Last Sunday’s Eugene Marathon brought a large number of Chicoans to the home of the University of Oregon to run in the marathon and half marathon events.
The event provided a great venue for many locals to run their first marathon or half marathon, as well as some personal records among those who have run the distances before.
Two local runners stood out for their stunning finish times: Lindsay Nelson and Paul Smith.
Both Lindsay and Paul are well-known local runners.
(Lindsay Nelson finishing, photo by Kristina Smith)
Lindsay, age 24, and her fellow running phenom fianc, Tim Tollefson, finished first woman and first man respectively in the 2009 Bidwell Classic half marathon. In Eugene, Lindsay finished third overall among women with a time of 2:48:15. That is just a little over two minutes shy of qualifying for the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic marathon trials.
I don’t know if this time represents a personal best for Lindsay but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Considering that all three of the women who represented the U.S. in the ’08 Olympics were between 32 and 35 (and from California!) when they won the Olympic Trials marathon suggests that Lindsay has some years to go to reach her full potential. As a romantic and athletic footnote, Tim paced Lindsay for the first 23 miles in Eugene.
(Paul Smith finishing, photo by Kristina Smith)
32-year old Paul Smith ran his fastest marathon ever in Eugene. His goal for the past year and a half has been a finish under 2:30. At the CIM (California International Marathon in Sacramento) in December ’08 he came tantalizingly close with 2:30:16. Last year’s CIM was a disappointment for Paul because the especially cold weather slowed him down.
But Eugene’s great conditions this year combined with his meticulous preparation led to his crashing through the goal and coming out the other end with a 2:27:34 finish.
For you non-runners out there for whom the idea of running at all is painful, and running fast is excruciating, keep in mind what Lindsay’s and Paul’s respective average paces per mile were for 26.2 miles: 6:26 and 5:38.
Lindsay and Paul weren’t the only Chico runners with good stories to tell. Sean Murphy, former E-R sportswriter (and my co-captain in this year’s Reno-Tahoe Odyssey relay) achieved his ambitious goal of breaking the 3 hour barrier. Like Paul, he not only reached his goal but smashed through it with a time of 2:57:49.
Many runners, most of whom who were in Fleet Feet Chico’s spring marathon training, made their first run at the 26.2 mile distance in Eugene and had strong finishes. These included several young women with whom my partner Keith Slaughter ran at a similar pace with during the training program including Jen Phillips, Alex Woodward, and Stephanie Dwight.
In a not uncommon immediate post-marathon assessment for first-timers, Keith said that this would likely be his first and last marathon. By late in the afternoon he was qualifying that statement and within a day wondering where his next one might be. Funny how that happens. (Good job, Keitho!)
In the half marathon, Chico’s Bill Apger did his first 13.1 miler paced by Terry Koslofsky, who managed to run the half and take a great set of photos of Bill, the course, and groupies led by Bill’s wife Patty and Terry’s wife Renee.
Alan Rice and Susan Zepernick, owners of Fleet Feet Chico, were for once not actually running, and therefore got to enjoy the hoopla and just be out there supporting Chico runners.
In all, 10 Chicoans ran the half marathon (out of 4057 total finishers) and 25 from Chico and Paradise (out of 2339 total finishers) ran the full marathon. Congratulations to one and all!
My own race went surprisingly well even though I didn’t think I was quite as ready as I had been last year in Eugene. Except for the last few miles when I flagged a little, I got into a groove and stayed there. My finish time was 3:18:55 (7:36 pace) good enough for 9th (out of 99) in my age division, men 50-54. I lopped about 5.5 minutes off of my ’09 performance.
I’m pleased with my finish but humbled by the performance from the winning guy in my division, Wayne Crowe of British Columbia. At the same age as I, he ran a 2:50:33! And there were 7 other fellows between me and Wayne. I’ve got a lot of work to do to catch these runners.
One final note about the runners, which surfaced while I was my digging around looking at the finish times of men in my age bracket.
Readers of the Sacramento Bee may recognize the name Daniel Weintraub, former pundit for the newspaper. I used to enjoy reading his columns about California’s dysfunctional politics.
I noticed in the finishers a Daniel Weintraub, age 49, from Sacramento who finished in a remarkable time of 2:48:32 (17 seconds behind Lindsay Nelson). Wondering if this was the same Daniel Weintraub, I did the requisite internet sleuthing to find that indeed it was!
I don’t ever remember his mentioning running in the columns he wrote so it came as something as a surprise. Good thing for me, and good thing especially for Wayne Crowe that when Weintraub runs in the 50-54 division next year we’ll be in the 55-59 group.
During the search for the right Daniel Weintraub I uncovered a great blog I highly recommend to my fellow Chico runners. It’s called “Run, Sacramento”, and is under the auspices of the Bee. Naturally I’ve added it to my Google Reader account.
Weintraub wrote a detailed account of his Eugene Marathon experience.
Scott McManis, is the blog’s main writer and another member of the huge 50-something cohort of runners. He wrote this amusing account of his efforts to keep his feet off of the pavement for at least a week following the Eugene Marathon. Some of my fellow runners out there will empathize. Me? I’ve been happy to give my legs a little rest.