Monday, December 26, 2011

Bob Dolphin - Walla Walla Marathon Race Report

Bob Dolphin        (c)Denny Brooks /
We’ve often used the word “Walla Walla” to answer a crossword puzzle question, but this city in the southeast corner of Washington State was a place Lenore and I had never visited.  Every year I like to run or walk a new marathon or two, so the second annual Walla Walla Marathon on October 16, 2011, was added to our schedule.

Their website information noted that the course was open for 6½ hours, and an early start wasn’t offered.  At this stage of my injury/recovery I can’t run a marathon, but I can walk one in 7-8 hours.  Before we wrote off Walla Walla to go elsewhere for a marathon to keep my countdown to 500 marathons moving, Lenore called race director Dan Elsom to discuss my dilemma.  We were pleased that this Ironman Triathlete/race director was willing to allow me a two-hour early start so that I could finish the race without delaying the race closure activities.

On Friday we drove to Kennewick to be the guests of family members, Lenore’s niece Jeanne Murphy and her husband Stu.  The next day the four of us drove to Walla Walla, checked in at the Best Western Hotel and went to Race Headquarters at the Marcus Whitman Hotel for packet pickup……and to meet Dan Elsom.

He welcomed us and told me to be at the starting line at 6:00 a.m. the next day when a timer would start my run.  By then the whole course would be coned, mile markers would be in place and directional change signs would be at the intersections.

Early the next morning Stu drove me to the starting line, and the timer started me right away.  The first two aid stations were unmanned on my first of the two loops, but a large water keg and cups were available.  When they opened, the friendly volunteers offered water, sports drink and Powerbar gels. 

By Mile 10 the first runners of all of the races began to pass me.  Many of them greeted me, and most of them knew my name and marathon stats….(thanks to an announcement at the start?)  Marathon Maniac #313, Hope Fox, introduced herself to me.

For most of the second loop I walked alone until Karen Maas caught up with me in the 21st mile.  We talked briefly, and then she ran on.  The last 10K went fairly well.  A red-tailed Hawk followed me from pole to pole for awhile.  I was wearing a blue rain poncho at the time which may have raised its curiousity.

When I walked to the finish in 8:08:28, last of 32 runners, Lenore hugged me, placed a finishers medal on my neck and led me to a folding chair.  Dan, his wife Paula and the friendly volunteers congratulated me, and then Dan presented me with a first place plaque for the 80+M division.

We were glad to welcome our Marathon Maniac friends, Cyndie Merten of Corvallis, Oregon, and Jane Herzog of Tacoma, a short time later as they finished a weekend double with times of 6:01:41 and 6:23:02, respectively.  Remarkably, they had run the Defiance 50K in Tacoma the day before on the trails of Fort Defiance Park.

Now, when we write “Walla Walla”as a crossword puzzle answer, we’ll think of the great memories we made at the second annual Walla Walla Marathon.  The double-loop course through town and suburban areas is a good one.  The aid provided on the course and at the finish line is super AND the volunteers are helpful and friendly.  We highly recommend it, and hope that we can return next year.


3:07:54  JD Jaspersen, 43, Walla Walla, FIRST OVERALL, First in Age Division
3:18:34  Brian Bartlett, 22, College Place, SECOND OVERALL, 1st
3:25:24  Stephen Ellis, 44, Kent, THIRD OVERALL, 2ND
3:26:57  Marcella Rietz, 38, Walla Walla, FIRST WOMAN OVERALL, 1st
3:30:21 Patrick Moore, 27, Costa Mesa, CA, 2nd
3:30:58  Maryanne Bulman, 33, Woodinville, SECOND WOMAN OVERALL, 2nd  
3:32:20  Alyssa Breetwor, 20, Walla Walla, THIRD WOMAN OVERALL, 1st
3:38:37  James Cabe, 39, Kennewick, 1st
3:44:28  Hope Fox, 37, West Richland, Marathon Maniac (MM), 3rd 
3:45:21  Ken Moore, 56, Walla Walla, 1st
3:47:28  Alina Rice, 31, Enterprise, Oregon
3:54:49  Jimmy Wilhelm, 23, Colton, California, 3rd
3:54:49  Stacey Jensen, 20, College Place, 2nd 
3:58:03  Amy Holt, 34, Kennewick
3:58:24  Shellie Daniel, 44, Walla Walla, 1st
3:59:20  Theresa Ross, 21, Spokane, 3rd
4:01:40  Suzy Waters, 55, Kennewick, 1st
4:04:42  Jeff Young, 35, Portland, Oregon, 2nd
4:06:34  Stacy Morrison, 41, Walla Walla, 2nd
4:06:35  Sean Duffy, 51, Walla Walla, 2nd
4:14:42  Jeremy Morris, 35, La Grande, Oregon, 3rd
4:18:24  Emily Hammargren, 35, Olympia
4:32:42  Georgeta Gruescu, 38, Bothell
4:34:06  Lisa Page, 36, Kennewick
4:34:31  Rebecca Robb, 37, Washougal
4:41:29  Rachel Barber, 32, Camas
4:41:29  Karra Adams, 30, Camas
5:37:21  Karen Maas, 53, Newberg, Oregon, 2nd
6:01:41  Cyndie Merten, 55, Corvallis, Oregon, MM, 3rd
6:23:02  Jane Herzog, 48, Tacoma, MM, 3rd
7:05:18  Donna Covi, 59, Portland, Oregon
8:08:29  Bob Dolphin, 82, Renton/Yakima, MM, 1st    

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

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