Monday, December 29, 2008

Drake Well Marathon - 2009!

Mark your calendars, people. Many people have inquired and now I can tell you:

08.09.09 is the day for the return of the Drake Well Marathon!

While the course will not be 105.5 laps around the Titusville Rockets track as it was when I had to create a marathon to keep my 52 marathon streak alive in 2006, it will showcase my hometown of Titusville, PA as well as the nearby forests and trails.

I recently accepted the offer to be the Race Director for the 2009 edition of this race and am already hard at work to make it a success. Along with the marathon there will also be a half-marathon and a One Mile Fun Run open to all runners.

Stay tuned as details develop for a marathon through the Valley That Changed the World!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Competitor Radio

Ever heard of the Rock N Roll Marathon Series? Yeah, I thought you may have. Well, you may not know that this series of marathons, which routinely churns out great race after great race, all with an average of like a bazillion runners, is owned by the Competitor Group. Amby Burfoot, editor at large of Runner’s World magazine, called the group “the best in the game” with regards to putting on high-quality marathons.

Earlier this year, the Competitor Group acquired Competitor Publishing which offers information on training, health, fitness, nutrition, running, cycling, and triathlon. Competitor Publishing was co-founded by Bob Babbitt who in 1980 who completed his first Ironman on $75 police auction bike that had been charred in a fire. Together with Paul Huddle, a top 10 finisher at Ironman Kona, they host the Competitors Radio Show.

Why do I tell you this? Well, tonight I have the honor of being a guest on their show. It will be broadcast live on 1090 AM if you are in the Southern California area. Otherwise, I will assuredly let you know when they post in on their website for mass consumption (or check for yourself HERE!)

In the meantime, Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mississippi Blues Marathon

Well, it won't take me long to kick off 2009's marathon schedule! On January 3rd I will be taking part in the 2nd Annual Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson Mississippi.

With a mission of being committed to a healthier Mississippi, it is hard not to get behind the Miss Blues Marathon. In 2008, Mississippi ranked as the most obese state in the union for the 3rd consecutive year. Hopefully, with the help of the title sponsor of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, this marathon can begin the push towards making obesity a thing of the past.

The course promises to be challenging and I think that is just fine. Nothing wrong with a little difficulty added to a race. You burn more calories that way! And with race weather predicted to be in the 50s, you know I will be a happy camper!

In addition, I will be at the expo selling copies of my book, See Dane Run. So if you are in the area and wish to have an autographed copy, come on down!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Humanitarian of the Year

It is with great honor and pure pleasure that I tell you I was recently given the

50 States & D.C. Marathon Group U.S.A.

Below is the text written by Frank Jobe of the 50 State and DC Marathon group. I want to thank this group for their kind generosity and can only hope I do inspire others to reach for their own goals.

Setting a goal of running fifty-two marathons in fifty-two weeks is a daring thing to do. This is even more daring when you first start planning to do so you have only run six marathons in your entire life. Announcing your goal to the public where any slipup renders the entire project moot intensifies the pressure even more. And if that is not enough, perhaps you should also take time to start a new marathon and be the race director, add a charitable fundraising side to your running, endeavor to speak on the radio, television and newspapers to raise funds and awareness for that charity, continue working a full-time job and maybe also even squeeze in a personal record or two along the way.

This year’s winner of the HUMANITARIAN AWARD is Dane Rauschenberg and all the things listed above developed from a single idea.

Dane is a Penn State and Dickinson Law School graduate and had been working in the corporate world before setting out on this amazing journey. The idea began with how he wished to run a certified marathon each weekend for an entire year. Dane began researching and developing his schedule. One marathon that fit his schedule was the First Light Marathon in Mobile Alabama and while inquiring about the details of this marathon Dane learned that the marathon benefitted L’Arche. This simple inquiry as to what L’Arche did set things in motion for the charity that would benefit from Dane’s efforts in 2006 and into the future.

L’Arche is an international federation of communities where people with a mental handicap and those who help and care for them can live, work and share their lives together. The first community was established in France in 1964 and has developed into many religious and cultural traditions around the world. The United States has sixteen communities and two projects. These communities rely on donations for a portion of their income, the moneys raised by Dane helped the community in Mobile Alabama with their financial needs and Dane believes that the awareness brought to the L’Arche communities around the world will be a benefit for them far into the future.

Dane dubbed his project “Fiddy2” a play on words for the fifty two marathons in fifty two weeks and the financial goal of fifty two thousand dollars. While the financial goal has not been reached as of yet, (Dane is currently at $44,000) Dane is hopeful it will be reached soon. The website remains active and is always accepting donations.

To promote the fund raising effort Dane submitted blog postings, sent out weekly press releases and received radio, television and print coverage. He was featured at various pre-race pasta dinners and spoke all over the country tirelessly about L’Arche and its message.

The weekend of December 22nd did not offer any certified marathons anywhere in the world so Dane took it upon himself to organize and be the race director of the inaugural Drake Well Marathon in his home town of Titusville Pennsylvania. The race was capped at 25 runners and consisted of 105.5 laps around the high school track. Runners from nine states took part in this event.

Dane had some impressive records to his credit before his fifty- two marathon challenge in 2006. In 2003, he broke the course record at the Presque Isle Endurance Classic by completing eighty-four miles in twelve hours for an amazing 8:30 minute mile pace. In 2005 he won the PT Cruiser Challenge in Tampa Florida, which was event consisting of a 5k, 15k and a marathon in a twenty-four hour period where the winner had the lowest cumulative time.

Running in 2006 took Dane to twenty eight states, two Canadian Provinces and the Cayman Islands. Dane’s goal was to not simply show up at raced but rather run at or near his peak week-in and week-out. In his forty second marathon of the year, he set a new personal record by running under the coveted three hour barrier with a finish time of 2:59:48 in Niagara Falls Canada. On top of that, Dane showed you can get faster by racing often by averaging a 3:13 for the second half of the year after averaging a 3:29 for the first half of the year.

For the giving of his time and talents to benefit those that are less fortunate. The 50 State and D.C. Marathon Group U.S.A. is proud to present to Dane Rauschenberg the 2009 Humanitarian Award.

May his belief of benefiting L’Arche far into the future continue to be a reality.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Autographed Books - Dallas White Rock Marathon

I had a wonderful time speaking and signing books this weekend at the Dallas White Rock Marathon. Signing from the SPIbelt booth, I completely sold out of the advanced copies of the books I was given by my publisher (and had just received mere seconds before the expo opened.) I actually had to start a sign-up sheet for those who came by on the second day and there were no books to sell!

Fortunately, I have another large shipment of books being sent to me very soon. These books will be available for all of those who were wishing to get theirs signed but cannot wait until I make it to their area!

This can be done by clicking on the "BUY NOW" button to the right here on my blog, or by simply going to Paypal sending the money to The total cost of the signed book (shipping and handling, signature and inscription included!) is just $23.00. As soon as I receive the books I will send them to you immediately from where ever I am in the country! (Yep, I plan on carrying padded envelopes and books with me everywhere I go!)

In addition to signing books, I got to see friends Bart Yasso, Dick Beardsley, and Bill Rodgers once again. Bart I had seen back at the 24 Hour race in Philly where I paced my friend Larry Herman in July. Bill and I were running together back at the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in October. But I had not seen Dick in two years. When I finished listening to his speech, I was the first one to greet him coming off of the podium. First of all, I had the unenviable task of actually trying to entertain the crowd right AFTER Dick. But second, I wanted to thank him for writing the foreword to my new book, See Dane Run.

My first thoughts were, with two years gone by, it might take him a second to recognize me but my ego soared when his face lit up and he exclaimed: "Dane! So good to see you!" Dick was using a pair of crutches as he was recovering from some knee surgery. You could tell he was far from happy but it never came out in his words. My best wishes go to Dick for a speedy recovery. He was signing copies of his wonderful book, Staying the Course. If I did not have a signed copy already I would have got one for sure.

Bart and I only had a brief time to talk as we both arrived at the exact same time on Friday. I helped him and his beautiful wife Laura carry some of his own book into the expo. Bart's is a great book that you should definitely check out. It is called, My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon.

If following Dick wasn't bad enough on Day 2 of my speaking, I had to follow Bill on day one. Always fun to listen to, Bill entertained the crowd and was telling them about his own book as well, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jogging and Running.

Bill asked me how my own book sales were going and was happy to hear that we would be seeing each other again real soon. Where that will be, dear readers, I have not yet revealed! But stay tuned!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. The people at SPIbelt were wonderful to work with and I was super happy to be able to help them spread the news about their fantastic product. They have many new designs and ideas coming out and I only see nothing but good things for them.

A special thanks to the White Rock Marathon people for having me in to talk amongst such runing legends. This thought does not go unappreciated. I hope that we are able to work togeher for many years to come.

To all those I met this past weekend, I really do hope you stay in touch. I hope the book inspires you to do even greater things and that you too reach your own dreams!

Run forever!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dallas White Rock Marathon Speech / Book Signing

This Friday and Saturday I have the privilege to be speaking at the Dallas White Rock Marathon at 2:30 PM. A race I ran back in 2006, I will unfortunately have to miss the running festivities this year but am very pleased to announce that I will be signing copies of my book, See Dane Run, at the SPIbelt booth both before and after the speech.

You may recall I waxed poetic (not really) about what a great product the SPIbelt was and I proved in in Tucson by wearing it for the entire 26.2 miles. The SPIbelt is so unobtrusive, not only did I have to check to see if it was still on during my race, in order to see it in the picture below, you will have to click on it and look for the little blue pouch right below my bib number.

Come listen to my speech, buy a copy of my book and walk home with a brand new SPIbelt! It is the trifecta of awesome!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tucson Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 22nd Edition
516.1 miles raced in 2008
Race: Tucson Marathon
Place: Tucson, AZ
Miles from home: 772 miles
Weather: 50s; cloudy

* As Always, check back for pictures to come.

I made it no secret that I was going for a large personal best at the Tucson Marathon. (I wanted a 2:45.)
I am also aware that many felt there was no way on God's green Earth I was going to do that on this particular day.

Well let's end the suspense right here: I did not get that 2:45. In fact, my actual goal of 2:49 also was not obtained by me at the race. The only thing left to salvage this weekend (race-wise) was whether I would set a personal best at all. Come join me.

Setting the Stage:

I was well aware that I might have been biting off more than I could chew with an attempt to run a personal best at Tucson. Forgetting a rather stressful personal year and the 14 other marathons I had ran this year, was the double combo of pacing the 3:10 group in Seattle just one week earlier, and a ridiculously early wake-up call just to make my plane on Saturday. However, I knew that Tucson's course had some features that suited me and I felt I might as well give it a try.

Before it was time to race, I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at the pre-race pasta dinner. Even though I had to be up at 5 am to get to Tucson, flight layovers and traveling only put me at the expo/pasta dinner place a little after 3 PM. With a scheduled speech time of 5:30, I set up shop at the expo, signed a few autographs on the flyers publicizing my book, See Dane Run, and made contact with a few new friends. I also was fortunate to sit next to the El Paso Marathon booth and there is a possibility I will be running and speaking there next March. So if you are out in the west Texas town of El Paso (thank you Marty Robbins) let them know you want me there!

The pasta dinner speech was one of my favorites yet. The dinner recipients were warm and friendly. Many questions were asked and lots of laughs shared. I had the privilege to meet even more old friends and make new ones as well.

It was pretty amazing that there was even a young woman there who was only racing in her second race EVER and it was a marathon. (Yes, Tammy, I am talking about you and your 4:04 finish! You beat my first marathon time by 8 minutes!)

Many other stories, far too many to recount here, kept me smiling as well. I left the Hilton with plenty of good feelings in my heart.

Race Day:

Like the day before, but even worse, I began my day by being awake FAR before the sun made its first arrival. By grabbing a cheap hotel in South Tucson, I made it almost a guarantee that I would have very little sleep. You see, the race began north of Tucson, was a point-to-point race which required a bus to the start and a loading time of 5:00 AM for the 7:30 AM start. So yep, I was up at 3:34 AM. *shudder*.

I mentioned features that made the course suited to my talents and the main thing that suited me was Tucson's downhill running. Below is the profile.

At first blush, like any profile that looks like you could put wheels on your shoes and coast right down, I knew there is always more to the story. Consulting with friends who had run the race, reports on the net and sundry places to find running info, I was aware of plenty of risers throughout. You see, yes, there is over 2200 feet of down in this race but there is also close to 600 feet of up and some of it in the worst places. Let us begin.

First 6 miles:

I knew this race would be divided into three separate section. The portion of mostly downhill from the beginning to the 10 mile mark would be the first. With a desire to get a 2:45:59, I would have to run an average of 6:20 minute miles. This is a nice even number for figuring purposes because every three miles equals 19 minutes. So when I hit the first 6 in exactly 38 minutes I knew I was dead on. I simply had to do the exact same thing for the next 4 miles until I hit section 2.

As I accidentally deleted my splits, I am going by my memory for the mile times, but I am usually pretty accurate in my recall. It is also easy to do so when at 9 miles I was at exactly 56 minutes! One mile later, I was sitting pretty at a 1:03:30.

The Biosphere 2 Section:

I had been warned about this rolling hill section and I was so glad I had been. An out and back of roughly 2 miles in each direction, with the turnaround near the Biosphere 2 research site is what awaited us.

On the 2 miles out, I lost nearly a total minute off of my pacing, half from the hills, half from me intentionally slowing to save myself. But after only losing another 10 seconds heading back to the main highway, I was feeling pretty good.

Third section: The Highway to the Finish:

Miles 14-24 average about 700 feet of downhill per miles. This sounds like a nice gentle downhill which a donwhiller like myself can really take advantage of and for the most part that is true. However, there was just enough incline here and there to throw off such a runner. That said, I was still routinely running the pace that I needed to mile after mile.

The weather could not have cooperated more with a mostly cloudy sky and a temp that kept the sweat from accumulating too much (the desert dryness helped too!) I simply wanted to get to mile 20 feeling as good as I did and knew I could run 6:40s and go sub 2:50. However, right at mile 20, the race changed. A barely perceptible uphill began here and time began to slip away. I knew that there was a hill a mile 24 and what I most assuredly did not need was to LOSE time before that hill.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. At mile 23, I ran my first 7 minute mile of the day and a sub 2:50 was more or less gone. The lead woman passed me right here and this was the first time I had been passed since nearly the beginning of the race. I wanted to see if I could stay with her and use her energy. But she steadily pulled away. In between half-marathoner nearing the finish, I could see her weave and bob up ahead (she would eventually run a 2:50:12 so even if I had stayed with her I would not have broken into the 2:40s.)

The last thing I had to grasp for was a new personal best. But to be 100% honest, I did not care at this point to do so. I knew that if I did, it would be by mere seconds and it just did not matter to me. Plus, every single time I tried to push just a little bit, I felt like I might be bringing some of the contents of my stomach. So, I just kept running. A runner passed me with about half a mile to go and I had no answer for him.

I could see the finish line ahead and the clock ticking away. All of a sudden the competitive juices began to flow. I picked up the pace the best I could, pushing forward all the way through to the finish line arch of balloons. I passed under the arch, immediately doubled over, feeling like I was going to vomit.

This feeling passed just a few seconds later and as the announcer told the crowd about my 52 Marathons I waved and was quite happy I hadn't spilled my guts. Then I remembered my time! I quickly clicked my watch but did not know how long ago I crossed the line. When my results were not posted immediately with others I went to the race results people. Apparently, my chip had not registered anywhere on the course.

Oh. My. God.

But before I could have a heart attack, they told me they would check the back-up mats. Sure enough, my time DID register. 2:51:40. That makes it a one second personal best. Wow. Now that is close.

After grabbing a quick shower, I returned to the finish line. The sting over missing my goals was quickly lost as person after person I had just met or who I knew for sometime, crossed the finish line. Smiles, hugs, and handshakes were abound.

Not a bad day in Arizona.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Last Tease for SEE DANE RUN

I have shown all of you the front cover of my new book See Dane Run previously but I now have the entire cover to reveal. You will see quotes from legendary runners such as Dick Beardsley, Jerry Dunn, Joe Henderson and Dave McGillivray on the back cover.

I could not be more proud of this and hope that it makes its way into everyone's stocking this holiday season! Click on the image below to see it super-sized!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Seattle Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 21th Edition
489.9 miles raced in 2008
Race: Seattle Marathon
Place: Seattle, WA
Miles from home: 845 miles
Weather: 50s; fog

It has only been three weeks since I both ran a marathon and wrote a recap but it felt as if it had been ages. I had been in California for the marathon, went back to SLC, traveled to California again, stopped briefly in SLC again before skirting over to Ohio; drove to Pennsylvania for a week, drove back to Ohio and then finally flew to Seattle. Remembering I was not in my own bed was not the problem, trying to figure out what time zone I was in is what gave me pause.

I have been eagerly anticipating the entire Seattle Marathon weekend for months upon months. When I began my new career as a full-time speaker, the Seattle Marathon people were some of the first to welcome me with open arms. A full slate of events were planned for the weekend, including a book-signing, a 5k run, a full-day at the expo, my speech at the pasta dinner and then a little 26.2 miler to wrap it all up.

Well, my new book, See Dane Run finished printing too late to promptly get its wet ink in book form to Seattle for signing so my enthusiastic friends/family/fans had to settle for me signing posters at the expo and books promised to be signed later. I got to meet many people with whom I had been speaking for quite some time now, including Bradley, who has lost over 60 lbs in his transformation from chunky man to 3:30 marathon finisher!

I was curious how I would handle the Seattle Marathon. I had been planning to set a new personal best at the Tucson Marathon the week after Seattle for some weeks, so I obviously did not want to wear myself at Seattle. Then after spending a week running in 20 degree temperatures and inches upon inches of snow while visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, I saw the forecast for the Seattle Marathon looked perfect: highs in the 50s, partly cloudy, ho humidity. Should I instead try and run a personal best here even though I had just put in 70 miles in the previous 7 days? Or should I stick to the original plan, run a relaxed sub-3:10, and see if the downhill course of Tucson would finally give me that elusive sub 2:50? I knew it would be a race morning decision or rather one I would make after the first 10k of the race, which is how long it usually takes me to know how I feel in a marathon.

Prior to the race, I had been asked to participate in the Kids Marathon. An endeavor that the Seattle Marathon created to foster both physical fitness and general well-being, children had to either complete 25 miles of exercise in the year leading up to the marathon or in the alternative, read 13 books and do 13 “good deeds”. When they got to the day of the Kids Marathon they were to run the last 1.2 miles of their race and finish on the same football field that all racers would trod the next day. Personally I started with the very first kids and would continually run back and forth amongst not only the children but their parents offering words of encouragement and praise. Two great stories came out of this day.

First, as I ventured towards the back of the pack to bring the last few runners in, I saw one child, perhaps 5 years old, wearing one shoe and one sandal. I inquired to his mother if he had lost a shoe to which she said: “Actually, he broke his toe yesterday but was not going to miss his chance to finish what he started.” A broken toe?! I know plenty of people who that would out on the couch for weeks but here was little Nate, soldiering on, and nary a grimace or wince on his face.

After leaving Nate and his mother I saw one little girl bringing up the absolute rear. In rain boots and a slicker, little Lana had apparently just signed up minutes before the race after convincing her mom and grandmother to let her run. Trudging along, with one hand holding what looked like a granola bar of some sort, Lana immediately became one of my favorite things ever. As we neared the finish line, Lana’s mother called her grandmother who was running next to Lana on the cell phone. Lana’s grandmother asked if I wanted to hold Lana’s hand to the finish line. Tell her I would be honored, I offered a pinkie for Lana to grasp onto which she did with a viselike grip.

Hitting the final 50 yards to massive amounts of cheers, Lana undoubtedly captured lots of hearts as we crossed the finish line. Seeing her mother waiting for her, a smile broke across her face and she began to sprint towards her, pulling me in tow as she refused to let go of my finger! My goofy smile must have been unsurpassed by few others' that morning. Lana’s mother had her pose with me for a picture and I can only hope that it finds its way to my email inbox.

After that excitement, I was unsure what I could do for an encore. However, an afternoon of sitting in the expo and greeting people awaited me and there are few things I like more than interacting with runners. I received both countless, and semi-embarrassing, expressions of how so many were inspired by my 52 Marathon spree in 2006. To hear you have any such positive effect on people is something which is hard to duplicate in ordinary life. Forget the health benefits. Forget the euphoria of finishing in a good time. Forget all of that. From now on, when people ask me in particular why I run, this is answer I will give them. If they cannot understand that, then I guess we will have to talk about politics or the environment as I don’t think I have a firm enough grasp of the English language to impart upon them my feelings.

As I left the expo to prepare for my pasta dinner speech, I was already having a wonderful weekend. There are some races that flat-out have a good vibe about them. To me, this race one of them and the running had not even begun. As it turns out, the speech I gave the night before the marathon was one of my bests, or at least it felt like it to me. Just days removed from the Thanksgiving holiday, I was struck with a great sense of life coming full circle. Thanksgiving had always been the closest of holidays for my family. With the passing of my grandparents who were the architects of this holiday, a small family that now spans the vast majority of this continent finds it harder to get together than once before. So while my speech varies every time I give it, this was one time I did more than just mention why my marathoning life has been so tied to my family; especially those who only watch from above now. It was a poignant and meaningful night for me.

Race Day:

A running friend had run Seattle the previous year and set a new personal best, just breaking 3 hours. He told me that the course does not look like it would be a great course to run fast, especially with some challenging hills in the final 5 miles but it gives much more than expected. Luckily for me, I was asked to pace the 3:10 group prior to the race and therefore any internal dilemma to try and set a personal best was alleviated.

I was introduced to the crowd prior to the race and immediately had a group of 1 or so guys who told me they were so glad that a 3:10 pacer had appeared. As always, I told them that if they stuck with me I would promise to get them to the Promised Land.

It would be hard to ask for better running weather. With a temperature in the low 50s, and a sun completely obscured by thick, almost mystical, fog I told those running with me we were in for a good day. When the guy fired and we set off, I had good feelings about the day.

Miles 1-4:

The first few miles of the race were pretty typical of any race that begins in a large city with skyscrapers whose tops were lost in the mist and that eerie feeling of running through busy streets and through red lights with no negative repercussions. As we contended with a few hills and shook out the early race jitters, our pace was not too shabby: 6:58, 7:08, 7:24, 7:13, and 6:53.

Miles 5-7: 7:12, 7:07, 7:24

After a few miles in the city, we went through a very long tunnel. One of favorite fellow pacees was a young guy named Barret (in the grey below). Only 19 years old he had already run four marathons and had just missed qualifying for Boston by a minute. I told him prior to the race that I qualified for Boston in my fifth and he would as well.

But in this tunnel he said to me: “It looks like 28 Days Later”. In case you have not seen the semi-post-apocalyptic movie about super-fast zombies overtaking England, there is a scene where they are chasing down our heroes in a tunnel. And damn it, Barret was 100% right. It did look like that tunnel. I laughed out loud and subconsciously picked up the pace to avoid our brain-eating pursuers.

Bursting out of the tunnel we immediately experienced the coolness of the outside world after the stuffy dryness of the tunnel. However, fog covered everything. There were more than few oohs and ahhs amongst the runners as the sun was just a little yellow plate in the sky, no match for the denseness of the water vapor in the air.

Completely happy that the fog was concealing not only the long bridge in front of us, but also the incline we faced before we turned around to run back over, my group picked up a few more runners.

Turning around at the 10k mark we were perfectly on pace to head back over the bridge. On the other side, we began a quick decent and were spit out onto a two-lane road adjacent to Lake Washington for what would be our home for many miles.

Miles 8-13.1: 7:01, 7:05, 7:32, 7:16, 7:17, 7:14

With the bridge we had just crossed off to the right, shrouded in fog, Lake Washington cool and still, trees lining the road overhead and cool temperatures prevailing, I told the runners to really take this in. Never too much of a poet or a tree-hugger, I nonetheless tried to impart upon them how lucky we all were. It was a glorious day for running and we were really lucky to have such a nice course.

Our feet soon led us to the Seward Park, which was where a thin road, no traffic and tall mossy trees made the race feel like a catered long run. And when I say catered, I am giving a total thumbs-up to the Seattle Marathon for how watered the course was. There was never a want for an aid station as it felt we had that at our disposal every single mile and sometimes more often. Even in the cool temps and sunless sky, the water hit the spot every time we poured it down our throats.

By now, a few different runners would take turns joining me at the front of our running phalanx and I would get to know a little about each of them. The run felt great, there was no labored breath amongst my paces and I envisioned a mass convoy crowding the finish line. I was aware we had a ways to go but I had faith.

We went through the halfway point about a minute faster than perfect pacing but I was not worried. I knew the latter hills could erase 60 seconds in no time at all so my goal was just to keep my hoard even-keeled from here on out.

Miles 14-19: 7:23, 7:28, 7:04, 7:14, 7:15, 7:14

As we exited Seward Park we began to see the mass amount of runners behind us and cheered them on as much as we could without wasting our own energy stores. We began to hit some of our most consistent splits here and everyone seemed to be in sync. I would turn around and run backwards every once in a while to yell encouragement and give little tidbits where I could. I knew we were close to the toughest challenge of the day.

Miles 20-23: 7:43, 7:15, 7:38,

With the biggest hills of the course by far looming ahead, I could feel my pack start to thin. I began to continue to yell out advice but now it was mostly directed towards Barret. We wisely took one of the steepest hills in a controlled manner, using a little of the seconds we had gained in previous faster miles. A twisty-turny section through a very wooded became a little tricky as we began to encounter more walkers and half-marathon runners who impeded our paths.

I would cry out “Boston Qualifier on your Left!” in as jovial a voice as I could, in order to lighten the mood.

Miles 24-Finish: 7:23, 7:18, 7:14, 1:30

It was now down to me and Barret, I was doing everything I could verbally to pull him along. His breathing was more labored now but his eyes were focused. We went up one last long steep hill and upon cresting it could see the Space Needle, and finish line in the distance.

Half-cajoling, half-begging I asked Barret to give me a long hard run down the hill to mile 25 in the distance. I knew it was going to be a close finish. I could tell a sub 3:10 was probably not going to happen but we had those precious 59 seconds in our pockets.

Down a quick steep hill and then back up again, Barret dropped about 10 yards behind me. I knew we were close and I also knew my duty was to break 3:11 no matter what. I was not 100% sure where we were on the course but knew we near the finish. I began to run what was required of me and had to leave Barret to his own designs.

I cruised up the last steep hill and yelled one last time for him to crush it out. One final turn put us into the stadium and 100 yards from the finish line. Crowds cheered as a stream of runners caught up to me and passed me in the final feet. Boston qualifiers abound had made the final push. I crossed the line myself in 3:10:30 and immediately turned around. Just a few yards behind me, hard-charging, was Barret! A few seconds later, he collapsed into a sweaty man hug with me and I yelled “You are going to Boston!!”

This was far and away one of my most exciting pacing duties yet. Barret had been just an awesome runner the entire race and I could not have been more proud of him. He has already emailed me to tell me he has signed up for Boston and hopes to see me there.

He just might. But first I have to go to Tucson and get that new personal best!