Marathon has world, local flavor
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
August 11, 2002
By BRIAN MORTENSEN
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK — In the year Crater Lake National Park turns 100 years old, it’s only appropriate that a runner from abroad and a runner from Klamath County were each champions of the greatest race within the park borders.
Gunner Rethfeldt of Portland, by way of Erfurt, Germany, was the mens’ champion of the Crater Lake Marathon from The Watchman on the Rim Drive to the Lost Creek Campground, part of the 27th annual Crater Lake Marathon and Rim Runs, while Margie Retterath of Klamath Falls was the female champion.
They were the leaders in a field of 49 runners, an unusually low turnout for the race, blamed primarily on an anticipated lingering concentration of smoke from forest fires in southern and central Oregon.
Rethfeldt, 32, said he was “a little bit worried” when he arrived at the national park Friday and saw the slight haze of smoke through the trees.
“I was afraid I couldn’t breathe today, but it was excellent conditions today,” he said. “The air was crisp, the temperature was perfect, and the elevation didn’t bother me that much.”
Rethfeldt won the race in two hours, 57 minutes, 37.6 seconds, nearly 13 minutes ahead of Oregon Institute of Technology distance standout Perry Custance, who ran in 3:10:46.
Retterath, 45, finished 11th overall and won the women’s championship in a time of 3:49:17.
He said the toughest part of the race for Rethfeldt, as is typical for many runners who take on the course — which ranges from 5,980 to 7,850 feet in elevation — the climb of 100 feet in 1.5 miles of the down-and-back portion at Cloud Cap midway through the race.
“But the worst thing was the downhill,” he said. “My quad(riceps) muscles were pounding, especially coming down the last hill (from the Grayback turnaround to the finish at Lost Creek Campground).
“I thought I’d need to walk.”
As tough as the Crater Lake Marathon was for him, it’s not nearly the toughest of the 12 marathons Rethfeldt has taken on.
That would be a 78-kilometer (48.5 miles) race in the Swiss Alps he ran three years ago, which was his last marathon-type race.
“The elevation is even higher,” he said. “It goes up to 10,000 feet.”
Rethfeldt, who works in the financial department of Portland’s headquarters of Adidas, said he had a simple plan for Saturday’s race.
“I wanted to win,” he said, but offered that he wanted to run the first half of the race in one hour, 24 minutes.
“And that was exactly what I did,” he said. “I was 1:23:50 or something like that, exactly on target. And then when I came here (through the Lost Creek Campground at Mile 21), I thought I could run in 2:52, but the last hill is a tough one.”
Rethfeldt, who said he prefers to run 13-mile half-marathons, said he plans on running “a crazy race in New Zealand at the end of the year,” one that is 68 kilometers (42.25 miles).
Retterath, who had completed nine marathons prior to Saturday, including races in New York, Boston, Portland, San Francisco and Las Vegas, nearly didn’t finish Saturday’s race.
“This is a tough course,” she said. “It’s much more difficult than anything I’ve ever done before.
“I thought New York was hard. It’s a piece of cake compared to this.”
What made it difficult in the beginning for her was a case of diarrhea that dehydrated her and nearly caused her to turn around not three miles into the race.
“There was a man on the course, and as I turned around, I was walking back and he said, ‘What are you doing,'” she recalled with a laugh. “I said, ‘I quit,’ and he said, ‘No, you can’t do that,’ and so he walked uphill with me to the aid station.
“And I got two glasses of Gatorade in me, and I kept going.”
Retterath ran Saturday, in good health or no, to help keep the Crater Lake Rim Runs going with her participation.
“I had heard rumors this might be the last year of this marathon, because (its organization) needs funding and it needs somebody to run it, ” she said. “And I said, Y’know, I’m going to feel really badly if I don’t run it at least once.”
It was this kind of altruistic spirit that led her to run in the New York Marathon last November.
“I had qualified for New York for a second time but had had to cancel for two years in a row because of injuries,” she said. “And I was just getting back into running, and I thought, I really don’t think I should try it, but then with the September 11 disaster, I decided, I’m just going to go and support the city of New York and go ahead and run it.
“I didn’t train for it hardly at all, and I went back there and I did real well.”
She finished first in her age group, running in 3:14:59.
Retterath only began running marathons seven years ago, and she spent three years recovering from injury, including a broken leg sustained two years ago this month that kept her out for 10 months.
Her personal best was run in Portland, at 3:08, and she may run there again this fall.
“It’ll probably be a spur-of-the-moment deal if I do it,” she said.
As incredible as it may sound to decide to run a marathon via quick decision, Retterath said it’s possible mainly through what she calls a strong endurance base.
“I think once you have that base,” she said. “I can do one with relatively little training. I won’t run a great marathon, but I can do one.”
Custance, who finished third in the 2000 Crater Lake Marathon, said he didn’t do much training at all to prepare for Saturday’s race.
“I think the longest run I did was 12 miles a few weeks ago,” he said. “It was kind of like, put myself in pain for a day.
“The downhill just thrashed me to shreds.”
Custance starts practicing with the Oregon Tech team later this month, as the Owls start their season at Humboldt State Sept. 5.
MARATHON MUSINGS — Like Rethfeldt, Bob Shorrock, the 2000 and 2001 Crater Lake Marathon champion, also works for Adidas in Portland … Shorrock happens to be Rethfeldt’s training partner … Shorrock was not back to defend his back-to-back titles … besides Custance, the top local finisher was Retterath … the next local finisher was Neil Zingg, 36, of Klamath Falls … Rethfeldt finished nearly a minute behind Shorrock’s winning time last year … Bob Dolphin, Renton, Wash., completed his 297th marathon at Crater Lake Saturday …. Dolphin, 73, plans to run his 300th marathon at Victoria, British Columbia, Oct. 13 … Saturday’s field in the marathon included 49 finishers, down from last year’s total of 67 … a high of 130 ran in the 1999 marathon.
CRATER LAKE RIM RUN MARATHON (26.2 MILES)
1. Gunner Rethfeldt, Portland, 2:57:37.6; 2. Perry Custance, Jacksonville, 3:10:46; 3. Sean Meissner, Sisters, 3:18:19; 4. Rod Campbell, Vancouver, BC, 3:29:44; 5.Greg Burnett, Lake Oswego, 3:31:01; 6. Eric Jensen, Pendleton, 3:36:47; 7. Martin Balding, Susanville, 3:40:02; 8. Michael McPheters, Wheaton, IL, 3:43:39; 9. Adam Higgins, Corvallis, 3:45:26; 10. Kevin Martinell, Bellevue, WA, 3:49:05;
11. Margie Retterath*, Klamath Falls, 3:49:17; 12. Michael Dutton, Bellingham, WA, 3:52:37; 13. Doug Saari, Tucson, AZ, 3:59:03; 14. Vern Latta, Bellingham, WA, 4:00:10; 15. Martin Silbernagel, Salem, 4:02:23; 16. Garry Sherman, Ashville, NC, 4:04:36; 17. James Simpson, Anaheim, CA, 4:09:36; 18. Neil Zingg, Klamath Falls, 4:10:06; 19. John Dodge, Ashland, 4:22:00; 20. Jon Mahoney, Vernon, BC, 4:22:01;
21. Tracy-Kim Campbell, Vancouver, BC, 4:25:06; 22. Jennifer Bogle, Bend, 4:26:05; 23. Jim Donovan, 4:26:05; 24. Michael Shiach, Bainbridge Island, WA, 4:28:52; 25.Richard Ketchum, Kent, WA, 4:29:45; 26. Erik Bergstrom, Sprague River, 4:30:59; 27. Tom Vasquez, Anderson, CA, 4:35.32; 28. Sandy Padgett, Independence, KY, 4:37:15; 29. Jim Tallman, Beaverton, 4:43:58; 30. Steven Bouwkamp, Farmington Hills, MI, 4:46:04;
31. Jennifer Bouwkamp, Farmington Hills, MI, 4:46:06; 32. Bob Dolphin, Renton, WA, 4:46:12; 33. Steve Shapiro, Portland, 4:48:14; 34. Terry Castles, Portland, 4:50:41; 35. Gene Weddle, San Jose, CA, 4:52:10; 36. David Register, Portland, 4:55:20; 37.Ray Jackson, Modesto, CA, 5:03:16; 38. Ed Hansen, Stayton, 5:14:42; 39. William Knox, Baton Rouge, LA, 5:17:04; 40. Sandy Mundy, Klamath Falls, 5:21:08;
41. Kimberly Keller, Seattle, 5:27:10; 42. Dale Ghaner, Modesto, CA, 5:27:40; 43.Paul Butchko, Greensburg, PA, 5:31:41; 44. Allen Miller, Modesto, CA, 5:40:40; 45.Ronald Rosenblatt, Salem, 5:45:15; 46. Famida Hanif-Weddle, San Jose, CA, 5:46:43; 47. Boyd Richardson, West Jordan, UT, 5:48:18; 48. Laurence Macon, San Antonio, TX, 5:57:08; 49. Bill Hardt, Tualatin, 5:58:52.