December 8, 2007


With its variable weather in December, the Birch Bay Ghost Marathon can be inhospitable at times.  Last year it was cold and rainy with a strong headwind as I struggled through the last miles.  With possible bad weather in mind, Lenore called race director Scott Krell to tell him that she might not accompany me to the race as a volunteer or spectator.  He encouraged her to come along on December 8, 2007, and stay in his heated van at the start/finish in Birch Bay State Park and at the 13 mile aid station at mid race.  She accepted his offer, so it was like old times that we’d be going to the marathon together again.


On Friday, December 7, 2007, we drove the 65 miles from our Renton home to Mt. Vernon to stay with our son Jeff and his family.  Because we were almost half-way there, we were able to sleep until 5:00 a.m. the next morning for the rest of the trip to Birch Bay.  As we neared the starting line shortly after 7:00 a.m., we passed Max Welker walking briskly and heading out of the park in the darkness.  He’s a well-known marathoner and ultra-marathoner who had just begun his race and finished it in a time of 6:25:18.


Within the next hour Scott and his assistant, Mike Cartwright, set up a registration table to sign in the six of us who took the 8:00 a.m. early start.  Later there were14 marathoners and 3 half marathoners who took the regular start at 9:00 a.m.


It was a bit cool when my five long-time friends and I started.  The temperature was in the middle 30’s and later reached 42 degrees.  Because it was sunny, it seemed warmer.  The sky was clear and calm, so this was the best weather that I could recall since I first ran this race in 1993. 


It was a good day for a race at Birch Bay, and I enjoyed running with the early-starters, Jim Boyd and Ron Fowler of Seattle, Monte Pascual of Federal Way, Dave Dutton of Camano Island and Stan Nakashima of Mt. Vernon.  All are marathoners with many years of running and racing experience.  I enjoyed visiting with them before the start of the race and talking to Jim Boyd in the first mile.  Then at Mile 3, I watched the last of them run out of sight at the junction of Birch Bay Drive and Harbor View Road. 


I ran alone most of the time and enjoyed the conversations with Mike Cartwright who stopped periodically with the well-stocked mobile aid station that he operated from his vehicle.  Then at the half-way aid station at Birch Bay Scott gave me hot soup and other provisions.  In the second half most of the regular starters passed and some visited before going on. 


As I ran by Birch Bay and Drayton Harbor, I saw flocks of Canada Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Bufflehead, Scaup and Goldeneye Ducks wintering on these extensions of the Pacific Ocean.  Juncos, Song Sparrows and a lone Winter Wren flew into roadside brush as I ran along the country roads.


Last year I ran/walked a 6:17:15 in bad weather, so I concentrated on trying to run/walk under six hours in good weather.  In the last 10K, I competed against the clock and tried to make my failing legs work with short rest walks.  When I finally shuffled to the finish line, I found Lenore waiting for me as I completed my 417th marathon in 5:45:30, 19th of 21 marathon finishers.


Scott provided me with a chair by a heater and gave me a hot dog with all of the trimmings.  It was great service!  I’ve participated in some large marathons where the food was gone before I finished, and no amenities were provided.  Scott and Mike did a super job of taking care of all of our needs.


It had been a good marathon.  Thanks to Scott and Mike for putting it on.  Lenore and I hope to return next year for the December 2008 Birch Bay Ghost Marathon.


…………………………………………..Written by Bob Dolphin

                                                                   Edited, Typed and Distributed by Lenore Dolphin


   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *




3:18:10  Jamie Gifford, Overall Winner

3:30:41  Steven Duncan, Marathon Maniac (MM)

3:33:14 Tony Covarrubias, MM

3:33:50  Joseph Tompkins, MM

3:45:00  Kevin Babbitt, MM

4:01:30  Kurt Lauer, MM

4:09:59  Jess Mullen, First Woman, MM

4:10:20  Ron Fowler

4:14:24  Giles Barbeau, MM

4:25:00  Dave Dutton

4:25:00  Stan Nakashima

4:34:39  Dave England, MM

4:39:05  Kim Lobree

4:45:00  Meg Burtch

4:45:00  Anntionette McCormack

4:47:09  Monte Pascual, MM

4:50:32  Jim Boyd, MM

4;51:00  Susan Sisson

5:45:30  Bob Dolphin, MM

6:01:03  Russell Cheney

6:25:18  Max Welker (Race Walker)