2006 Tucson Marathon

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Report by: Michael Berger

Don't go out too fast. This is probably the single best piece of advice for every runner at every distance. It is especially true in the marathon. At Tucson, there is twice as much downhill in the first half as the second half, and the temperature rises as the race goes on, so it is probably best to plan for a 2-3 minute positive split. This is what Mike Mahurin and Wenise Wong did, and they were rewarded with PRs. And as in the cartoon Scooby Doo, those who did not heed the warning, must pay the price.

The temperature at the start of the marathon was in the 40's and many of the TCLA runners started out fast, shooting for PR's and Boston qualifying times. Unfortunately, around mile 10, a steady 5-10 m.p.h. head wind developed, complicating things for all the runners.

First for TCLA, first in his division, and second overall was Mike Mahurin. Mike ran a strong race throughout, and set a PR. Mike is a self-described "average Joe" runner who consistently runs 100 miles/week. Second for TCLA was LA Legger Greyhound Mentor Eirik Haenschke. Eirik ran a flawless race and set a PR. A few minutes later, David Schwartz, another Legger, crossed the line cheered on by his own personal TCLA cheerleader, Gina Jamero. David ran a strong race, set a PR, and narrowly missed qualifying for Boston. He continues to improve with every race, and will no doubt soon qualify.

Coach's wife Wenise Wong ran hard, smart, and determined not to walk. It all paid off with a personal best, and she was the first woman for TCLA. Wenise has an excellent sense of pace and is a good one to follow if you can. Back at the Westward Look hotel after the marathon, Wenise said that "she left it all on the course," and you could see from the way she walked that it was true. Second woman for TCLA was Jennifer Liu. Jenny struggled in the last half of the race with knee pain, but gritted it out for a good finish and a good place amongst the club's runners. I ran her in for the last 3.2 miles [ed. note: Mike did well himself with a PR of 1:37:15 in the half].

Sam Spencer and Tim Peterson finished a little more than one minute apart. Sam had hoped to qualify for Boston, but still set a PR. Tim is coming back and will no doubt be moving back up the standings. Clarence Smith was determined to run 6:40 pace for this race and set a PR. He has been training well and is definitely coming back to peak form, but today was not his day. He figured this out around mile 10 when the headwinds were picking up and he could no longer hold his 6:40 pace. He "shut it down" and jogged in for the finish. In doing do, he won the much heralded show down between him and Brian Panosian, making their recent marathon battles a 1 and 1 draw. Where will the rubber match be decided?

Hos Dubash's time probably suffered a bit from too much racing recently, and he can plan his next one for many months away. On the bus to the start, Sharon Yamato said that she wanted to run a 4:15, her Boston qualifying time. At the finish, Sharon achieved her goal and ran 4:13:07, taking 5th in her division. As she crossed the finish line, she looked down and realized that she had lost her timing chip. Fortunately, a lot of begging and a check of her watch made it official. Finally, Brian Panosian battled a hamstring injury and showed great perseverance on a day that he acknowledged was "not his day." Instead of dropping out, he encouraged the other TCLA runners and kept on running and walking to the finish.

In the end, it is good to have a realistic plan when you race a marathon, but equally important to check reality at the start of the race and as the race unfolds to see if your plan needs to be modified based on wind, temperature, fatigue, or any other factor. The sooner you face reality, the better a race you will have.

Average Finishing Time: 3:41:20.5
Averge Per Mile Pace: 8:26.5
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