December 26, 2001
Race Report by Bob Dolphin
For years I had wanted to run the Tucson Marathon, add Arizona to my state
list, and learn more about the natural history of the Sonoran Desert.
Last summer a former college roommate and good friend of Lenore's, Ramona
Pease, and her husband Joe invited us to visit them at their Tucson home.
While participating in the Tucson Marathon, it was a good opportunity to
see friends and fulfill some other goals at the same time.
The Tucson Marathon is a point-to-point race that starts at 4,800 feet in
elevation and then drops 2,000 feet before the finish. It is well known
as a place to run fast times. On Sunday, December 9, 2001, at the 7:30
a.m. start the sky was clear and the temperature was cool (about 40
degrees). Because of a 15 mph wind, it seemed colder. Later the
temperature rose to 65 degrees as we ran into a headwind.
We started on a country road in an evergreen oak/mesquite area and ran on
rolling terrain to the small town of Oracle. Soon afterward we ran on a
state highway in a natural setting of giant cacti, mesquite and acacia
trees, yucca, many kinds of cacti and thorny, evergreen shrubs. Housing
was sparse and only near the finish at Las Conquistador Sheraton Hotel in
the town of Oro Valley (near Tucson) did shopping centers, condominiums
and light industry become common place. It was a great run!
For the third consecutive year, the Tucson Marathon was won by Bissimoro
Soro, 32, of Tucson, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast in Western Africa.
He led from the start and ran unchallenged to a 2:20:00 time (5:20 pace).
He is training for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Periodic
training stints in Kenya are expected to help him reach his goal. In
second and third places were Scott Young, 32, of Tucson (2:28:35) and Drew
Mumford, 29, of Prescott, Arizona (2:35:04).
The women's race was closer than the men's for the top three positions.
The first woman was Miho Izumikawa, 29, of Japan who is a post-doctorate
student at the University of Arizona located in Tucson. She took over the
lead at 20 miles and ran on to win with a 2:52:33. Close behind was Molly
Friel, 34, also of Tucson with a 2:54:19 and Erica Larson, 30, of Los
Alamos, New Mexico.
While riding the bus to the starting line, I had the pleasure of sitting
with long time friend Chuck Cammack, 55, of Albany, Oregon, and Surprise,
Arizona. I have always admired Chuck's running accomplishments in
marathons and ultramarathons. On this visit I learned that he is an
accomplished triathlete and has participated in the Hawaiian Ironman at
Hilo twice and also in the Canadian Ironman at Penticton, BC. He also is
an endurance swimmer and is planning on participating in a 26 mile
swimming race at Tampa Bay, Florida, in the near future. He was hoping to
run another sub-three hour race at Tucson. He accomplished that goal by
running a 2:59:28 to beat the clock. He was 62nd overall and came in
first in the 55-59M division.
Lenore and I were some distance from our home territory, but we met Chuck
and his wife Sue, also an avid runner, at the Expo as Ramona Pease, our
friend and hostess, was squiring us around the Tucson area. Our group was
joined by Joe Dana, an Oregon runner now living in Tucson, and by Wiley
Hurst and Jeff Trammel of Yakima, Washington. Wiley ran a 3:59:06, and I
assume that he was pleased to run a sub-four. Jeff ran a 1:20 half
marathon on a sub-three pace, but developed debilitating foot blisters and
had to reluctantly withdraw.
At the Expo and the finish area we saw two women who are 50 Staters and
had run the inaugural YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON on March 31, 2001, that
Lenore and I co-direct. Lynda Petri, 45, of Huntley, Illinois, ran smooth
and steady as she passed me in the last 10K to finish in 4:45:25. We had
seen Lois Berkowitz, 52, of Riverview, Minnesota, at the Oklahoma Marathon
several weeks earlier. Her time was 5:00:08.
Todd Byers, 38, of Long Beach, California (formerly from Seattle) was in
the marathon. He helped in the reorganization of the registration process
of the Seattle Marathon this year. In the second mile of the race, Phil
Baechler, 53, of Yakima and I visited awhile until I stopped at an aid
station. I really was impressed to learn that he designed the Baby Jogger
and was a founder of the well-known Racing Strollers, Inc., located in
Yakima. He ran a 4:50:54. Jerome Focosi, 54, of Spokane and I see each
other often in marathons. I was glad to see that he ran a 3:58:20 race.
My race followed an all too familiar pattern like others in the past two
months. I ran a nine minute pace for the first 10K, and then my right
leg's hamstring muscles cramped. With brief massages and stretches that I
repeated often, I could continue running at a pace that became
progressively slower. Some alternate run/walks in the last 10K on
upgrades were required to finish out the run. I finished with 4:49:41,
1,356 of 1,600 and 4th of 7 in the 70+M division.
Our thanks go to Joe and Ramona Pease of Tucson (and Lakewood, WA) for providing
their gracious hospitality. Ramona and Lenore met in 1947 as freshmen at Central
Washington College of Education (now a university). Joe, a World War II veteran,
was also an alumnus of this school. We really enjoyed the Arizona Sonoran Desert
Museum, the Sabrino Canyon Park, the Saguaro National Park, and other local
attractions that Joe and Ramona took us to.
Our thanks and appreciation also go to Pam Reid, race director, and her
many volunteers who put on a fine marathon and half marathon in a
magnificent, natural setting. Pam is a great marathoner herself and runs
sub-three hour races. We had met her at the Portland Marathon Race
Directors Workshop last September 28 and 29. It was good to see her again
and to be able to participate in this exciting marathon.
Written by Bob Dolphin