Over The Dam Run – May 8, 2005



By Bill and Virginia Nicholson

After a 3 year hiatus the “Over the Dam Run” returned to challenge runners to a 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon run over the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State on May 8, 2005. Clearing the date with Virginia’s mother (also her 91st birthday) we made the decision to “go for it.” Motel reservations were made for Saturday night, our bags were packed, car gas tank full, and off we went.
The registration form stated that race packets would be available at the Colorama Festival – located at North Dam Park Grand Coulee. We had no trouble finding the park because of traffic, carnival, craft and food tents. After scouting the park we finally located the race tent, but wouldn’t you know it – we weren’t in the “system.” This was quickly taken care of. On the way back to our car we stopped at one of the food tents for lunch then headed over the bridge to our motel.
Sunday morning started out cloudy with a slight breeze and temperatures in the low 60’s. Perfect running weather!
All runs started at 10:00 a.m. adjacent to Mason City Park in the town of Coulee Dam beginning with a slight downhill then over the bridge for about two city blocks. This was the easy part. The first mile was a challenge to all runners/walkers of all ages and abilities. We climbed 300 plus feet topping at an 8% grade then a mile run across the top of the dam. Once across the dam we had a slight downhill, around a curve and on to the 5K finish for Virginia. I looked at the timing clock and was very happy with my time. We wore timing chips so I was anxious to find out how close my watch matched. After finishing I headed over to the motel for a “therapy” shower!
The 10K and Half marathon runners continued down the hill towards the Columbia River where they ran over a packed gravel road following the river. This was fairly flat. The 10K runners turned around at the 3.1 mile certified point and the ½ marathoners continued on down the road to their turnaround point.
The real challenge was about to begin. The half-mile trail to the finish area was a continuous uphill with a couple of sharp turns – not for tired legs. The timing clock was a welcomed sight.
After crossing the finish line plenty of food was available. A small luncheon basket was filled with fresh orange slices, banana, peanut butter sandwich, and a cookie bar plus various drinks and bottled water.
This most scenic and unique run drew over 380 runners with the biggest participation in the 10K. Six northwest runners established new records on the newly designed courses. The 5K winners were Bryan Schultz, of Spokane, with a time of 17:40 and Kelly Bean, also of Spokane, in a time of 22:50. The 10K winners were Kyle McNaught-Davis of Spokane in a time of 36:52 and Irena Netik of Bellevue in 46:45. Chris Morlan of Spokane won the Half Marathon in 1:18:51 and Marie Boyd of Missoula MT in 1:27:46. All Half Marathoners received a special medal at the finish line. The unique trophies for the top finishers of each race were crafted from the drilling core material taken from the inside of the dam during construction. A very special award.
The T-shirts were white with “Over The Dam Run” in blue. Special wick-away shirts in dark blue were also available to purchase.
This was a wonderful adventure and a beautiful view of the Columbia River Valley and Lake Roosevelt – a definite run to do again.
Bill placed 20 out of 119 overall and 1st in 65-69 age division with a time of 52:12 in the 10K. Virginia “ran” the 5K in 33:46 placing 52nd of 151 runners, 16th of 78 women and 1st in the 65-69 age division. A great weekend.


(pictures are thumbnails from ‘My Race Day’.  See their web site for pictures.)

  All results are available on the http://www.overthedamrun.com