Thursday, March 3, 2011

Skagit Centennial 100-Mile Run

Here's a great story about a legendary event, held on July 16, 1983, in the Skagit Valley. 

Runners Go The Distance
Nineteen runners entered and started Saturday from Cascade Pass but only six finished the first-ever Skagit County Centennial 100-mile run this past weekend.

Among those six were the Skagit County delegation of Stan Nakashima and Roberto Garcia, third and fifth place finishers respectively.

Garcia, bothered in the last 20 miles of the race by a swollen knee and blisters “on every toe I have,” had a compelling reason to finish the race.

“I told the newspaper I’d finish,” said Garcia of Mount Vernon.  “Me and Stan were together until the West Mount Vernon Bridge and I told him to go on.  He thought I might quit.

“Stan said, ‘you have to finish-you told the newspaper.’ I thought about quitting but I couldn’t.”

Garcia, who had never before run a race longer than a marathon, said he walked the last 20 miles but he still finished in 23 hours and 18 minutes.

The winner, Steve Barr of Victoria, British Columbia, ran all the way in.  He finished in 16 hours, nine minutes and 50 seconds – at approximately 3:30 A.M.

“I ran the Western States run three weeks ago and I was a little slower then,” Barr said.  “The Western States is Squaw Valley to Auburn, California –cross country through the Sierra Mountains.

“This was a little easier – but not too easy.”

Barr allowed that he got enough fuel along the way – “plenty of food and 24 beers.”

Come again?  Beer?  Doesn’t the alcohol take something out of a runner?

“No, I don’t get drunk,” Barr assured.  “In a race like this you don’t run that fast – about an eight minute mile.  And I don’t like pop or anything sweet.  I drank some water, too.”

“It was a little warm out but it could’ve been worse.  There was a cool breeze.”

Dallas Kloke, the race organizer, suggested that Barr’s time might be one of the fastest in the country this year.

“Hope so,” Barr said.  He predicted he wold be able to walk normally again in a couple days and resume running in a couple more.

Ike Fesler of Lake Stevens finished second in 20 hours and 56 minutes – at the more reasonable hour of about 8:15.  Nakashima, of Lake McMurray, powered mostly by water, placed third in 21 hours and 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to break 24 hours,” Nakashima said.  “My left foot got swollen and in the last eight mile to the finish it hurt bad.  But I wasn’t going to quit.

“I don’t know if I’m going to do this any more.  I’m glad it’s over.”

Nakashima meant he was not planning any more 100-mile races.  He did say he plans to enter this weekend’s Capital City Marathon – only 26 miles 385 yards – and may run in the upcoming Skagit County Centennial 83-mile relay as a solo entry.

“I’m not sure about that one yet,” he said.  We’ll see how I recover.  Now I fell terrible.  I went to visit someone afterward and sat down on the porch and it was real tough to get up.”

Nakashima said he alternated running and walking, with more walking toward the end of the race.

“The last five miles were really tough because there was a lot of hills (on Highway 20 to Deception Pass),” he said. 

Kloke said he was happy for the two Skagit County runners.

“Only four of these guys had ever run 100 miles before and a lot of them found out it was a logt tougher than it seemed,” Kloke said.  “But these two guys have got guts.  They don’t have talent compared to Steve (Barr) and there were other better runners who dropped out.

“But they (Nakashima and Garcia) gutted it out.”

Garcia did not seem inclined to rush out and enter another 100-mile race soon – if ever.

“It’s painful,” he said Sunday evening.  “I don’t know if I’ll do it again.  I think I’ll run more marathons.”

But Garcia was still satisfied that he had finished – fifth or whatever.

“Like I told Stanley – I just started running this year,” Garcia said.  “They tell you if you’ve never run a marathon you should train six months and I did in three.

“I’ll feel better by Wednesday or so.  But I’m not going to work the first couple of days this week.”

The fourth-place finisher was Skip Kilgore of Long Beach, Washington.  He ran the course in 22 hours and four minutes.  At about 1:30 Sunday afternoon, the race’s oldest entry – Harrison Smith, 56, of Redding California – became the sixth place finisher.

“He spent the night in a motel in Mount Vernon,” Kloke said.  “Then he got up in the morning and finished.  He called about 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon.”

Two other runners reported in with incomplete results.  John Prewitt of Salem, Oregon, ran 80- miles before dropping out and Jim Phillips of Tacoma madie it 66-and-a-half miles.

“The rest of them I guess were too pooped and didn’t call in,” Kloke said.

“I don’t know if we’ll do this again,” he added.  “IT was mostly for the centennial.  We’ll see.”

Skagit County Centennial 100-Mile Run
1st – Steve Barr (16:09:50); 2nd – Ike Fesler (20:56:00); 3rd – Stan Nakashima (21:11:00); 4th – Skip Kilgore (22:04:00); 5th – Roberto Garcia (23:18); 6th – Harrison Smith (time not available).  Other results: John Prewitt (finished 80 miles); Jim Phillips (finished 66 ½ miles).

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