2014 Gandy Marathon Results and Recap

2014 Champions Tammi Braund and Mark Swiontek
Photo credit: Mike Colaizy
We had a perfect day for the inaugural Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon and we couldn't be more pleased with how the day went.  388 arrived to take part in the full marathon, half marathon, and 5 k events.  When we started planning for this race back in March, we were hoping for about 200, so this is a smashing success and we GUARANTEE we will be back for a bigger, better race in 2015!

But before we start planning for next year, we need to spend a bit more time enjoying and celebrating 2014.  Pictured above are the champions from the full marathon Tammi Braund (3:09:55) and Mark Swiontek (3:05:54).  It was so much fun running this race because the way the course is laid out, you get to see the leaders come by twice.  It's a HUGE charge seeing people you know leading a marathon, running through the pain, and hammering towards the finish line.  I got so excited I screamed and yelled at both Tammi and Mark...and only after did I worry that perhaps I got a little too loud and obnoxious.  I asked Tammi about it though and she said, "No its that yelling that keeps people going! I couldn't breathe to yell, sorry!"--No apology necessary Tammi, don't break concentration when you have a marathon to win :) !

Unofficial results are currently posted at Gopher Timing.  I can't seem to link directly to the results, so you have to click that link, then click on the link that says "results" on the upper left, click on "fitness events" in the drop down menu, and then you'll see Gandy Marathon.  I think I'll be able to link directly when the results become official.

Kudos to Eric Olson and Seth Petersen for overseeing everything on race day and ensuring that it all went smoothly.  I know that Eric didn't sleep for at least two days prior to the race (hopefully he's getting some sleep now).  He told me he tried to sleep and just laid awake thinking about all the stuff that needed to be done to send the race off.  At least we didn't have to worry about people taking wrong turns out on the course (well...actually you do have to worry about that, even when the course follows a railroad bed...sigh...).

Despite the fact that things went very well, we've already got a list of items that we want to improve (there's always room for improvement). I don't think I'll ever forget the national anthem before the marathon.  Eric's microphone went dead so the young girl who performed had to do so without the aid of audio amplification.  The crowd of competitors went absolutely silent in what was a truly beautiful moment.  This only goes to show that sometimes little glitches can actually create magic.  That being said, we're not going to rest until this is the number 1 marathon around!  Feel free to send us suggestions in emails (GandyMarathon@gmail.com) or leave them in the comments below.

Also, we were honored that Tyre Girl came to participate in our event.  Her objective is to do 100 marathons while dragging a tire, and she started off an hour ahead of the other competitors.  It was fun to see her out there on the course since she is a energetic and fun individual always ready to shout words of encouragement.  Her tire picked up leaves along the way, and every now and then she had to stop and pull the bunches out from beneath (she said the leaves made the tire very heavy).  When I caught up with her I said she might have to disconnect the tire and drag my inert body into the finish line--fortunately for both of us it didn't quite come to that (although it was pretty close).


Winners for the half marathon were Dan Schoepke (1:26:37) and Megan Felling (1:41:06).  Winners for the 5k were Manuel Villagrana (21:02:25) and Jen Vos Benkowski (21:53:93).  Congratulations!

I'd like to offer a special thank you to the Luck Fire Department.  What a great group of guys they are, and they did a tremendous job supporting us out there.  I had zero worries at the one or two road crossings (who can miss a big fire truck with flashing lights telling drivers to STOP!).

Also, thanks to the cyclists from CyclovaXC who were out there on bicycles in front of the men and women leaders of the various races.

Most important of all, thanks to all of the runners who came to participate in our event!  It was so much fun shouting encouragement and hearing all the kind words while out on the trail.  All of you made this event a special day and we couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.  I hope you all are eager to return next year for a bigger and better version of the Gandy Dancer Marathon!  If any of you feel you need to do a little more training, come out and join our free "Sasquatch Dash" trail running series (Tammi and Mark both won all the races they entered in that series)--races will begin April 2015.

If any of you want to do a write up of your experience for publication here, please do!  Send it to me along with some photos at: bj@cyclovaxc.com!  Thanks, and see you next year!
Photo by: Jenna Coen Clemenson

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