FITNESS VICTORIA MARATHON
FITNESS VICTORIA MARATHON
Running the Victoria Marathon has become such a long-term endeavor that a year in advance, we reserve the same room at the Embassy Inn in Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada every year. On race morning the half marathon and marathon fields gather on the street only 100 feet away, and we can enjoy all of the pre-race activities.
On Friday evening, October 8th, Packet Pickup at the Victoria Conference Centre a half-mile from the hotel went well. We were given a monogrammed cloth bag for carrying the participant bib, disposable timing chip, various handouts and the long-sleeved technical participant shirt with the marathon logo of Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon on it. Goodlife Fitness is a chain of gymnasiums in Canada and became a major sponsor this year.
Steve King, announcer of this marathon and many other Canadian events, was the first person we met that we knew. Later on we visited with Janet Green and Evan Fagan as we toured the Expo.
The next day we enjoyed the afternoon session of the Speakers Series at the Conference Centre. Rod McCrimmon was the Emcee who introduced each set of participants. Steve King interviewed Jacqueline Gareau, the Canadian runner who was the real women’s winner at the 1980 Boston Marathon…..the year that “cheating Rosie Ruiz” claimed the victory. Paul Kennedy, a sportscaster from CBC in Toronto interviewed David Patchell-Evans, CEO of Goodlife Fitness, and his fiancé Silken Laumann. Last on the program were Joe Henderson and Bruce Deacon who conducted the “Coaches Corner.”
Joe brought eleven marathon members of his training team from Eugene, Oregon, to Victoria where two of them were running their very first marathon. Nine more came to run the half marathon.
We were joined by Paul Kennedy, Joe Henderson and his wife Barbara Shaw at the evening’s Carbo Gala Dinner at the Crystal Ballroom of the nearby Empress Hotel. Race Director Rob Reid welcomed the attendees, and Steve King was the emcee for the event. He included Lenore and me in his many introductions as the race directors for the Yakima River Canyon Marathon and mentioned my 474th marathon that I’d be running the next day.
“Lady Luck” was with us again as both of us won drawing prizes. I received a black backpack, and Lenore was the winner (for the second time in three years!) of one of the final, grand prizes……two free nights at Abigails Hotel in Victoria. Last time she won a free stay at the Harbour Towers Hotel.
After the dinner we had our annual visit with Bill & Pearline Schnitzel from Calgary. We met them many years ago when we first went to Victoria via the ferry to Schwartz Bay and became acquainted on the return trip after the marathon. We always look forward to seeing them and many others whom we usually only see at this race.
The Victoria Marathon has always been one of my favorites since I first ran it on October 6, 1989, two days after my 60th birthday in a time of 3:12:59. At ages 79 and 80 my times were 5:21:58 and 5:22:19. This year, at age 81, it was a different story. My times have been getting slower, and I should have left with the early starters at 6:30 a.m. instead of waiting for the regular start at 9:00 a.m.
At that time we had a chance to visit with our adopted grandson Michael Dutton of Marysville, WA…. Jon and Sherry Mahoney Vancouver, BC, and several Marathon Maniacs.
When we started the race, the sky was overcast with no wind and a temperature in the mid 50’s……good running conditions. I enjoyed running with the field for the first miles, but by the time I left Beacon Hill Park five miles into the race I was alone with no other marathoners in sight. Then I had company from the half marathon participants who started at 7:30 a.m. and were running and walking towards the finish area in an adjoining lane.
Going in the opposite direction near the town of Oak Bay I saw two motorcyclists as they escorted the leader, Philip Samoel, 35+ of Kenya. He won the race with a time of 2:23:24. He was followed by James Lander, 30+ of Esquimalt, BC, who finished with a time of 2:23:57. Bernard Onsare, 25+ from Kenya came in third with a 2:26:50.
After that I saw the entire marathon field, including the early starters, returning from their out-and-back portion of the course. Many greeted me with “high-fives” as they passed. By then the temperature had risen to the 60’s, and there were intermittent strong winds near the seashore.
I passed the halfway timing mat in 2:58:05. As I approached the 14 mile turnaround, I realized that I was one of the last participants. Later on a sweep bicyclist who accompanied me provided me with water and made sure that I was “on course.” When I still had four miles to go, I learned that the finish line was being dismantled, so I ran/walked a little faster, passed an early starter and finished in 6:50:13, #2,534 of 2,558 participants who crossed the line and first of two in the 80+ Male category.
There were still some people at the finish line to cheer me on as I came in. Lenore gave me a hug and a finishers medal and found a much-needed chair for me.
Next year, I’ll be going out in the dark with the other early starters! We have our confirmed reservations at the Embassy Inn already and look forward to another exciting Victoria weekend of events put on by Rob Reid, his committee and the many volunteers.
by Bob Dolphin
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PARTIAL RESULTS – VICTORIA MARATHON, 10/10/10
2:23:24 Philip Samoel, 35-39, Kenya, FIRST OVERALL