Brian Johnson (MM8807, DA707, HF7287) — If you get a chance to meet members of the Marathon Maniac Community, take the opportunity. It’s something you won’t regret.
As I was putting together my spring run schedule, the Tacoma Marathon wasn’t on my calendar. When Main Maniac Toni Philippi asked me if I was coming for the reunion weekend, I couldn’t say no.
I have never been to the Pacific Northwest. It was something that I had always wanted to do. It didn’t disappoint.
When flying into the area, I was treated to the view of Mt. Rainer from the plane. Growing up in the flatlands of South Dakota, I am not used to seeing Mountains from 40+ miles away.
Mt. Rainer helped drive that point home. It was beautiful. When I was in Tacoma, I finally measured (with Google) how far it was from Tacoma to Mt. Rainer. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was more than 45 miles.
The reunion weekend was broken apart into 3 days of events. Friday, April 28-Sunday April 30 in Tacoma, Washington.
Friday April 28.
Friday was a 2 mile shakeout run. There was a handful of us that were in the area 2 days early that were there for the run. It was my first chance to meet Karen and Dan, Tina, Karen G, and Cade (whom I met in passing at the Pistol Ultra). It was also my first opportunity to meet Main Maniac Toni Philippi in person.
The Friday run took place in and around the Point Ruston Area. Tony told us a little bit about the history of the area. There used to be a smelter on the site. Now it was a big tourist area. It was neat.
Afterwards was coffee at Anthem Coffee. Its a little local coffee shop in the Point Ruston Area. From there, Packet Pickup.
Saturday April 29th.
Saturday was much more involved. There were races that day (Ghost of Tacoma 5K and 1/2 and Full Marathon) as well as another Marathon Maniacs Shakeout Run. This was day 1 of 2 days of races. I only raced on Sunday.
Being the photographer/blogger that I am, I took quite a few photos of other club members as they were racing either the 5k or the half/full marathon.
More Marathon Maniacs had come into the area and were there for the festivities. It was a great chance to meet a few other people that I had only ever interacted with on Facebook. Dan and Karen were back for the run along with Olivia and quite a few others.
We did another shakeout run. Again, 2 miles down the edge of the Point Ruston Area. Tony had brought in coffee and donuts for everyone, so it was a great breakfast opportunity.
Afterwards, I went into Seattle for part of the day to see a friend that lives in the area.
Saturday Evening was a Marathon Maniac/Half Fanatic Dinner out. We had dinner at Farrellis Pizza. I would highly recommend it. The food was very reasonably priced.
Sunday, April 30: Race Day
- Tacoma City Half Marathon
- Marathon Distance or Longer 42
- State 25
The Tacoma City Marathon is a very good local race. Its extremely scenic (and hilly). If you aren’t ready for the hills on the first half of the race, you are going to not enjoy yourself.
The race day started really early. I was up at 4:30 to drive down to the Point Ruston area, to grab the shuttle bus to the start line at the Tacoma City Airport.
The day before Tony had given us a suggestion about where to park. The area that he recommended was a little further out, but would be a lot less annoying if we parked there. He was right.
When I pulled in, I met Tina, who had just parked her car. We walked over to the busses. Along the way we were greeted to a beautiful sunrise.
We got in the bus and went over to the starting area. it was about a 20 minute trip.
When we got there, it was a lot of waiting. It was also just a little breezy.
The highlight of the day (at that point) and the weekend was getting to meet so many Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics. We also did a family picture. One before the early start of the race. One before the main race start.
Being a sweeper for the race, my job was to be the last person in the marathon. If anyone got behind me, they ran the risk of being “swept” from the course.
When my race began, it was hard initially to try to maintain the correct pace. I was trying to stay behind the marathoners, but I was also passing many of the half marathoners that were walking.
I was eventually able to establish a pace.
By mile 2, we were crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Its a pretty little bridge that offers a lot of scenic views.
By mile 3, we were getting to more of the residential areas. It stayed that way for a few miles with a lot of rolling hills. I also was taking pictures of Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics along the way as I got a chance.
When I passed the first water stop, there were some marathoners that were waiting to use the porta potty. I called over to them to not wait too long or they may not be able to finish. When they realized I was the sweeper, they immediately started running again. I heard from them they had been waiting almost 20 minutes there.
The later miles of the first half of the race get you into the forest areas. Take a moment to stop and look at the trees, especially if you aren’t used to old forested areas.
As I got closer to mile 12, we hit the point that every marathoner loves to hate. Its when all of the half marathoners turn toward the finish while the full marathoners complete another 13.1 miles.
The second half of the race is a lot flatter and runs along the waterfront. It got a bit boring for me because everyone else was at least 10 minutes in front of me. That’s a good thing when you are a sweeper.
The downside was on the trip back after the turnaround when I got closer to mile 21. The police had to open the road. I got diverted on to the sidewalk. That wasn’t the bad part. I anticipated that. The bad part was the sidewalk involved hills and getting diverted into town. That was annoying. That’s also when I walked a little more. There were quite a few hills there that I wasn’t anticipating.
Walking also ended up being a smart strategy. After the diversion into the town and getting back onto the race course, I had the other downside of being a sweeper. The last water stop had been taken out with 4 miles to go. The humidity was also picking up.
I walked a little more than I should have. I was eventually able to get a public water fountain along the race course and refill my water, reset, and get started again.
I eventually made it to the end. Mission accomplished. And then it was time to party.
The post race party.
The post race party was one last chance for us to get together as a group and celebrate the accomplishments of the weekend.
Since I had my club flag with me, I took it out and started taking photos of people with it. We also used it for the group picture.
We also got to celebrate Cade Remsburg being inducted into the Marathon Maniacs Half of Fame for finishing 333 marathons.
This weekend was a lot of fun. I met a lot of my extended running and made quite a few friends along the way.
Family. Family comes in all shapes and sizes. Family can be relatives. Family can also be a group of people that come together for the same common goal. In this case, running. The Marathon Maniac/Half Fanatic Family has members all over the world. If the opportunity arises where the family is coming together for a run, take it. You won’t regret it.
Photo and Post Credit Brian Johnson, Tina Lam, Dan Delino