by Clay Shaw
Gulf Shores, AL, January 30, 2022, Big Beach Marathon—It was a 50-State Marathon Club reunion event, with a liberal time limit of seven hours. After spending ten January days in Central Mexico, we decided to “get away” from the northeastern winter, again. We drove with stops in Selma and Montgomery to witness where Civil Rights history happened.
We decided and entered on the Wednesday before the race. How often can you do that now? We had a great view of the Gulf of Mexico and the “Big Beach” from our room (with a view). Yeah, it was a little cold for the locals at 34 degrees and I scraped ice from the car windows before driving to the start. Windy by the beach, too. For me it was t-shirt, shorts, compression socks, gloves, and a trucker hat – comfortable for the marathon. The course went through park land, with several boardwalks, and some GPS readings below sea level. It did warm up to the mid-50’s. Some recreational cyclists on the course had total snowsuits; it was cold for them. Karen did her 125th marathon and won her age group. I finished marathon #208, and it was the 44th consecutive year of at least one marathon. It went better than most in recent memory, hence a four-minute negative split. Nice that they had food and drink left for the slower marathoners upon finishing. Exchange of ticket for goods facilitated fairness; otherwise all the half-marathoners and faster marathoners would likely have made short work of the food.
Rachel Kennedy of Mary Esther, FL won a close race for the women’s title in 3:14:17. Jaime Dawes of Rio Rancho, NM was second, just two seconds back in 3:14:19. Dawes, 43, was top master. Valerie Patenotte of Asheville, NC was third in 3:20:29. Andrea Zmaj of Atlanta was fourth in 3:27:25. Adding another sub-4-hour state to her list was Yekaterina Petrova of Parker, CO who ran 3:46:02 to place 11th.
Robert Gorum of Birmingham, AL was the men’s marathon champ in 2:51:39. Dean Thompson, 56, of Cohutta, GA was second in 2:55:42 and top master. David Marthy of Pensacola, FL was third in 2:56:28. Stephen Foster, 52, of Webb City, MO was fourth in 2:57:42, and was the final runner under three hours.
313 finished the Big Beach Marathon, a good one for a winter getaway. There was also a companion half-marathon, as well as a Saturday morning 7K.
- 3:14:17 Rachel Kennedy, 33, Mary Esther, FL
- 3:14:19 Jaime Dawes, 43, Rio Rancho, NM
- 3:20:29 Valerie Patenotte, 38, Asheville, NC
- 3:27:25 Andrea Zmaj, 36, Atlanta, GA
- 3:29:52 Ashley Reese, 25, Panama City Beach, FL
- 3:31:31 Heather Grazzini-Sims, 41, Wayzata, MN
- 3:37:14 Riva Johnson 59, Bend OR
- 3:39:31 Kellie Shimer, 38, Richandtown, PA
- 3:44:56 Penny Turner, 38, Enterprise, AL
- 3:45:58 Brittany Decker, 32, Birmingham, AL
- 2:51:34 Robert Gorum, 36, Birmingham, AL
- 2:55:42 Dean Thompson, 56, Cohutta, GA
- 2:56:28 David Marthy, 28, Pensacola, FL
- 2:57:42 Stephen Foster, 52, Webb City, MO
- 3:00:18 Mark Eidelman, 43, Winnetka, IL
- 3:01:32 Jonathan Newton, 34, Lawrenceville, GA
- 3:03:26 Denison Crocker, 43, Mobile, AL
- 3:08:29 Tatsuki Koyama, 47, Brentwood, TN
- 3:09:07 Michael Simms, 48, Indialantic, FL
- 3:15:38 Greg Schahet, 48, Indianapolis, IN
Categories: Race Coverage