Saturday, March 11, 2017

Volte's Wrap-up of The Woodlands Marathon and Marathon Relay

We led with our volunteers and the rest of the team that ran their heart out in the marathon on Saturday as the spotlight had been all week on those who lost out on a Boston qualifier.

It had been determined that once the finish line closed on early Saturday afternoon, 169 thought they might be on their way to Boston in 2018.

As word started to sift through the community and social media that .8 miles had been missed, Volte friend Jon Walk started to crunch some numbers to make available a list of those whose adjusted times would still be in the qualifying standard -- and those who might be on the outside looking in.

In the previous post, we noted that Volte had six of those 169 runners.

We're still kind of small, but to have another six qualifiers (and potential qualifiers) is a testament of the dedicated, consistent work that our team and our coaches put in week to week.

It's important to them and those that they run and train with.

Brian Jackson has qualified for Boston twice before -- and put enough time underneath the standard where he's had no trouble registering and running in both 2015 and 2016.

The 38-year-old drew an elite bib from elite athlete coordinator Chris Strait.

Given the circumstances of the day, perhaps Strait should have left Jackson's #13 in the box and assigned another.

However, it wasn't unlucky for Jackson.

"Action" Brian Jackson led Volte's banner day in the marathon.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Brian led our team's effort in the marathon with a 2:59:14, which adjusts to a 3:05:10 (underneath his needed 3:10 qualifying standard if times had been accepted).

It represents his best effort of three The Woodlands Marathons and the fourth best marathon of 13 career finishes.

Mike Csikos staring down career marathon finish #25
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Dipping under 3:20 for only the third time in 25 career marathons, 47-year-old Mike Csikos thought that the initial 3:19:47 would propel him to a corresponding third visit to Beantown.

The adjustment, however, left him at 3:26:13 - just outside of his 3:25 qualifying standard.

The traditionalists would have winced when they heard that 39-year-old Mayra Caamano was running the sixth annual The Woodlands Marathon just two weeks after finishing her sixth career marathon at the Love. Run. Marathon in Huntsville State Park, 30 miles north of us.

It was three years ago that the mom of two had her breakout marathon in Houston where she punched her ticket to Boston with a 3:27:22 beatdown -- more than 26 minutes better than her previous best.

If you can make it through one race without getting dinged up too bad, there's much to be said for overall fitness - mixed with a lot of heart and a touch of passion for the local community.

Thing is, she saw 3:27 on the clock again when she finished.

Had the chip time of 3:27:13 stood, she would have been celebrating a well-earned PR.

However, an adjusted 3:33:53 would make her a Boston qualifier again -- even with the additional five minutes she would have gained from moving into a new age group on Boston Marathon race day next year.

Caamano hopes to pay it forward - literally - to one needy individual in the running community who perhaps wasn't getting all of the attention from a lost BQ, but just felt empty from not really running the entire 26.2 miles that they were promised.

Thing about Volte is that we're really fortunate to have some inspirational people in our group -- just as much through their hard work as their great and pleasant spirit.

Bonnie Scholz is one of them.

Two years ago, she attempted her first marathon in 13 years at The Woodlands Marathon.

At the age of 25, Bonnie's debut was at the ... Compaq Houston Marathon - a company that isn't around any longer.  She was 255th in a field of 259 finishing 25-29 year old women.

Her time then was 6:00:40.  Today, that result would have been washed from the records by Houston.

The reintroduction to long distance running came with some improvement, a 5:14:08 finish where she was happy enough to make sure her bib was visible when she passed by the official race photographers.

What a difference two years has made.

A year later at The Woodlands, she came back with a 4:16:42 time.  Wow.  Nearly a 58-minute improvement.

A couple of 50Ks last year as well as a pair of sub 4:15 efforts -- 4:13:11 in Utah in September and 4:11:19 at Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio -- built a solid base for Bonnie to build on.

Things went so well for Bonnie on Saturday that photographs early in the race looked like it was a Color Run instead of a marathon.

But after awhile, she was the only one in the last sets of pictures.

The others - two of whom are in our group - posted still great gun times - 3:36:12, 3:41:37 and 3:47:06.  

None of them were there, though, for Bonnie's 3:33:52 reading of the clock.

Her chip time of 3:33:20 adjusts to 3:40:12 -- both under her 3:45 qualifying standard.

We're certain that there's a visit to Boylston Street in Bonnie's future.

It is just a matter of time - and staying healthy.

Brian Schultz is very close too.

Less than a minute after he crossed the finish, Brian Schultz was pumped.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
After 16 marathons, all since December 2012, the 55-year-old has beaten the 4-hour barrier six times with a personal best of 3:39:29 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2013.

It was his third marathon ever.

He finished Saturday in 3:36:12 - a "should have been PR" that adjusts to a 3:43:10 finish.

We can't always include complete Facebook statuses from all, but if you can't feel some inspiration from this - on par for an Academy Award speech, you may want to check your heart a little bit:

Okay. I ran a 3:36:13 marathon today. It is a personal best and it qualifies me for Boston. Not sure who to thank but I will give it a try. My wife who puts up with my extreme training and pains, I love you. My kids who cheer me on, I love you. My immediate family. You may not think a text means much, but it means the world to me and it inspires me to run faster. Imagine that. My Volte running team, I could not do this without you. Bill Dwyer continues to amaze me with his devotion to running and his desire to watch others succeed. Love you man. Tammy Grado and Michelle McGill, who push me to speeds I did not think I could do. You are my cheerleaders. And finally God. He has given me new life in a broken body that can now run a marathon every month. I will not give up. I am all in. In that running zone, right Layton? Thanks to all who support me and cheer for me. I love you all.

Tears in your eyes and the keyboard here too.

Juana "Yaya" Herrera's first marathon came two months ago at the Chevron Houston Marathon -- a debut of 3:59:07.

When she gets to Boston one day, we have a feeling she might be the first Yaya to run it!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
What does one do for an encore?  If you're Yaya, you BQ.

She shaved almost 15 minutes off an adjusted time of 3:44:29 - just under the 3:45 qualifying standard, if the times were allowed.  Her original chip time was 3:37:29.

Perhaps the most philosophical of the bunch, she said, "The best part is that I learned that if it's not in this race it will be another one for me to be a BQ."

Many helped her improve from the last race to this one.

"I was very grateful for Wil Cole, who paced me the first 12 miles, and my dear friend Alan Gastineau, who paced from mile 20.  It made the difference," Yaya exclaimed.  "I'm blessed to be part of the Volte team.  Seeing them at the end and their encouraging words were energizing.

"Special thanks to coach Bill, Sandra, Alan, Leanne for believing in me and telling me I could do this."

Three of our runners ran in the Marathon Relay on Saturday.

Allison Urvan, who won the inaugural 5K at The Woodlands Marathon five years ago, ran on "Clean Sweep" in the four-runner division where they finished second in two hours, 54 minutes.

Part of her preparation for the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon in two weeks, Letty Gonzalez was part of the "Agony of d'Feet" four-person relay team that turned the clock off in 4:59:10.

Then there was Alvaro Trejo.

This might be one of the best stories from the entire marathon weekend.

He was on the "Tough Runners Club" team.

How tough were they?  So tough, that three of his teammates didn't show!

What was Alvaro to do?

Run all four legs.  And in a time of 3:14:22.  He was 12th overall -- all by himself.

Next Up:  The Half Marathon, 5K, 2K and other racing from last weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Love all these stories and so proud of everyone! Debra Myers