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#19 – Birch Bay International Marathon

Marathon Man - Birch Bay International Marathon

17 February 2013 – 4 hrs 53 min

It was another cool morning in Washington with overnight rain looming large over the day ahead. On arrival to Birch Bay State Park it was great to meet up with other runners prior to the event and finally catch up on the start line with Chuck Engel, also known as the Marathon Junkie

The marathon and half marathon start was at a very generous 9am for a Sunday morning with close to 100 people running in the marathon and almost 300 the Half Marathon. The start of the course provided the chance to chat with a few people primarily in the half marathon and lead out from the State Park on a gentle decline prior to reaching the lake and town centre, and with this I noted that there would be a little incline to deal with towards the finish line.

Marathon Man - Birch Bay International MarathonIn making our way through the Birch Bay township we would soon approach the first drink station prior to a larger hill that would lead us out on a 10 mile loop that we would have to complete twice before making our way back towards the finish line. It was not too long before I saw Cami Ostman providing great support on the side of the road with camera in hand and it was a pleasant surprise to see her so early in the race. Now I have sort of adjusted to the rain and it continued to fall steadily soon after the start and was not looking like stopping anytime soon.

I had been warned prior to the race that there would be this monster hill to deal with and sure enough this was soon to prove the case. Following scaling the steep hill Ashley Forgey and Melissa Sarkies both good friends and Fitness Instructors from Seattle caught up to me and we soon started chatting. It was fun to share the road with these girls, compare stories of our adventures and help each other keep pace for the majority of the first 10 mile lap during some period of heavy rain.

Marathon Man - Birch Bay International MarathonCami joined us at around the 8 mile mark to join in the banter which was great to have the company of three “Marathon Man Angels”. I had spotted two girls one in bright pink and the other in “Marathon Man” blue over the opening stages having the times of their lives singing and shouting and generally having great fun! I thought naturally that these girls must be running the Half Marathon although soon discovered to my pleasant surprise that they were actually running the full distance as we approached the turning point for the second loop when we caught up to them and they were chanting ‘One More’ I soon found myself joining in saying ‘One More Time’ over and over …

I was able to keep on track with the Ashley and Melissa until the turn to head back for the second loop where the girls took a little time out for supplies and I kept going on only to soon find them flashing by me. Cami soon appeared out of nowhere to reunite with Bill who had been out on a training run and then I was left to my own devices. I did meet up with Micaela Jensen and Tracy Marshall friends with Cami on the course for a brief catch up and also have the opportunity to see a lady running in good form with her husband and kids all out in support driving in a large red SUV and on some occasions running side by side providing encouragement and supplies while stopping along the way to cheer her on at intervals. This was really nice to see and sure it provided some valuable support.

Marathon Man - Birch Bay International MarathonThere was no doubt that I was feeling a little exhausted and tight towards the second half particularly after pushing it through at a solid pace in the opening stages following the marathon the previous day. I was still feeling good even though there were times the small rocks were getting into my shoes and causing me to stop and adjust at the drink stations with the life span of this pair of Asics GT-2000 almost well and truly up.

In the closing 6 miles I tuned into the iPod to focus on the job at hand as really wanted to finish with a time under 5 hours today after just missing out on the wet and slippery trails the previous day. Now something came over me – I was like a man possessed in the closing stages and it was like I was floating as over the final 3 miles as I must have passed close to 10 people coming home in 4:54:01. Seriously need to lock in those songs for future events as they worked perfectly!!!

I met up with Leah Laughlin and Maria Guzman who were the two crazy wild girls singing and shouting their way through the marathon at the end to find that they were both 23 year old kindergarten teachers running their first marathon! Awesome stuff girls and look forward to sharing the road with you again. It was a good day out and one to be pleased with after sharing it with some great people and putting together two consistent back to back marathon efforts.

Marathon Man - Birch Bay International MarathonI had been planning to run an event promoted as the President’s Day Marathon on Monday although when calling to check on the event I was told that there had been little interest and the event was most likely to be cancelled. It was interesting to find with a little more research that the event was perhaps not the best event to support and soon found myself having to change plans and make my way to Texas a little earlier than planned.

Birch Bay International Marathon Gallery

2013 Statistics:

Marathons Run – 19
Total Distance Run – 801.7 km / 497.8 miles
US States Completed – AZ, CA, FL, NV, TX, WA
Total Drive Distance – 1,892 km / 1,176 miles
Total Flight Distance – 13,889 km / 8,631 miles

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