Dahlgren Rail Trail Half-Marathon

Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon, 2/20/2016
Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon, 2/20/2016
3rd of 7 men over 60, holding coupon later spent on a fancy pair of socks. Photo by my long-run marathon training partner Leslie Kash, who also took an age-group prize. On right, actual rails which only extend 100 yards or so into the race course. Over my right shoulder is the insulation I added to help keep my backpack water supply from freezing. Trail map

Harrisburg Marathon

post-race-picture_2014-11-9 Harrisburg Marathon (50 of 51)-L
At 3:40:57, Tim beat his personal record (Marine Corps Marathon 2011) by over 25 minutes! For myself, this day’s 4:00:50 was almost eight minutes slower than my marathon record (Marine Corps Marathon 1985), but at the same time nine minutes faster than the time I needed to apply for admission to the 2016 Boston Marathon.



Dahlgren Trail Half-Marathon

2013-02-24 08.09.23

Sunday morning at 8am I was in wave 7 for the start of the Dahlgren Trail Half-Marathon. The tracks only continue a couple of hundred yards, and for the rest of the 6½ miles this was very pleasant running indeed. The landscape is entirely rural, mostly through woods, with only two or three places intersected by country lanes. Most of the sleepers (ties) must have been removed, although in some sections of the trail they were simply rotting away by themselves. The grade was not quite as level as I’d expected, although I might have been imagining it to be mostly a gentle uphill climb on the way out and continuing gently uphill on the way back. I ran a 9:18 pace and finished at 2:02:08, taking home my first ever road race prize as I was 2nd out of 4 (!) men over 60. (I was also 24th of 48 men over 40.)

2013-02-24 13.11.26

Here’s the website of the trail preservation group: http://www.friendsdrht.org/DRHT_TrailInfo.htm

Prognostication for November

(I added race results notes on 11/29/2012 to the bottom of this article.)

Borrowed from campaign documents:

No, not that race. This is the 103rd annual Run for the Diamonds nine mile race in Berwick, Pennsylvania, to be held on Thanksgiving morning. In 2008 I ran 1:25:53 (pace 9:32/mile) and in 2010 I ran 1:18:17 (pace 8:42/mile). Like Lynchburg, this race includes some seriously hilly terrain, but unlike Lynchburg, it’s all downhill after the half-way point. Hoping my third attempt might continue my trend. See 2010 writeup.

Update posted 11/29/2012: I finished 21st of 41 men aged 60-64, time 1:24:21, pace 9:25. This was 6 minutes slower than in 2010, but 1 minute faster than in 2008. The 475′ total climb of the Run for the Diamonds nine-miler at Berwick is 64% greater than the 304′ climb of the Virginia Ten-Miler in Lynchburg! QED: yes, it is a tougher race.

Update posted 11/29/2012, being my race report submitted to Dead Runners Society and to Runners Gazette:

The 103rd Run for the Diamonds nine-miler occupied 1,614 finishers on Thanksgiving morning at Berwick, Pennsylvania. The weather was perfect, with bright sunshine, temperatures in the mid-40s, and even atop the ridge not a hint of a breeze. The arrowhead-shaped course starts and finishes downtown, mostly uphill out into the  country and mostly downhill on the way back.  Mapmyrun.com says the course climbs 476 feet. The most strenuous part of that climb is packed into the unrelenting third mile up the ravine from Foundryville to Summerhill. During the 2010 race, the steep camber and icy road here had me worried I could slip and slide left into the ditch. I was glad for the guard rail on the right, where it could otherwise be a long slide down into the creek below. But this year the entire course was dry pavement. Before the four-mile mark near the top, three ladies were kept very busy handing out tissues — despite the sunshine, evidently there were a good many runny noses at this point. This race has great community support. In the town, the course was almost entirely lined by cheering residents, but even out in the country there were dozens of community gatherings of spectators. I was five hours drive from home, but somebody with a roster at mile six cheered for me by my name and hometown. I heard my name called as I crossed the finish line too. Winners included Derek Nakluski from Kitchener, Ontario, 45:51, pace 5:06, and Karaleigh Millhouse from State College, PA, 52:58, pace 5:54. As a solid middle-of-the-packer in my age group, and with a two-hour drive to Thanksgiving dinner, I did not stay to witness the awards presentation, but 22 diamond rings and pendants were due to be awarded as well as many other prizes. The two $500 prizes for new course records would have gone unclaimed this year. Those records remain with Peter Pfitzinger, 1980, 43:20.9, and Heidi Peoples, 2009, 50:35.

Addendum provided to Runners Gazette:

The finishers were 41% men and 59% women. Their individual paces averaged 8:37 and 9:51 respectively.
The first man with an 8:37 pace took 547th place of 949. The first woman with a 9:51 pace took 381st place of 665.
About 24% of finishers listed Berwick or Bloomsburg as their hometown, and 90% listed Pennsylvania as home state. 10% of the finishers were out-of-staters, travelling from as far away as Alaska, California, and Florida, with larger contingents from New York (34), New Jersey and Ontario (13 each), North Carolina (12), and Virginia (11). The Canadians could have had a five-hour drive to Berwick — but they were rewarded by hearing Edwin Livsey’s annual clarinet performance of both the Canadian and American national anthems at the starting line.