The following blog entry was written by long-distance runner extraordinaire Keith Hosman:

Allyson and I left for Virginia Beach Friday night when she got home from work. We stayed with her childhood friend Kathy. The next morning Allyson and Kathy walked the 8K. I was going to run it slow and save myself for the marathon the next day.

It is fun the hold back and try not to run fast in a large race. I just took in everything and tried not to let race adrenaline take over. The only thing that happened was a little kid with green hair was in front of me and I tried to go around him on the left and he moved right in front of me. So I tried to get around him on the right and again he moved right in front of me. Now he started to look back at me and no matter which way I went to move around him he pulled right in front of me all the time looking back at me. I almost took him out. At last I got around him. Maybe he was not a small kid but an evil leprechaun.

When I saw the finish line, I started to pick up the pace but then put on the brakes and took it easy all the way to the end. I finished the 8K in 47:28, which is a 9:33 pace. I got to drink beer, eat beef stew, and listen to a live rock band while I watched Allyson and Kathy finish the race on live big-screen TV.

We had a big pasta dinner at Kathy’s house that night. The next morning, Kathy dropped me off near the start line. I saw fellow RidgeRunners Club member Josh Gatz and met his grandparents. Josh was starting in Corral 3. I was in Corral 2. Each corral has around a two-minute interval between starts. This allows the runners to spread out some and give everyone more room to run. Since the race is chip timed, everything works out for the best.

I soon saw John Stacy and his girlfriend Stephanie Danahy. John was in Corral 1 and Stephanie was in 2. Stephanie and I decided to start together. The race started and, of course, I never saw John again. He ran a 3:50:21 marathon.

Stephanie and I started fast. I looked at my watch and I think the first mile was at around an 8:30 pace. In the second mile I saw our pace go up to around an 8:15. I thought we went out too fast so I backed off and let Stephanie go. Now everyone seemed to be passing me.

There is an out-and-back section where you can see the runners coming the other way, and I noticed I was ahead of the 3:45 pace group. We went through Fort Story where the the army comes out and cheers us on. Here the 3:45 pace group went around me.

From there, we ran a few miles down the boardwalk. I was still getting passed more than I was keeping pace with those around me. We ran down the main drag of Virginia Beach. This is a nice section of the race because you can see the race front runners coming back the other way.

From there we turned on a main road that has no crowd and is kind of the dull part of the race. They put up signs with jokes on them to help keep you going. They go something like this: “What happens to a leprechaun if he falls in the water?” “He gets wet.”

I decided now was the time to start trying to pick people off and pick up the pace. Around mile 16, Josh caught up to me. He said I looked like I was running well and would like to pace with me. This gave me more of a mental boost and I picked up the pace even more. I felt like we were now passing just about everyone. We turned back into Fort Story and at mile 19 came up on Stephanie. She was having problems with her foot and had slowed down. I tried to get her to hang on with us but she could not.

We ran past a lighthouse. I remembered two in the past but only saw one this time. After Fort Story we came out on the main drag of Virginia Beach. I always have trouble on this section mentally because we come out on 87th Street and you have to run down to 30th Street.

We were around mile 23 and I thought Josh looked like he was ready to take off and dart to the finish. To my surprise, he fell off the pace. Around mile 24, I hit the wall and slowed to over a 10-minute per mile pace. The four-hour pace group went around me.

I tried hard to hang on the back of that pack but it was no use. I was shot and just had to jog to the finish line. My time was 4:03:53. For the Whale Challenge, which is for both races, I was in 46th place.

Josh finished his first marathon in 4:09:01. Stephanie came in at 4:11:49, which was good enough for 4th place in her age group. There was more beer and beef stew at the finish. There was also an Irish band. I did not feel like doing a jig right at that moment.