There’s running a marathon, and then there’s running
Paul Danzer: Community sports column
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Brian Davis is getting ready for a big race.
The race director for the Vancouver USA Marathon, Davis has plenty to do between now and that event’s debut on June 19. But he checked off a significant step from his to-do list on Super Bowl Sunday: He crossed the finish line at the Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington, Beach., Calif.
It was the first time the 35-year-old Vancouver resident completed a full 26.2-mile marathon.
Not that he is a rookie at running. It’s just that his focus has been on shorter races.
He took on this challenge, he said, so that he would better appreciate what the runners who come to Vancouver in June are experiencing, and maybe get some insight to make his Vancouver race better.
He found the experience both exhilarating and exhausting.
Davis said he hadn’t trained enough to really push himself. So he broke the race into four 10-kilometer runs, taking short breaks after each 6-7 miles. Physically, he kept himself hydrated and fueled as planned.
Still, the final 10 miles were tough. As mile 20 approached, Davis was thinking, “This is territory I’ve never been in before.”
Davis said that his longest single run prior to the marathon was 16½ miles. He’d only put in two months of serious training for this race, so it was no surprise that the last two miles each took 12 minutes to finish.
“In my mind I was going to finish, but my body’s feeling (the pain),” he said.
His goal was just to get to the finish line on his feet — and healthy.
“The last thing I want to do is put on the Vancouver USA Marathon from a wheelchair,” Davis said.
His finishing time of 4 hours, 28 minutes and 9 seconds placed him about the middle of the field. It took Davis longer than he’d hoped, but that didn’t diminish his sense of accomplishment.
In fact, he said he jumped across the finish line when he got there, buoyed over the final strides by the energy from spectators.
That feeling figures to stick with Davis as he works to make the first Vancouver USA Marathon a special experience for the 5,000 runners he hopes to attract.
In addition to learning what runners feel as they traverse 26.2 miles, Davis said he soaked up specifics about the course, looking for ideas to use for the Vancouver USA event.
The inaugural Vancouver USA Marathon will be more than just a single race. A fitness expo is planned at the Hilton Vancouver for that weekend. On Saturday, June 18, a 5-kilometer run and a kids race are planned. On June 19, the first Vancouver USA Marathon takes place. So does a half marathon option, because as Davis can attest, a 26.2-mile race isn’t for everyone.
Now that he’s completed one marathon, will he do another?
The question brought a quick laugh from Davis.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to it,” he said, noting that he would someday like to see how fast he can go with more focused marathon-specific training.
For the next few months, his focus will be on making the first Vancouver USA Marathon an experience special enough that participants want to repeat it.
PAUL DANZER covers Community Sports for The Columbian. Reach him at 360-735-4521 or email@example.com.