Go! Endurance events run in ideal conditions

By Kathleen Nelson
04/06/2008 4:15 pm
Could the organizers and the nearly 15,000 runners have asked for a better day than Sunday to run a marathon, half-marathon or marathon relay? With temperatures in the low 40s at the start and nearing 60 at noon, hardly.

Just a quick recap of the winners:

Now for the stories behind the headlines:

Rick Roeber used to pride himself on being The Barefoot Marathoner.

“That got a little old,” he said Sunday, after his second marathon here. So, now he has a cause. He runs as a fund-raiser for the Free Wheelchair Mission, which provides wheelchairs to developing countries.

He’s creating good karma. Not only has he raised money, he qualified for the Boston Marathon, finishing in 3:35:38 Sunday. Nice job on several fronts.

Confusion reigned temporarily when Mary Hanvey of Collinsville crossed the line, apparently the first woman in the half, in 1:18:22. She obliged me with an interview, saying the course was hilly and that she had run the San Antonio and Little Rock marathons. When her chip time appeared on a printout, though, it was obvious something was askew. Hanvey was dressed in sweats, not the usual attire of an elite distance runner.

Course officials always look for the first woman on the course, and Hanvey wasn’t the one. All the officials saw Handel pass first. None remembered seeing Hanvey. Because of the time discrepancy and the officials not seeing her, she was disqualified.

A quick check of results from Little Rock and San Antonio showed that Hanvey finished in 4:40:00 and 4:28:00, respectively. That’s a pace of more than 10 minutes. She might have taken a wrong turn Sunday after the six-mile mark, which was a block south of the finish line. Instead of heading west on Market, she might have entered the finishing straight instead.

Would have been nice if she had mentioned it, though. Nice job by the race organizers to get to the bottom of it quickly and make the right call.

One logistical quick fix. Given the increased number of half-marathoners _ more than 9,400 registered for the race _ the increased congestion was noticeable behind the finish line. The marshalls did a good job of keeping the runners moving to the back, but the area started to clog with a big number of finishers between two hours and 2:30. Perhaps the distribution of medals and blankets and the chip collection area could be moved a half-block further east? There’s some room to back up a bit and give more room for runners to collect their goodies.

Or maybe, by keeping it small, more finishers are quicker to move out of the straight and into the food area? Something to mull.

Nice job by the winners of the marathon relay, Team AMDG, in 2:47:24. The moniker is Latin: “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,” translated as “For the greater glory of God.” It’s one of the mottos of the Jesuits, so it’s no surprise that two of the members _ John Kelly and Matt Dirnbeck _ are students at St. Louis University. The other pair, Charlie Sampson and Chris Seiler, are seminary students.

Participation was up considerably in the relay, to about 250 teams from 200 last year.

“It really opens up the day to a whole lot of people,” said Kelly, who ran cross country at St. Louis University High with Sampson and Dirnbeck.