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ERC Occupies the 2012 Philly Marathon

Nov 19, Philadelphia, PA

ERC Finishers

  • Dave Gurniak  3:52:27
  • Mick Close   4:22:27
  • Barbara Zirl   4:33:44
  • Martta Kelly    4:42:44
  • Laura Barry    5:29:58
  • Robbin Jordan  5:41:20

My road to Philly was a bumpy one. I started training and it was going great but it was too good to be true. I fell on a run in mid October and ended up not being able to run or work out for 10 days. The road to recovery was a slow one (and is still ongoing). During this time the Sheraton screwed up and I lost my reservation. I was trying not to let all of these negatives get to me, at one point I asked my mom if she thought this was a sign I shouldn’t run. Luckily she said no I was determined to run in Philly. With many painful short runs and lots of visits to the Dr. I thought I could do it, but slowly 2 weeks before the race my Dr. suggested that I just run the half but I had to take walk breaks. Last week he said I made enough progress to try the full but I had to promise I would walk and completely stop if the pain was too bad. The goal was to finish and not make my knee any worse. So in the last month my longest run was 5 miles…I did that twice. I was relying on the training I did prior to my injury to get me through this. Another women I run with also had sustained an injury and while our “healthy” training runs were at a pace to finish well under 5 hours we choose to join the 5:30 pace group. We figured this would keep us in check not to start out to fast and injure ourselves further.

The marathon started and our plan was to run a few miles then take our first walk break. Little did we know our pace group leader had planned on doing the Galloway method for the entire marathon. The first 20 miles I experiences some discomfort in my knee but nothing that made me feel like I had to stop. I was able to stay with the pace group until mile 21 when my leg decided it didn’t want to go that “fast.” I kept going taking more and more walk breaks. I’m pretty sure I walked all of mile 24. When I saw the mile 25 sign I told myself I am running until I cross the finish line. I was so excited to see my friends screaming and yelling at about mile 26 and when I got to the finish line my parents were right there. I fought back tears of pain and join. The real issues with my knee came when I stopped. I got my medal, hugged my friends and parents and then couldn’t even put weight on my leg. The medic tent seems so far away and I felt like a deer in headlights, I couldn’t move. Luckily the officers let my dad go under the fence and with his help and later him and my boyfriend they were able to get me out of the finishing area. My leg finally loosened back up and I was able to walk again by the time we had to walk back to the hotel.

Over all I’m impartial about the course. Going up the river was a wonderful experience with runners cheering for each other on both sides. But approaching the finish I felt like I was alone, there weren’t many runners around me and no one was on the other side of the road anymore. There were very few spectators on that section of the course. My other complaint was when we reached one water stop they were out of cups, they were pouring water directly into our mouths, I know I was in the back of the pack but I still needed the water.

As of now I’m not positive I will run another marathon. I have told my friends, family, and fellow runners to ask me when my knee is completely healed. Oh and I went back to the Dr. yesterday and he was impresses that I did not do anymore damage to it! So while sore I should be able to walk normal again in a few days with lots of ice and rest.

I couldn’t have been prouder of myself and having my friends and parents at the finish was an amazing feeling. It was the first race my parents came to see and I’m glad they came and were there to watch me cross the finish line.- Laura Barry

Some Good News About Occupy the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon:

The weather was awesome. You couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to run a marathon.

I got to run the first 16 miles with Tom.

My recovery was not too bad, just some sore quads. I even went back to work on Monday. Galloway really works, folks.

I was able to run the last 4 miles in (OK, I jogged).

I did not vomit.

We got to spend time with Mick and Catherine, and Mick’s daughter, Lisa.

Catherine’s brother, Paul, in Cherry Hill generously put us up overnight.

I wasn’t THAT far off my predicted goal of 4:30-4:40 (just 2 minutes at 4:42:44).

On my list of things I DON’T have to do in the next few months: Train for a marathon!

No blisters and all 10 toenails are intact.

Some Not So Good Things About Occupy the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon:

Finding one’s color-coded corral on race day was an exercise in chaos (I was Orange, Tom was Purple). We just gave up and lined up in the Black Corral.

If you were in the Black Corral legitimately, you were a runner with a 3:50 goal. By running with these folks, we probably went out a little faster than we should have.

I overdid it a bit at the pre-race dinner. Should not have had more than one glass of wine or bread dipped in olive oil, even though I was held at gunpoint. As a result, my tummy was queasy until about mile 20.

Due to the tummy issues, I had to make a pit stop at Mile 14, which cost me a few minutes.

I usually take 4 or 5 gels when I do a marathon, one every 45 minutes or so. As a result of my tummy issues, I only was able to take 2, one at the halfway mark and another at mile 20. I am sure that cost me a couple of caffeine jolts.

Poor Tom was having a rough day, due to a barking hamstring. I suggested he call it a day at the halfway mark but he was persistent and wanted to complete the full marathon. I ran with him up until mile 16 and would have stayed with him until the finish but he told me to go ahead. (Props to Tom for hanging in there until the finish!)

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit disappointed that my time wasn’t closer to the 4:30 mark than 4:40. But with everything considered, I’ll take it.

Funny moment of the day: At around Mile 4, a woman I never saw before in my life yells, “Hey, Martta!” to me from the sidelines. Tom asked me if I knew her and I said I didn’t have a clue who she was. I later realized that my name was printed in bold black letters on my bib! (((((head palm))) – Martta Kelly

My fifth running of the Philadelphia Marathon went well – despite another unexpected break in my training from that freakish October snowstorm that left me shivering with no power for a week and no roads to run on from all the debris. I was running slow by my own standards, but faster than I ran in October at the Hartford Marathon. So that’s something.

I had my pre-race breakfast (oatmeal with a spoon and a bowl!) and walked the few yards from the no-frills Best Western to the start. Can’t beat that location.

I felt good, ready to run. The day was spectacular: a little chill in the air at the start and then just perfect 50 degrees for the rest of the race.

I actually ran well for about two thirds of the course, holding a steady pace until Manayunk when my legs and feet could not keep up with the voice in my head telling them to keep going. The remaining 6 miles were a struggle, but I had enough left to run strong to the finish line in 4:33:44. Gotta look like you mean it for those finish line pics!

While the end of the race was painful, I am surprised and happy to report that even sitting on a plane for 6 hours Tuesday morning, I could almost forget I just ran a marathon two days ago. That’s what all the training is for.

The Philly Marathon has evolved, since I first ran it in 2004, into a well-organized, more-than-midsized event with some 27,000 runners throughout the race weekend, enthusiastic spectators all along the course, including lively cheer zones and music. Runners of all capabilities – some in costumes – keep it interesting. The oddest was the guy I saw at the finish line in full boxing attire. I asked if he ran the whole race in the boxing gloves. Yeah, he said, but I had a tough time at the water stops.

–  Barbara Zirl

There were about 20,000 runners in Philly yesterday for the marathon and half marathon including quite a few from the club. I had the pleasure of running the marathon again with my daughter, Lisa, who is now living in Philly for a couple of years. The races started together at 7:00 am in front of the Art Museum on a mild day with temperatures rising from about 50 degrees to the low 60’s. The wave start seemed to work very well although the streets were still very crowded for much of the first 13 miles. We really enjoyed the first half of the course as it looped around downtown Philly before heading out past the colleges and through Fairmont Park, returning to the Art Museum at the half way point. Lisa wanted to try to break 4 hours and we were going well at the half but as often happens we ran out of gas around the 18 mile mark and had to tough it out the rest of the way. The second half is an out and back mostly along the river and we were very happy when we reached the turnaround point and were heading back towards the finish line instead of away from it. We had to do a run/walk for the last 8 miles but managed to pick it up again at the end and finished together in 4:22:27. Many thanks to all the other ERC runners and spectators for all their support especially Aileen who seemed to be everywhere cheering us on. Congratulations to all the other ERC finishers and we look forward to hearing your stories about the race!

Note: There was also some very sad news from the race with reports that two people had collapsed and were pronounced dead at the hospital from apparent heart attacks. The news reports said that a 21 year old man collapsed after finishing the half marathon and a 40 year old man collapsed about a quarter mile from the finish line of the marathon.


– Mick Close

I too had fun in Phila yesterday.  It started at around 4:45 as I made oatmeal in the hotel bathroom, just to realize I had no spoon. So I ate it using the tail end of my toothbrush.

Walking to the start was just amazing, never remember ever seeing that many runners before.

My daughter Emily met me at the 7 miles mark and ran with me for 7+ miles. My wife Robin and son Paul were also cheering at 7 miles, right on the edge of the Penn campus.  My marathon “fun” did not start until about mile 23. Judging from what I started to see in Manayunk, the “fun” started sooner for many. It was fairly warm. I started slowly and had hoped to avoid the “fun” all together. However adjusting for a bathroom break just before 17 miles, I still managed a negative split running the second half 2 minutes faster than the first. I finished in 3:52:27.

– Dave Gurniak

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NYC Marathon Bus

NYC Marathon Bus

Photo Highlights

Photos on flickr

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