Monday, May 28, 2012

Bob Dolphin Race Report - Yakima River Canyon Marathon (#500)

Bob Dolphin completes 500 marathons!
March 31, 2012

With the successful finish of my 500th marathon behind me, I can be reflective on reaching a thirty-year goal. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of our friends who came to the 12th Annual Yakima River Canyon Marathon (YRCM) on March 31, 2012, to participate in our joyful event.

The selection of the
12th YRCM for my 500th was made five years ago at the 7th YRCM on March 31, 2007, when I ran my 400th marathon. It was a celebration, and we were fortunate to have John “The Penguin” Bingham as the guest speaker and announcer. After the event was over, he asked me if I had plans to retire. I replied that I intended to continue running 20 marathons per year and run my 500th in five years at our YRCM. John said that if I did that, he would be there, too.

Subsequently, when I saw him at other marathons, I would update him on my progress, and he would mention my goal as he made announcements at marathon finish lines. Last year I was apprehensive, so I got ahead of schedule and ran #499 at Adrian Call’s First Call Presidents Day Marathon on February 20, 2012, at Bothell on the Sammamish River Trail northeast of Seattle, Washington. For the next six weeks I did training walks and avoided injury.

John Bingham arrived, as promised, so it was great to enjoy his pasta meal informative and humorous presentation. During the marathon he chauffeured Lenore on the course and stopped to visit with Jeff Hagen, Takao Suzuki and me as we walked along together. At the awards dinner we shared a table, and he handled the presentations. I will always be thankful that he helped make my 400th and 500th marathons special occasions. Before John left to return to his Chicago home, I was careful not to make any predictions for a 600th marathon!!

Race day was eventful. Lenore and I awakened early, dressed, ate a snack and left our Yakima home at 4:15 a.m. We were accompanied by houseguests Jim Scheer and Ric Hart. Eb Engelmann followed in his vehicle. Fenny Roberts and Rich Menzel would leave later for the regular start. We drove to the Selah Civic Center where Early Starters left at 5:00 a.m. for the ride to Ellensburg and the 6:00 a.m. start.

Shortly after we left the starting line I greeted Jose Nebrida as he walked in patriotic race garb, carrying the American flag as he has done at all marathons since September 11, 2011. He is truly an inspirational patriot! I visited with Dave Goodrich who traveled 3,000 miles from Maine to help me celebrate my special day.

Cyndie Merten and I both carried canes. She had strained a foot in a recent race, and I used my cane primarily to put an arm to work on hills. JR Phillips was there to accompany his long-time houseguest Jose Nebrida. For awhile I walked with Patrick and Sean Sexton, father and son, until they took a brief break.

Runners great and congratulate Bob while running his 500th Marathon - photo by Takao Suzuki

The two who stayed with me the whole distance were Jeff Hagen and Takao Suzuki. Jeff told me that two years earlier he decided to accompany me on my 500th marathon, and I’m glad that he made this decision. Our conversations were interesting and helped pass the time. Takao is a runner/photographer and took many pictures of Jeff and me throughout the day.

The weather was fine for walking and running with temperatures ranging from the mid-thirties to fifty degrees later in the day. The winds were mild, and the sky was overcast throughout with light snow at the beginning that melted with ground contact.

Who wants to stop and get a picture with Bob?  This guy , #18!  - photo by Takao Suzuki

I wore three layers on my legs and a hooded Ty-Vek jacket as my 4th layer on top, so I walked comfortably. In the early miles cups of water were provided by a roving vehicle “aid station.” The first active aid station was manned by the Cascadians hiking club in the sixth mile.

It was serene as we walked in the Canyon with few others in sight. Running activity increased as the regular 8:00 a.m. starters caught up with us. The first one to pass us was the 2011 winner, MJ (Marathon Junkie) Chuck Engle, of Coos Bay, Oregon. He surprised me when he stopped and ran back to congratulate me. Needless to say, I appreciated his thoughtfulness. Congratulations to Chuck for winning more marathons than anyone else when he won his 145th marathon at the River City Marathon at Sacramento, California, in 2:40:07 on March 24, 2012. He is an employee of Marathon Guide that sponsors him.

This year Chuck won the YRCM in 2:43:34. In second place was Alex Gay, 23 of Portland, Oregon with a time of 2:46:56. Kenn Clark, 38, of Olympia ran a 2:52:25 for third. Cliff Richards, 51, of Maple Valley, the “Physical Therapist for Runners,” finished sixth overall and first place in the 50-54 Male division with a 2:55:08.

The women’s race was won by Armani Emmal, 20, of Bonney Lake in 3:18:06. Closing in on her was several times winner Mary Hanna, 50, of Maple Valley with a 3:18:28. Jennifer Yogi, 36, of Seattle came in third with a 3:21:08.

I walked at a 20 minute pace and didn’t push it so that I could negotiate the Rosa (Dam) Hill in the 23rd mile better than I did last year. It worked, and there were no post-hill rest stops as in 2011. The downhill walking in the last 5K was easy. In the last mile our Renton dentist, Dr. Mitch Hungate, his wife Marilynn and Rich Menzel came out to meet me. The finish line was a welcome sight, and I walked to it behind Cyndie Merten.

#500 is in sight!  - photo by Takao Suzuki

Keith Henry announced my 500th finish, and Lenore (my favorite race director) gave me a hug and put a finishers medal around my neck and a laurel wreath on my head. Ruth Laughlin, our “flower lady,” gave me a bouquet as I rested on a chair.

Bob & Lenore at the finish! - photo by Takao Suzuki

It was exciting to have a big group here. There were friends, runners and relatives that included daughters, son, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and their children and grandchildren. A nephew, Kirk Hudson from Wenatchee, had been a participant After awhile we went to the Selah Civic Center, a building that’s invaluable to our race.

Five days before the marathon we had a Pep Rally there for volunteers to review their race day duties. Drawing prizes and light refreshments were offered. On the day before the race the Civic Center was used for registration, packet pickup, merchandise sales, ticket sales and a few booths.

This weekend was an 11 year reunion for the 100 Marathon Club North America that Lenore and I direct…..with the assistance of Cowboy Jeff Bishton of Florida. At the Friday meeting at the Selah Civic Center, the members introduced themselves and reported their total number of marathons and ultras completed. There were 44 members present, and their total was 11,076 for an amazing average of 251 marathons per person!! Milestone pins were presented to those who had reached totals of 300 or more, and a random drawing was held for the door prizes.

In conjunction with the pre-race pasta meal on Friday evening, we enjoyed the humorous presentation by John Bingham. After the race on Saturday, there was a baked potato feast with all of the trimmings, tossed salad and cake. This was followed by the awards ceremony when special awards were presented. Fran Libasci from New Jersey and Jane Herzog from Tacoma received 100 pins for completing marathon #100 that day; Diana Robinson from Bellingham completed #200 and received a #200 pin; Cathy Troisi came from New York to run marathon #300 on her 66th birthday and receive pin #300; I received a #500 pin.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received some other very special awards. Marathon Maniac Founders Steve Yee, Chris Warren and Tony Phillippi gave me a commemorative plaque that included a picture of me at the Lake Chelan Marathon; Ron Fowler of the Evil Triplets presented me with a beautiful, black jacket with my name and “500 Marathons” embroidered on it; Roger Biggs, Jack Brooks and Peter Graham from the 100 Marathon Club United Kingdom gave me a large club medallion and a 500 patch; and John Bingham presented me with the quilted wall hanging made especially for my 500th marathon by “Quilt Mama” Bev Whitehouse of Puyallup.

It was a wonderful weekend with another successful Yakima River Canyon Marathon. Thanks, again, to everyone who helped make it so special. To answer questions about my next goal…’s to run marathons in the ten states (NH, VT, NJ, DE, GA, OH, NE, KS, ND & WY) still remaining to become a 50 States Marathon FINISHER.

Written by Bob Dolphin

Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin

Addendum from Lenore………I, too, want to thank everyone who has helped Bob reach this special goal and THANKS to: (1) The Yakima motorcycle policeman who gave me Bob’s hearing aid that was found in the first mile on the course. (2) Al Brown from the Yakima Greenway for providing “Queen Lenore’s Chariot,” my golf cart transportation at the finish area. (3) Brent Coles, marathoner from Dallas, Texas, who sold us the maps of the 100 Best U.S. Marathons for us to give as mementoes to all who shared in Bob’s big 500. (4) John “The Penguin” Bingham for keeping the promise he made five years ago to come back for Bob’s 500th marathon. (5) Kittitas County Sheriff Gene Dana for the hug he always gives me before the start of each Yakima River Canyon Marathon. (6) To everyone who came from all over to be there for Bob on his big day. (7) To the Yakima Hard Core Runners Club, YRCM committee, volunteers and all who helped make this race such a great event.

Bob and Lenore Dolphin...the Dolphin Marathon Team!!
Special thanks to Takao Suzuki for providing some of the photos in this story!

1 comment:

  1. Bob,
    Check out the Green Mountain Marathon in South Hero, VT - so scenic with great volunteers!