All marathons that I run are an
adventure.My sense of expectations is
really enhanced if I’m able to run an inaugural marathon, especially if I
haven’t driven the course ahead of time.There are always some unanticipated surprises along the way.
Winthrop Marathon on September 26,
2010, in the Cascade Mountains of
north-central Washington fit my
interest of running a marathon that was new to all of the entrants.This one also appealed to me because it was
point-to-point along the pristine ChewuchRiver north of Winthrop,
mostly in the OkanoganNational
Forest, and finally in rolling agricultural land
downhill to the finish in downtown Winthrop.
is an old western town that has retained its charm to become a tourist
attraction, so Lenore and I spent three days there to appreciate the
opportunity to become better acquainted with the vicinity.
before the race we drove nine miles to the GrangeBuilding in Twisp for packet pickup
and a complimentary pasta meal.We
checked in, picked up my bib number and met James Varner, the race director and
president of the Methow Valley Race Club.As a seasoned untramarathon director, he brought considerable experience
to this new role.He directs the 25K/50K
races on nearby SunMountain,
the Cle Elum 25K/50K and the 50Miler/50K/25K on OrcasIsland, one of the San
Juan Islands of Washington
north of Puget Sound.
While we were
at the grange hall, we had a chance to visit with Evil Triplet Bill Voiland of Richland,
Marathon Maniac (MM) Lesa Overfield of Puyallup, Sharon Carroll & Larry
Carroll of Spokane, MM Michael
Shiach from BainbridgeIsland,
and Julsimo Frankenbruger and her husband Frank Dane from Tacoma.In addition, we enjoyed meeting and visiting
with others at the complementary pasta feed.
morning I walked half a mile in the dark and light rain from the Hotel Rio
Vista where we stayed to The Barn, Winthrop’s
community center, where all of the runners met to be transported to the starting
line.It was there that I had a chance
to visit with 81 year old Keith Wood of Sultan.He holds the course record for our Yakima River Canyon Marathon for 80+
Males with a time of !!!
participants boarded three school buses at , and I had a chance to visit with MM Kurt Lauer as we sat
together.After we arrived at our
destination, I visited with MM Gary Otheim of East Wenatchee, Laura Zeffer of
Bellevue, MM Guy Yogi of Seattle, MM Mike Kuhlmann, his son and daughter Daniel
& Ashley of Lakewood, and MM Steve Yee, a Marathon Maniac founder AND
winner of this marathon’s grand drawing prize of a basket full of goodies.
started at , and 99 runners
and two walkers took off on West Chewuch Road.I watched my footing on the graveled/sandy
road and when I had a chance to look up, the last runner in front of me was
soon out of sight.From the second mile
on I didn’t see another runner, but I enjoyed the scenery, the solitude and the
company of the volunteers at the aid stations.After three miles, the road surface changed to a pleasant asphalt
surface.Within a mile we crossed a
bridge over a turbulent creek that flowed into the main river.
We started at
an elevation of 3,300 feet and had a net loss of 1,550 feet from the start to
the finish in Winthrop.Much of the course was rolling and included
The forest by
the river was primarily made up of Ponderosa Pine, but there was some Douglas
Fir, Douglas Maple, Black Poplar, Quaking Aspen and Blue Elder as well.Shrubs included Snowberry, Red Osier, Wild
Rose, Oregon Grape and False Box.Native
flowers were Fall Asters and a dozen Old World invasive
plant species.Yellow to red fall colors
in the foliage of many deciduous trees and shrubs were attractive as autumn had
come to the mountains.Chipmunks and Red
Squirrels frequented the roadside while crows, ravens, robins and song sparrows
flew overhead.The smaller birds scattered
into the brush as I ran along.As a
nature lover, this course was ideal for me!
halfway mark, the light rain stopped, the cloud cover evaporated and the air
temperature rose from 55 degrees at the start to 80 degrees before I
finished.Eventually, in the second
half, my run/walk became a continuous walk.At Mile 20 the course went over the JohnsonBridge permitting a good view of
the river.We then followed East
Chewuch Road to Winthrop.
The last mile
went well as I walked downhill to the finish line on a town street.The crowd was small, but Lenore, the race director,
our friends Hal & Patty Porter from Manson, Terry & Delores Sentinella
from Anacortes, Laura Zeffer, Julsimo & Frank…..and others…..were there as
I finished in 6:39:28 and received my “sheriff’s star badge” finishers medal.I was 96th of 98 finishers and
third in the 70+ Male age division.
is one of my favorites, so it was a treat to have a Mexican Restaurant at the
finish line…..and to be treated to a great meal there afterwards.Other sponsors provided free beer and
delicious homemade icecream cones!!
The winner of
the inaugural Winthrop Marathon was James DeSalvo, 34, of Winthrop
with a commanding lead to finish in .Jerry Mark, 51, of Beaverton,
Oregon, came in second with a and Josh Owen, 32, also of Beaverton,
OR, was third with a .
Yogi, 35, of Seattle was fourth
overall AND the winner for the women.MM Genia Kacey, 34, from Sultan finished
second with a and in third
place was Mary Orcutt, 54, of Winthrop
with a time of .
Thanks go to
James Varner and his volunteers for putting on a great race.I recommend it without reservation as a
marathon that is well-organized and very scenic.