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Tacoma City Marathon

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Race Reports 

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            Silver Striders Shine in the Tacoma City Marathon



by Karen Lichtenstein
with photos by Bruce Fisher

5/5/19 – Tacoma

The weather on Sunday was perfect for the Tacoma City Marathon. It was a little cold at the start, then it was warm and sunny at the end. The race course for the marathon is USATF certified and a Boston Qualifying course. The marathon course was changed this year to add a 2 mile out and back section on Ruston Way, and they eliminated the industrial tide flat section. I liked the out and back section at the start because it gave me a chance to see all the lead runners in the marathon and half marathon.

After the out and back section, we headed into Point Defiance Park for a scenic run through the old growth forest. Just after we passed the turn off for the Point Defiance Zoo, three deer crossed the road ahead of us. The deer stopped beside the road and watched the runners streaming by them. I wonder if the deer watch the race every year because Nancy Larson saw them last year.

I was glad that the half marathon and marathon shared the same course for the first part of the race because I got to run with Silver Striders who signed up for the half marathon. I kept passing Nick and Tiare Bailey on the uphill stretches, and they would pass me on the downhill sections. Finally, Nick and Tiare pulled ahead of me and ran on to finish the half marathon.

After running through residential neighborhoods, we reached the Scott Pierson Trail. I was relieved that part of the race course was on well protected trails because the traffic at intersections was dangerous. The Tacoma police did an excellent job stopping traffic so runners could cross the intersections. Unfortunately, there were some drivers who were not paying attention, and I saw two close calls. I was just starting to cross a road when a car raced by the police officer. The policeman said he could see that the car was not slowing down, but there was no way to stop the driver. In the second incident, I was crossing the road when a car started to turn left toward the crossing runners. The police officer jumped in front of the car and forced the driver to stop. Traffic control is a huge responsibility during races, and I am very grateful for the Tacoma police.

At mile 18, a young man caught up with me and asked what pace I was running. I told him we were running 12 minute miles, and he was very pleased. He had been training at a 10 minute mile pace, but he said he could not sustain that pace for a marathon. He planned to run 12 minute miles, but he did not have a race watch. We ran together for several miles then he picked up the pace for a strong finish.

I appreciated the water stops and the people who were cheering for us along the way. One very enthusiastic man was in his yard waving a Seahawks flag and saying “You’ve got this. There is a medal with your name on it at the finish.” Then later I stopped at a water station that offered Jello shots. I was going to take one until they told me there was alcohol in the Jello. I am glad they warned me in time.

I finally reached Ruston Way, and at mile 23 there was a dollar bill on the sidewalk. I would never stop in a race to pick up coins, but I could not resist a dollar bill. I stopped to pick up the money, but it was difficult because I was tired and stiff. I ran slowly to the finish line, and Sandra Madden was there to greet me.

Soon Dennis Zaborac, Bruce Fisher, and John Phillips joined us. I was feeling dizzy so the other Silver Striders took good care of me with water, ice cream, and a banana. I am so grateful for all my Silver Strider friends.

There were 183 participants who finished the marathon, and 32% of those finishers were Silver Striders. That is an impressive achievement on such a challenging course. The first male Silver Strider was Pedro Reyes finishing in 3:14:50. Merita Trohimovich was the first female Silver Strider finishing in 3:36:59.

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