Posted on Mon, Apr. 29, 2002
By KEN OTTMAR
Race too much fun for competitors to think about the pain
Fear met its match at the Big Sur International Marathon.
Blame it on inspiration, perspiration or perhaps a touch of
divine intervention, but the trepidation even the most seasoned
runners experience with one of North America’s most difficult
marathons never found its mark with many first-time marathoners.
Hurricane Point? Any time, any day!
The rolling hills of Carmel Highlands? No sweat.
The proverbial wall?
“I never hit it,” said 34-year old Jill Ferares of Seaside.
“The wall just didn’t come. I was waiting for it but it must
have past me by.” Finding a comfortable distraction with newly-found
friend Katie - a fellow runner that conversed with Ferares from
mile six through mile 17 - Ferares said the miles clicked off
so quickly she didn’t really have time to think about pain.
“Katie and I hung together through Hurricane Point and it
breezed right on by,” Ferares said. “I had such a feeling of
self-esteem and self-confidence, whatever came my way I was
Likewise, Pacific Grove resident Maureen Dailey felt that
only an act of God could stop her.
“I tried to save up my energy until mile 20, thinking I
would need it,” Dailey said. “I ran really fast the last six
miles. That wall, I never hit it, but I was extremely grateful
that I didn’t.”
For the 26-year old Dailey, who quit smoking last April
after seven years, the only thing more surprising than avoiding
the wall was her time of 4 hours and 54 minutes.
“I finished a full (6) minutes ahead of my projected time
of five hours,” Dailey said. “It’s hard to describe this feeling
of accomplishment... the only word that comes to mind is inspiration.
I feel very inspired.”
And maybe that is as easy an explanation as it gets with
Big Sur. The intoxicating beauty, often cited as the sole reason
most participate, becomes an invisible safety net many use to
bounce back with. “When you get to the top of Hurricane
Point, you turn around and it is just breathtaking,” said Monterey’s
“You can hear waves crashing and are privileged to views
you don’t see from a car,” Ferares recalled.
“It’s the ideal place at an ideal time of year,” Dailey
said. And if that wasn’t enough, each had their own personal
motivation pushing them to the end.
“The most amazing thing was coming around the corner onto
Carmel Bridge and seeing the American flag,” said Diebold, who
is a Navy Lieutenant studying information systems technology
at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. “That was
it for me, that really got me going.”
While Dailey’s father, visiting from Wisconsin, awaited
her arrival at the finish line, Ferares had an even bigger gift.
“I had been telling various people that a certain five-year
old was waiting,” Ferares said of her son, Ryan. “To see his
face and hear him say, ‘Mommy did it,’ was very special.”
Ryan’s father put him on top of his shoulders and ran alongside
Ferares the last three-tenths of a mile. They then sprinted
ahead just before the finish, turned, and snapped a picture
of mom crossing the finish line. Her expression didn’t
give a hint of her pre-race trepidation.
“The only draw back to running at Big Sur is nothing can
compare to it,” Diebold said. “This marathon exceeded all of
my expectations. I don’t think any other marathon can live up