June 29, 2008

Grandma's Marathon

Lake Superior along the course

Lemondrop Hill, Mile 22

Skipping a rock on Lake Superior!

I may be a little bias, but what a great event the Grandma's Marathon is! In its 32nd year, Scott Keenan has been the Executive Director since day one! What started with 150 runners in 1977, now they limit the marathon field each year to around 10,000! That along with the 6,000 runners they let in the half marathon, and the 2,000 runners in the 5K, it is one festive weekend!

I flew in from Boston where I was doing some talks for the New Balance and got into Duluth Thursday afternoon where my wife Jill met me as she was flying in from our home in Austin, TX.

I spent Thursday evening at the race expo either in the Marathon & Beyond magazine booth or at the Dick Beardsley Running Co./Dick Beardsley Half Marathon booth. I have so much fun meeting and greeting people, having pictures taken, signing their bibs, or signing my book, Staying the Course, A Runner's Toughest Race for them. the time really goes by quickly! I had the opportunity to meet a very inspiring gal named Melissa. She gave her book as a gift. Thank you!

Friday morning up early for a 10 mile run with my wife Jill and my good friend and store partner Greg Hammes, it was then a full day at the expo!

I was one of the keynote speakers and was as nervous as a "cat on a hot tin roof"! I've spoke every year at the expo for as long as I can remember and before any talk I do, I get butterflies, but this time it was different, this time I was going to tell my story about my addiction!

I didn't know how people would respond, perhaps they were thinking I was going to tell funny running stories, what happens if they all get up and leave? These were the thoughts going through my head! They always get incredible crowds for all the speakers they have every year. I was introduced, walked up on stage and said, "Hi, I'm Dick, I'm an addict" Many people started laughing (At this point I'm thinking they are laughing because of course I'm an addict, a running addict) I said it again, "I'm an addict" that's when things got eerily quit!

My story of being addicted to narcotic pain medication is not all bloom and gloom, some parts our actually quite humorous and the crowd laughed in the spots I thought they would. Other parts of it are very emotional for not just me but the audience. Many times as I would look at the crowd, I would see people wiping back tears, I had to look away immediately, as I would begin to choke up. I finished my talk with a song I wrote long ago called "LUCKY" Just me, my guitar, and 300 people! I got quite choked up singing my "LUCKY" song, had to restart a line or two because of it, but it went well and the thunderous standing ovation at the conclusion, wow, I'd thought I'd just won the Grandma's Marathon again!

After my talk, I visited with lots of folks on stage and then again back at the expo, by the time I got into bed, I felt like I had run three marathons all in a row!

Saturday morning I was up bright and early at 3 a.m. to get my run in (I know it sounds crazy). Jill and I then met the press vehicle at 5:15 am for the ride up to the start of the marathon. If I don't run the race, I always do the play by play from the lead vehicle for the men's race for the local radio station. My broadcast partner was my good friend a Duluth Tribune sports writer, Kevin Pates.

The race went by quickly and we had a good time and it was a great race to call, especially at the end, when the winner beat the second place finisher by just 5 seconds! The top men and women's results are at the bottom of this page.

Saturday evening, Jill and I spent a couple of hours at the Marathon & Beyond party where I gave a short talk and sang. What a busy fun day we had!

Sunday morning up early for a 12 mile run while Jill did her run, and then back to the hotel, a little breakfast, pack, then catch the plane back home for Austin!

Thanks Grandma's Marathon! Jill and I had a wonderful time!!!

Top Three Men:

Lamech Mokono - 2:13:39

David Tuwei - 2:13:44

Benson Cheruiyot - 2:14:20

Top Three Women:

Mary Akor - 2:38:50

Margaret Toroitich - 2:41:43

Sally Meyerhoff - 2:42:58

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