Saturday, May 3, 2008

Big Sur International Marathon

I've been interested in the Big Sur International Marathon (BSIM) since I moved to Monterey. It's by far the biggest race in the area. Skyler's Boy Scout Troop runs the aid station at the marathon finish and aid stations 3 and 4 at the half marathon. I've gotten directly involved as well by joining the BSIM board and taking over as aid station coordinator for the half marathon which is run in the fall.

There are lots of jobs to do for the marathon as well, but I've limited my participation to those jobs that will allow me to actually run on race day. The marathon is run in conjunction with several shorter events, but the 3K "JUST RUN!" kids fun run was moved to the day before the marathon, so I helped set up and take down the start/finish area.

Even though I was free to run the marathon, it was far from clear that I should. I have not run a step since Barkley. My left shoulder has been too sore. But if the pain relented, I figured I had enough left-over fitness to run. My wife said I'd be crazy to do it with nothing to prove and Western States coming up in June. Sophia is right, but I couldn't resist. Highway 1 is closed to traffic for the race! That's a superb drive, but seeing it on foot is even better.

The race was sunny and warm, just short of hot. The scenery is by far the best of any road marathon, and matches some of the best trail races I've run. With 4,500 other marathoners and another 5,000 people walking shorter sections, it's a very big event. But it never felt too crowded or disorganized. The live music along the course fit right in with the scenic beauty. A grand piano at Bixby bridge is the most famous, but the drummers at the base of the climb to hurricane point were my favorite, helping runners summon the energy to climb. I can see why Big Sur is a destination event that draws runners from all over the world.

I was happy just to be able to participate in this race, but I'm also a "results" guy at heart so I ran hard. My lack of speed training made my legs much more painful than my shoulder. Fortunately I didn't injure myself posting 3:19:06, 7th in my age group.

We never saw each other on the course, but my good friend Whit Rambach was just one minute behind! His wife Darcey and Sophia were awarding finishers medals, so our medals came with a kiss! We helped them out at the finish line the rest of the day, but Whit gets kudos for imitating Clark Kent. He wore his BSIM board uniform while working at the start line. Then he checked the blue blazer, white shirt, tie and slacks at the sweats check, and put them back on to work at the finish line. Wow! Why didn't I think of that?


Runher said...

great job brian! glad you were able to do the run...

sally smith

erik said...

I'm curious, what are your goals for Western States? Also, what is your training going to be like over the next month?

Donald said...

Brian & Sophia -

Thanks for stopping by my blog this week. Of course I've heard all about the two of you - I guess it's strange that our paths haven't crossed yet. It would be interesting to get together and talk about WS - I'm curious to hear what advice you'd give me.

Feel free to contact me by e-mail at, and maybe we can set up a morning run one of these days.

P.S. That Barkley thing? That's a whole different kind of crazy.

Julia Harpston said...

Hey Brian,

Been reading your blog for a good few months now, you’ve really an inspiration to people who wanna get into running like me! I’ve created my own blog about Compression tights and stuff about running and sportswear. Id be really appreciate if I could get a message back and also if you could link to my blog - the name of the blog is Compression tights
your effort inspires me :-D