Monday morning here, just been for a 40 minute run to loosen up, swim and massage this afternoon, Vancouver Marathon in 6 days… Looking forward to sinking a few pints with Mike and his mates later..
Big Sur, what can I say, as Bart Yasso of Runners World said; If we were told that we could run only one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it.” Ran with Michael for the first 2.5 miles. There are no real flat bits on this course, you are either going up or going down, mostly up….

The elevation chart is a bit deceptive, the run is tough even without the Hurricane Point climb, the other hills seem to pale into insignificance in comparison.

At the base of Hurricane Point You have a big group of Taiko drummers, the sound is incredible, you just vibrate with it as you climb and climb and climb……….
The drums fade away and as you crest the top you can faintly hear Michael Martinez on the grand piano at the Bixby Bridge.

Met some wonderful people and great memories. Not very often you get to run a marathon with your son.

More hills, more breathtaking views, great music, the strawberry lady was a highlight, she started handing out strawberries at the first Big Sur marathon, it’s now an official” strawberry aid station” at about the 23 mile mark.

Another highlight was the 24 kegs of beer in the recovery tent…

I would say that I had the perfect morning, except for getting up at 3AM to be bussed to the start, 100’s of school buses going up and down the highway in the dark, ANZAC day morning for me, watched the dawn break over the Pacific. Perfect weather. A memorable run with my son on one of the most beautiful roads in the world.

Times: Ken 4.20 Mike 3.58….. My time was a bit slow because I stopped at the Bixby bridge and asked Michael Martinez to play Rachmaninov’s prelude in C sharp minor, as you know it takes a while to get through and it would not have been polite of me to just run off before he finished it.

I am so looking forward to seeing Laura in a few days, and the Vancouver marathon as well LOL.
I will remind her of the time we lost her…
You know, we are so lucky, to be able to run and go to all these places and meet like minded people…

PS: The ADF running gear was a big hit. Met so many people on the run that had visited Australia and some who had served with our forces in the late 60s early 70s..Iraq as well. Local army base guys did a lot of the Marshalling and security, they look so young. At about mile 22 I think This booming voice from behind me , ” Aussie, Aussie Aussie… And me Oi Oi Oi… Scared the shit out of this girl I was running with. Hard to miss me with “Australian Defence Forces” blazoned on my back: Bloke from Seattle who had spent 5 years in Adelaide… Lost count of the runners who told me: You Aussies don’t know how to spell defense.

I knew this one would be tough, 2 marathons a week apart was going to hurt and hurt it did. I waited until the Friday afternoon to enter and even then was still feeling the effects of Big Sur.
Over 14,000 entrants makes this the largest marathon in Canada.
It was raining when I left Vancouver 20 years ago and still raining when I arrived Thursday evening before the race. 5 minutes before the start it started raining and never stopped, but that’s Vancouver.
I really like this city, great food and good company, The marathon course winds through the city, under the sky train and through Stanly Park, False Creek and then over and back on the Burrard Bridge, Through Kitsilano and Point Grey. We virtually ran past Laura’s house but she was still in bed, bless her little cotton socks, but she managed to greet me at the finish line. I kept up a fairly steady pace and at the 30k mark realized I was a chance to qualify for Boston but I was really feeling the pain.
I was in sight of the finish line but was absolutely spent, I just could not go any faster. I finished in 4.00.47. Over 20 minutes faster than Big Sur but 47 seconds over the Boston qualifying time for my age group. I was disappointed but elated at the same time, I had achieved my goal of running back to back marathons. Then I was told that there is a grace period of 59 seconds for each age group for Boston, yep, I had qualified by 12 seconds.

A few beers with Laura and her friends topped off a great day.
I was lucky enough to be in town for one of the Hockey playoffs, Vancouver Canucks V Chicago Blackhawks, the city basically stopped for the game, they were like Collingwood supporters only worse. A real grand final atmosphere and this was only game 2 of the playoffs.
Back in California now for a bit of R & R and home next week.

Big Sur has a lot common with the Great Ocean Road Marathon, both on highway one, stunning views, huge climb at the half way point, ( Kennett River V Hurricane Point ) and getting bussed to the start in the dark. I plan to run it in 2 weeks. Should be another good test for this old body. The GOR Marathon is so typically Australian don’t you think? Starts and finishes at a pub and we add on an extra 3k just to make it interesting.

More of my adventures….

Upper Murray challenge.

The Amsterdam Marathon. History And Tradition.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!