Sunday, August 18, 2013

YAKIMA RIVER CANYON MARATHON Race Report– April 6, 2013

Bob and Lenore Dolphin...the Dolphin Marathon Team!!


As always, I enjoyed participating in the Yakima River Canyon Marathon (YRCM) on April 6, 2013.  This year was the 13th annual event, and there were 20 of us runners/walkers who have finished all of them.

On race morning I joined a busload of early starters at the Selah Civic Center Race Headquarters for the 35-mile drive to Ellensburg and the start of the marathon.  At 6:00 a.m. I started the race, and we all crossed the timing mat in pre-dawn darkness. 

Dr. Mitch Hungate, my dentist and friend, was nursing a minor back injury, so he walked with me for most of the way.  We visited a lot, and the early miles quickly passed by.  I learned much about his experiences as an iron-man triathlete and mountain climber and will treasure these special hours with him.  Tragically, this was his last race.  He was killed in an avalanche the next Saturday while snow-shoeing near I-90’s Exit 47 on Snoqualmie Pass.

When the 8:00 a.m. “regular starters” began passing us, Chuck Engel, 42, of Coos Bay, Oregon, was in the lead.  He finished as the third, consecutive winner of the YRCM with a time of 2:45:03.  Steve Geertgens, 44, of Seattle finished in second place with a 2:53:49, and Rick Becker, 58, of Selah came in third with a 2:56:03.  Richard Le, 44, of Bellevue set a new wheelchair course record with a time of 1:23:23.

The winner for the women was Julie Gilchrist, 45, of Missoula, MT with a time of 3:12:55.  In second place was Aleah Mickelson, 35, of Yakima who ran a close race to finish in 3:15:45 and beat Gretchen Bodeen, 32, also of Yakima who ran a 3:15:48.

As the runners in the main field passed me, I appreciated those who greeted me and wished me well.  Rich Menzel, 70, of Everett, WA finished with a time of 5:55:36, and Don “The Rev:” Kienz, 57, of Exton, PA had a time of 7:33:50.  Both of them came back onto the course to accompany me in my last miles.  The headwind that slowed everyone affected my progress as well.  I crossed the finish line with a time of 9:33:42, 391st of 392 finishers and 2nd in the 80+ Male Division.

We were privileged this year to have Bart Yasso from Runners World Magazine as the guest speaker at the Friday night pasta feed.  For years his assignments have included participation in unusual races all over the world.  He writes about his adventures and uses his photographs in his slide-show presentations.  As always, the audience was entertained by his humor and exotic subject matter.

In spite of the headwind on the course, it was a weekend of fun that included another reunion for the 100 Marathon Club North America and a race on an awesome course for over 400 runners, walkers and wheelchair participants.

Written by Bob Dolphin

Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin