With the volunteer effort of the 2002 Long Beach International City Bank Marathon a recent (and tiring!) memory, it was time for me to head out and run my own marathon(s)!
The plethora of quality marathons in October offered many choices for established events. A friend in West (by God) Virginia suggested the inaugural Trigon Bay Bridge Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA on October 20th. I had already planned to run the Marine Corps Marathon the week after in Washington, D.C., so I took the opportunity for extended travel East to visit my family and friends. Oh, and to run a couple times while I was there!
Long ago, a woman I knew asked if that was all I did – was run (expletive deleted!) marathons. My main idea has always been to see various parts of the world, visit friends, and meet new people. This trip was to be no exception.
My friend, Bob Dolphin, was participating in the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27th as well and said that if I knew of another run in the area beforehand in which we could both compete on consecutive week-ends. While that running schedule may seem strange to some people, it is interesting to note that Bob has done that “double” many times and at age 73 had just completed his 300th marathon! I told him of my intent to do the Bay Bridge Marathon, and he and his wife Lenore made their arrangements to meet up with me and my crew in Virginia Beach.
For many years, I had invited Bob and Lenore to visit the Byers family estate in Berkeley Springs W(bG)V, so we decided that after being way down South in Virginia, we would stay there for the week between.
After arriving in Virginia Beach, I picked up my number at the small Expo and met up with Bob and another marathoner from Washington State, J. Ellis and his entourage. J. was running his third marathon in nine days as he tried to capture as many states as he could on his quest for 50 while he was there. Wow, there really are some strange people out there! With the players assembled, it was time to contemplate the venue.
The draw of this unique event was the initial 14.5 miles of the 26.2 run were on the bridge deck of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
Officially named the Lucius J. Kellan, Jr. Bridge-Tunnel, the northbound lanes opened in 1964 with the southbound added in 1999. Over 20 miles long, the complex shortens the trip from south Hampton Roads, VA, to the eastern shore of Virginia by 95 miles. Named one of the “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World”, the Bridge-Tunnel would host the several hundred participants through its two tunnels (each one mile long) and over the man-made islands along the way.
J. had driven the bridge-tunnel portion of the course beforehand, due to his concerns about prevailing winds, absolutely no shade, and the hard bridge deck surfaces. As he described the course to the rest of us, I did not know if I really wanted to find out ahead of time or not!
Race day dawned to clear skies, but with thankfully lower temperatures. The run began on the bridge so it was an early call to catch the bus to the start. I had a nice time during the run itself and the sunrise from the deck was spectacular. The wind was minimal and there was a lot of scenery to check out. For the first couple hundred meters, at any rate! Afterward it was merely miles of running to get back to the shore which could be seen from at least ten miles out. I did not really mind because the distance included the tunnels and the sweeping bridge sections. With my engineering background, I did have to marvel at the magnificence of it all. The remainder of the run was pleasant through some of the neighbourhoods with the run ending along the Atlantic Ocean.
Each of us finished in good times of just over four hours with fond memories of a well-organized inaugural Trigon Bay Bridge Marathon.
Then it was off to West (bG) Virginia where Bob, Lenore, my friend Angie, and I toured the local attractions my hometown has to offer such as the natural mineral springs - which were much appreciated after the marathon effort on Sunday.
After a week of recuperation, I left for Washington, D.C., where I met up with friends who were in town for a radiology conference. We toured the sites of our nation’s capital and enjoyed the rather balmy weather there.
The Marine Corps Marathon event was well organized as always and was even more pleasant as fellow race directors Bob and Lenore had acquired VIP passes for me and a friend. After sharing time with Race Director Rick Nealis, attending the associated press conferences, and feasting at a nicely prepared pre-race dinner with some members of the Penguin Brigade, I was pumped to do the marathon distance once again.
The run through Washington’s greatest monuments was pleasant and went well but was no shorter than the run the week before! I even managed to turn a faster time than in Virginia though I was slower through the second half in Washington.
After spending some extra time in D.C., it was back to sunny SoCal with another couple marathons done. Again, it had been a great trip with only two days of running –- it had been the experiences and the camaraderie of friends – new and old – which made the trip worthwhile. For those of you who would like to do a very enjoyable “double”, I highly recommend these two events in 2003!