Seattle Marathon staff, committee members, and volunteers for putting on this event.
I saw many runners whom I know on the two out-and-back sections in the race, at packet pickup where I volunteered, and elsewhere. Their results appear on the list that follows.
Written by Bob Dolphin