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  • Vancouver International Marathon Race Report

    by Bob Dolphin


    It was race morning on Sunday, May 1, 2005, and Lenore and I left the new home in North Vancouver of our weekend host, ultra runner Karl Jensen, to follow the same route we had taken the day before to the marathon-sponsored carbo-loading dinner. We arrived in time to see the start of the half marathon and to watch the wheelchair participants leave.

    There was also time to visit with friends in the VIP tent that was adjacent to Steve King's announcing booth. We had recently spent time with Rick Nealis, Marine Corps Marathon race director, and Sylvan Smyth from the Royal Victoria Marathon at Boston and were pleasantly surprised to see them again in Vancouver.

    The weather was fine for running a marathon. There were sunny skies, temperatures in the high 50's and 60's, and calm to light breezes.

    As time drew close to the 7:30 a.m. start, I joined the many runners lined up behind the elites and recognized five-time winner Uli Steidl of Shoreline, WA. He had been joined by a group of runners from Africa, so I felt that it promised to be a competitive race.

    As I waited on the adjacent sidewalk for the start, I had a chance to chat with Marathon Maniac Mike Shiach from Bainbridge Island. Our paths have crossed often in the past few months……at the Marine Corps Marathon last October, our Yakima River Canyon Marathon and the Boston Marathon in April and now the Vancouver Marathon. He's planning to run six marathons in six consecutive weekends.

    Jon Gissberg of Seattle was there with his brand new "New Balance" shoes. It's a style you won't see on many other participants because Jon is a barefooted runner and his new "shoes" were the trademarked "N" on the top of each bare foot. He's amazing!

    Just before the race started, I had a chance to say, "Hi," to Jim Kunz of Seattle and Marathon Maniacs Kurt Lauer of Seattle and Michael Dutton from Everett. After that, it was time to concentrate on the race.

    My run felt good in the early miles, but I still walked the hills to conserve energy and ensure that I would finish. In the third mile the lead vehicle, followed by a pack of seven runners, passed in the opposite lane. I was concerned when I didn't see Uli among them. Within 100 meters, Uli appeared as he was running hard on the downgrade to catch up. The out-and-back is new this year, and it is great to see the front runners and a lot of friends such as Tony Phillippi, Mel Preedy, Susan Marshall and Don Milliken ahead of me, going in the opposite direction.

    In the 10th mile as Jon Gissberg passed me, I had a chance to find out that his feet felt fine, and his new "shoes" were okay. About that time I stopped briefly at a large storefront window to check my reflection. As I suspected, my right side tilt was back, so I looked for road cambers that would tilt me in the opposite direction. I concentrated on leaning to my left side.

    Between the 12th and 16th mile we ran in Stanley Park, a large wooded, urban area. Because of it scenic beauty and attractive maritime sights, it is my favorite part of the marathon.

    As I climbed the hill in the 15th mile, a young 25+ runner introduced himself as Noel Fudge of Maple Ridge, BC, a first-time marathoner who had been chasing me for some time. I wished him well, and he ran on ahead to finish in 5:29:04.

    The last ten miles are in suburban areas where there are parks and great views from the Burrard Bridge. This part of the course is pleasant enough, but there are a few long hills that take a toll.

    I walked the last six miles at a 15 minute pace and passed a lot of walkers. The last mile is downhill and then flat, so it goes by quickly. I crossed the finish mat at 5:42:10 with Steve King saying nice things about me. Lenore, Catherine & Al Homenchuck were waiting for me. I was the 3,913th male finisher of 4,012. This was my best marathon time in 2005, and it's an hour faster than my Boston Marathon two weeks earlier.

    Finishing with me as I crossed the line was Dana Mosell of Walnut, California. We had spent a delightful weekend with him at the Mystic Places Marathon at East Lyme, CN last October. He's a recent 50 States finisher (November 2004) who plans to run his 100th marathon at the March 2006 Los Angeles Marathon.

    In the post race recovery area we visited with Mae Palm of Garibaldi Heights, BC, and congratulated her for winning the 65-69F age division in a time of 4:03:15. She's an accomplished triathlete and will compete in the upcoming Hawaiian Ironman.

    It was a pleasure to go to the awards ceremony and see the elite front runners from faraway countries up close. Some top American and Canadian marathoners from the Pacific Northwest were also there.

    As at Boston on April 18th the winner was an Ethiopian. Kassahun Kabisa, 22, broke away from Stephen Kiprotich, 20+, of Kenya in the 20th mile and ran alone from then on to finish in 2:15:39. Stephen ran a 2:18:39 for second place, followed by Juan Carlos Cardine, 30+, of Columbia (2:18:31) and Moses Cheserek, 25+, of Africa (2:21:45).

    Uli Steidl who has an amazing string of five consecutive wins at Vancouver to 2004 finished in 2:34:41. Nik Southwell, 30, of Victoria ran a 2:35:51 for 6th position and was the first Canadian to finish. His most recent marathon win was at the recent Yakima River Canyon Marathon on April 2nd. The first Masters finisher was Paul Abdalla, 40+ from Duvall, WA, who ran an impressive 2:39:34.

    For the women Rima Dubovik, 41, of the Ukraine ran a 2:44:05 for two wins…..the women's championship and the first Masters woman! Mary Akor, 25+, of Nigeria and Gardena, CA, the women's 2004 winner, was close behind in 2:45:22. In third place was Uli Steidl's fiancé, Trisha Rosenberg, 30+, of Shoreline who finished in 2:53:47.

    It was fitting that as we left the BC Place Stadium after the awards presentations that we met Tony Phillippi and Annie Thiessen, the fastest Marathon Maniacs in the race. Tony ran a 2:57:17, and Annie finished with a 3:05:56 which earned her a third place award in her age division.

    It was another great marathon weekend in Vancouver, and we look forward to next year's international race on the first Sunday in May.

    Partial Results, Vancouver International Marathon, May 1, 2005
                  (MM = Marathon Maniac)
    2:57:17  Tony Phillippi, 40+, MM, Tacoma, WA
    3:05:06  Al Harman, 40+, MM, W. Vancouver, BC
    3:05:56  Annie Thiessen, 30+, MM, Tacoma, WA, 3rd
    3:12:54  Jennifer Yogi, 25+, MM, Seattle, WA
    3:20:56  Alicia Britt, 40+, MM, Seattle, WA
    3:23:46  Kurt Lauer, 43, MM, Seattle, WA
    3:34:28  Mark Looi, 40+, MM, Issaquah, WA
    3:44:02  Janet Green, 50+, MM, Courtenay, BC
    3:46:46  Lesa Overfield, 45+, MM, Tacoma, WA
    3:51:42  Claudia Cooper, 45+, MM, Seattle, WA
    3:56:04, Michael Dutton, 30+, MM, Everett, WA
    4:03:15  Mae Palm, 65, Garibaldi Heights, BC, 1st
    4:04:40  Mike Shiach, 50+, MM, Bainbridge Island, WA
    4:10:18  Diane Palmason, 65+, Blaine, WA, 2nd
    4:15:13  James Richards, 35+, Calgary, AB
    4:24:17  Jim Kunz, 55+, Seattle, WA
    4:42:59  Don Milliken, 60+, Victoria, BC
    4:54:41  Susan Marshall, 55+, MM, Duncan, BC
    4:59:26  Mel Preedy, 72, MM, Ravensdale, WA
    5:01:08  Jon Gissberg, 60+, Seattle, WA
    5:07:17  Diana "Slug" Robinson, 35+,  MM, Bellingham, WA
    5:29:01  Al Homenchuck, 70+, Burnaby, BC
    5:29:04  Noel Fudge, 25+, Maple Ridge, BC
    5:40:11  Dana Mosell, 50+, MM, Walnut, CA
    5:41:20  Bob Dolphin, 75, MM, Renton, WA
    5:44:08  Stuart Heller, 60+, Seattle, WA
    5:48:35  Titus Cusiak 76+, Vancouver, BC

    # # #


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