At Crater, they are runs with a view
August 7, 1998
By RANDY HAMMERICKSEN
Majestic scenery will be all about, but exhaustion might prevent some runners from enjoying it Saturday in the Crater Lake Rim Runs and Marathon.
More than 450 runners — from 19 states and three countries — are expected for the 23rd annual event.
The course winds at altitudes from 5,500 to 7,850 feet. Views of Crater Lake abound during much of the first 15 miles.
“The race has been ranked in the top five in the U.S. for difficulty and beauty by Runners World magazine,” says race director Bob Freirich, who has directed 21 of the 23 races. “We would argue it’s No. 1 in terms of beauty, with the lake off your right shoulder for much of the race.
“Runners have been known to stop and look at the lake because of its beauty. That also offers them a nice excuse if they need to stop for something. They can say they wanted to look at the lake.”
All races will start at 7:30 a.m. at The Watchman area of Crater Lake National Park. Runners will be bused from the Rim Village area, near Crater Lake Lodge, to the starting line.
Spectators won’t be able to view the starting area of the race. Only runners will be bused to the starting area. Spectators need to find vantage points on the course prior to the start of the race because the roads will be closed temporarily after the start.
Races will cover 6.7 miles, 13 miles and a the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Marathon runners will finish in a forested area in Lost Creek Camp Ground, just off Pinnacles Road.
All runners start together. The 6.7-mile race finishes near Cleetwood Cove. The 13-mile finish winds up and down hills and ends just over six miles ahead.
“The course is just a brute because it’s so hilly,” says Freirich. “The marathon itself has taken on a reputation for its beauty and difficulty combined. You start with a one-mile climb, then you go down for a while and then back up.
“Then you start going up until you get to the 14-1/2 mile point. Then it starts downhill until you get to 22 miles. Then it’s up and down from there, with a nice little two-mile climb at the end.”
The highest elevation point in the race is 7,850 feet at Cloud Cap Turn, approximately 14 1/2 miles into the race.
Bekele Tosfaye of Kenya won the marathon last year. He will not run Saturday.
The top projected time among marathon runners is a 2:39.04 mark by Morris Kittlemanof Seattle. Gernot Kirtz of Germany predicted a time of 2:39.07.
In the women’s marathon, Gudron Mueller of Germany has the fastest projected time at 3:04.06. Betty Wagner of Eugene is second at 3:14.12.
Kelly Cheek and Jim Wilkins have the top projected 6.7-mile times for men at 43:00.Jamie Jennings projected a 39:42 time to top female runners.
The best 13-mile men’s projected time is by Tim Swietlik at 1:14.57. The women’s best projected time is by Ellen Boeder at 1:15.00.
Tesfaye’s winning marathon time last year was 2:28.34. Leonard Hill of Klamath Falls was the 6.7-mile winner in 35:36, and Bobby Gomez of Corvallis took the 13-mile event in 1:15.56. Lore Hancock of Klamath Falls won the women’s 6.7-mile race in 42:37;Linda Hartman of Malin took the 13-mile event in 1:34.22; and Karen Rayle of Eugene was the women’s marathon winner in 3:22.13.
Ashland’s Ric Sayre is the men’s 13-mile course record-holder in 1:09.20. Sandy Rowanof Medford holds the women’s 6.7-mile course record at 39:39.
Age-group awards and plaques will be given to men and women in the 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70-and-above divisions at a ceremony near the finish line.