ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For many running the 29th Duke City event on Sunday, the goal is just to finish
When the gun sounds for the Big 5 Sporting Goods Duke City Marathon at 7 a.m. Sunday at Civic Plaza, a field of about 600 runners will begin a 26.2-mile out-and-back trek that will take roughly 3 to 7-plus hours to compete.
Whereas the higher-seeded runners with the accompanying low bib numbers will break from the start quickly, there will be hundreds of other participants who will be content to enjoy another glorious Albuquerque morning going at a slower pace along city streets and the bosque.
There will be approximately 5,000 competing in events ranging from a 5K walk to the marathon in the 29th annual Albuquerque road-race festival.
6:45 a.m.: Opening ceremonies
7 a.m.: Marathon, marathon relay
7:15 a.m.: 5K run
7:30 a.m.: Half marathon
7:45 a.m.: 10K run
8 a.m.: 20K walk
8:15 a.m.: 5K walk
One of the zaniest characters in the bunch will be 67-year-old Carol Goslin of Kansas City, Mo., who will be running her third marathon in New Mexico, but her first Duke City. It will be her 32nd marathon this year and her 191st overall. Her goal is to eventually reach 200.
Sounds like it’s going to be a battle to the end, though.
“I’m fighting a virus, and my doctor said I have fluid around my heart – and I need a knee replacement,” half-laughed Goslin, a member of the 50 States Club, which is for runners who have completed marathons in at least 10 states with a goal of doing so in all 50.
While in town, she will be sharing a hotel room with three other 50 State members. As for travel, she flies free on Delta on standby because her daughter works for the airline.
“My toughest race was one called the Mad Marathon in Vermont,” said Goslin, who said she competed in her first 26.2-mile event at age 50 or 51. “The hills they had! Oh, gosh, at mile 23 it was a roller coaster, for crying out loud. It was like a ski slope. I did anything I could to finish.”
Ditto for her experience in the Shiprock Marathon last year.
“I was going really good, but then the altitude and heat got to me, and at mile 10 I was ready to quit,” she said. “I was last, right in front of the firetrucks following me, and this guy who was the race director came by in a beautiful truck and I said to him, ‘Take me back to the finish.’ But he said, ‘No, no, no, you can’t quit.’
“So I told them to keep the Porta-Potties up and I’d keep going. Later, the race director and his dog actually walked with me a mile and a half to keep me going.”
Long story less long, she made it to the finish and was the center of a commotion.
“Everyone was jumping and screaming,” she said. “And then (race organizers) gave me the last-place finisher’s plate. The Indians had made it for me. It was beautiful. I’m glad I finished.”
Her goal Sunday is much the same as in that race – to finish before race organizers pack their gear.
Also in the pack
There are other runners entered Sunday with similar stories.
♦ Dick Harris of Albuquerque, 72, will embark on his 293rd race of at least a marathon in length. He said the first one was the Tour of Albuquerque event in 1969.
“That was a five-loop course around the UNM area – around campus, up to Indian School, down Girard. … I’m just hoping I can get to 300 (marathons) without falling apart first.”
Harris said he’s run about a dozen sub 3-hour marathons in his road-racing career, but has a more conservative goal for Sunday.
“I would be really pleased to do it in 5:30, but would be satisfied to do it in under 6 hours.
♦ Albuquerque’s Donna Dowling, 62, will be taking part in her second marathon, although she’s a regular runner at lesser distances. Also entered will be her husband, Francis Edwards, 63.
“I waited to do my first at the tender age of 61,” she said of last year’s Duke City. “I’ve known my husband over 20 years, and he didn’t understand at first why I put those shoes on in all that crazy weather. Now, he runs faster than me. I chalk it up to good coaching.”
She said all was well in her inaugural marathon for a while.
“I think mile 11, where the hills come in, I wasn’t quite as prepared,” she said.
She expects to cross the finish in 6:15.
♦ Roger Kramer, 66, also of Albuquerque, won’t be a threat to break the tape first. But he won’t be too far in back, either.
Kramer, who qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2006 and says he runs about four marathons a year, will be looking for a time of 4:10 Sunday.
“It’s a well-run race and runner-friendly,” he said of the Duke City. “The weather’s usually super and there are some rolling hills that are challenging.”
Although Kramer says he already has a qualifying time if he wanted to race in Boston next season, he said he’ll pass.
“That’s a $2,000 weekend,” he said.
♦ Don Wright of Lake Elmo, Minn., 71, plans to make the Duke City his 69th marathon and the 49th state in which he has run. He plans to make Hawaii No. 50.
Remarkably, Wright didn’t start running until about eight years ago when he was first diagnosed to have multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.
Don will be running for the cancer charities Team Continuum and Tackle Cancer Foundation.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal