Yes, if you were going to get married, 10-10-10 would have been a perfect date. For an indoor wedding, that is.
But last Sunday, October 10, was also the day for two of my favorite marathons — the Portland Marathon and the Victoria Marathon. Both races are festive, well supported by their communities, and on generally flat courses. Both have celebratory finish lines that make you proud to cross.
I wasn’t able to do either one this year, but I had friends who were.
The Portland Marathon was my first marathon, so I will always have fond memories of that run in 2003. Several family members and friends were waiting for me as I finished in a relatively slow 5:07, although I expected it to take longer. I was so full of adrenalin as I got my finisher’s shirt and douglas fir seedling that I felt no pain; it was an incredible feeling to do my first one.
I ran it again in 2004 in 4:30, and have hoped it a third time at some point.
This year’s race was a soggy one, reports Susan Stainsby of Sammamish, a Microsoft co-worker who ran a fine race and finished in 4:45:22. She was one of 7,434 finishers in what is the Northwest’s biggest marathon. Another friend and running pal, John Swenson of Redmond, shook off a nagging injury and finished in a strong 3:39:15, one of his best marathon times.
Eric Griffiths, 28, of Portland, won the men’s race in 2:28:42 (a 5:41 pace) and Kami Semick, 44, won the women’s event in 2:52:02 (6:34). It appears to me that the winning times would have been faster without the rain coming down. Get full results here. For the first time that I know of, a Portland Half-Marathon was also held at this event, and drew 2,247 for the inaugural race.
In Victoria, it was not a rain day, as it often is in October. “Sunny blue skies! Couldn’t have asked for better weather!” cheered Larissa Martin Ralph of Everett in a Facebook reply to me. Larissa is an avid runner and a ringleader of the Ragnar Relay team I was part of in July. She finished the now-named GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon in a stellar 4:32:05, one of 2,635 to complete the race.
A Kenyan runner, Philip Samoei, won the men’s race in 2:23:24 (5:28 per mile) and Catrin Jones, from nearby Nanaimo, B.C., triumphed in the woman’s race in 2:52:20 (6:34). Get full results here and you can watch a video of the marathon finish at this page.
Formerly known as the Royal Victoria Marathon, this race holds special meaning to me because it is where I got my marathon PR (4:29:46) in 2005. I also ran it again, slower (4:44) in 2007. Both races were festive, fun, and run under blue skies and in pleasant, dry weather.
These fall marathons are two of the region’s best. My apologies to any other friends who ran them that I missed.
Till next time.