Monday, December 26, 2011

Bob Dolphin - Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon Race Report

Bob Dolphin  (c)

One of our favorite marathon weekends each year is when we travel to Victoria, BC, on Vancouver Island in Canada for the marathon. At the 2010 Carbo Gala Lenore was the lucky winner of a special drawing prize: two complimentary nights at Abigail’s Hotel that’s located not far from the Convention Center near downtown Victoria. It’s a quaint Bed & Breakfast that provides great accommodations that include an evening “Happy Hour” and a Three-Course Breakfast.

This year we drove to Victoria on Thursday, October 6, 2011, to be able to enjoy our two-night stay at Abigail’s before moving to our usual hotel, the Embassy Inn, that’s located at the starting line of the marathon.

On Saturday we visited the Expo at the Conference Center and then enjoyed the afternoon Speakers Series. The highlight for us was Announcer/Emcee Steve King’s interview of “Running Legends,” our friends Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World magazine, and Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Both Bart and Kathrine have had interesting and impressive running careers, so it was a pleasure to hear the interview and then listen to their inspiring talks at the Carbo Gala in the Empress Hotel in the evening. This event has the BEST FOOD of any carbo dinner we’ve attended……plus a stimulating and informative program with many drawing prizes.

On Sunday morning, October 9, 2011, a new adventure awaited me. For the first time of participating in 20+ Victoria Marathons I would be taking their “early start.” I arose early, left Lenore at the hotel and headed a few yards to the starting line to join about 110 enthusiastic runners for the 6:30 a.m. start.

It was still dark outside, the sky was calm and overcast, and the temperature was 55 degrees Fahrenheit. At the beginning of the race I walked and talked with 100 Marathon Club member Frank Searfus, an old friend from Coos Bay, Oregon. After he ran off, I noticed that everyone else had run ahead. I was in last place and the only walker at that time. The woman who started our race became my companion as she rode beside me on her bicycle.

In the first mile the two lanes we used passed the lighted Parliament Buildings and the famous landmark Empress Hotel by the Inner Harbour. In the second mile in the City Center we were directed onto sidewalks and obeyed the traffic lights. I was pleasantly surprised that the first and subsequent aid stations were operational, and volunteers were offering cups of water and sports drinks. By the time I had walked 5 kilometers there were street monitors directing runners to and within Beacon Park. When daylight arrived, monitors were at all junctions, so my bicycle escort left me.

The park had interesting fall colors of yellow, orange and red foliage. Gray Squirrels were gathering horse chestnuts, and several hundred Mallards were clustered on a pond and adjacent lawns. Soon I began to see participants from other race. As I left the park, I walked in a lane opposite the hundreds of 8K runners who were going back toward Victoria. As I re-entered the park briefly, the front runners of the half marathon passed by. They were followed by many other runners of that race.

At 10K (6.2 miles) the marathon leaders, both Kenyan runners, went by. It was crowded on the course until the turn-back at Mile 8 for the half marathoners that routed them back toward the finish area. From then on it was less crowded, but I had many marathon runners to visit with along the way. The sea views were remarkable as were the sights of suburban housing and Oak Bay Village.

With a halfway time of 3:55:26 it looked like I would finish in over eight hours. By the time I reached the final 10K it was a treat to have Malcolm Anderson from Ontario walk and visit with me for a mile or so. He’s the author of “The Messengers,” a recently published book about megamarathoners. After he ran on, I crossed the 30K (18.6 mile) mat and concluded that a sub-8 hour marathon might be possible after all, even with two hills ahead.

A “One Mile to Go” sign indicated that I needed to push the pace. I passed five motorcycle policemen on the roadside which suggested that the course was about to be closed. However, they accompanied me but didn’t pass me. When I could see the finish arch, I walked to it as fast as I could and met Lenore on the timing mat. My chip time was 7:55:03. I had met my goal! I was the last finisher in a field of 1,631 runners, second in the 80-84M division, but I was the only one to be escorted to the finish line by five motorcycles abreast behind me.

Steve King announced accolades about my marathon statistics, and Race Director Rob Reid gave me an attractive finishers medal. Rob, Kathrine Switzer and Bart Yasso congratulated me, as they had done for all previous finishers.

At the following award ceremony in the Conference Center I received a second place plaque, a bouquet of flowers (for Lenore) and a standing ovation. The name has changed from the Royal Victoria Marathon to the Goodlife Victoria Marathon, but the royal treatment that we receive continues!!

Congratulations to the top three men and women in the marathon. Their names, times and other information appear in the partial results. Congratulations to Carol Stockall of Victoria for running her first marathon. She sat with us at the Carbo Gala, and I wished her well at the starting line.

Lenore and I enjoyed visiting with Uli and Trisha Steidl of Seattle several times during the weekend. Uli has been the overall winner of many marathons in Canada and the United States and paced the lead women runners as they attempted to qualify for the upcoming women’s Olympic Trials Marathon. Lucy Njeri, 30-34, of Toronto, Ontario, the women’s winner, beat the qualifying time of 2:40.

Thanks go to Rob Reid, his staff and volunteers for putting on another well-organized race. And thanks to Abigail’s Hotel for adding two extra days do our enjoyment.

PARTIAL RESULTS – Goodlife Victoria Marathon, October 9, 2011

2:14:31 Thomas Omwenga, 30-34, Nairobi, Kenya, FIRST OVERALL, First in Age Division
2:25:39 Philip Samoai, 35-39, Eldaret, Kenya, SECOND OVERALL, 1st
3:26:40 Ryan Day, 25-29, Victoria, BC, THIRD OVERALL, 1st
2:37:53 Lucy Njeri, 30-34, Toronto, Ontario, FIRST WOMAN OVERALL, 1st
2:45:30 Uli Steidl, 35-39, Seattle, WA
2:49:48 Chelsea Vanderbrake, 20-24, Yakima, WA, SECOND WOMAN OVERALL, 1st
2:55:39 Nadjia Fry, 25-29, Fairmont Hot Springs, BC, THIRD WOMAN OVERALL, 1st
3:00:04 Trisha Steidl, 30-34, Seattle, WA, 2nd
3:45:05 Guy Yogi, 55-59, Seattle, WA, Marathon Maniac (MM)
3:47:22 Janet Green, 55-59, Courtenay, BC, 3rd
3:48:36 Eric Barnes, 55-59, Mukilteo, WA, MM
4:22:26 Ken Bonner, 65-69, Victoria, BC….He’s run ALL 32 of the Victoria Marathons!
5:03:41 Frank McKenna, 80+, Sechelt, BC, 1st
5:41:16 Frank Searfus, 60-64, Coos Bay, OR
6:05:41 Carol Stockall, 55-59, Victoria, BC….First Marathon!
7:53:07 Bob Dolphin, 82, Renton/Yakima, WA, MM, 2nd
Unknown – Sgt. Michael Bloom, U.S. Army, Puyallup, WA, MM

Written by Bob Dolphin
Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin

1 comment:

  1. Bob, I met you along the course that day and it was a thrill to share some of the journey with you. I enjoyed meeting you and hearing about the beautiful Lenora. Wish I could be in Yakima to help celebrate #500. My recount on Victoria is about you. If you'd like to read it, I included a link. So nice to meet you!