Dick Draxler is a 62 year-old Bernal Heights resident who likes to run long distances. Before this weekend, he’d completed 27 marathons. On Sunday, he notched number 28. He did that becoming both the organizer of and lone participant in the inaugural Bernal Hill Marathon, which took place with little fanfare yesterday on Bernal Heights Boulevard.
In an email Dick sent out on Friday night, he explained how the idea for the marathon was hatched:
Shortly after doing the ever feel-good Humboldt Redwoods Marathon in mid-October, I went online to commit to my fourth and final marathon of the 2011 season — the California International in Sacramento, a notoriously fast, slightly downhill race on Dec 4th, 2011. But much to my chagrin, it had filled quota over that weekend. I could still get one of 300 remaining “charity entries” for something like $250, but a charity shakedown is still a shakedown. I decided to do something of my own for free on that hill I wear out.
I measured it out, and a lap around Bernal Hill is basically .97 mile; times 27 hits 26.2 almost perfectly… I’ve got a marathon!
So there you have it. Sunday morning I’ll be up there at 8:00 to start a journey of 27 laps that will probably take me to 12:30 or 1:00 to complete, depending on distractions and/or visitors and/or “pacers” (which I hope to have a lot of). Come on up, be one of them. The weather looks to be beautiful, maybe too warm (damn!). Pop some corn, bring your lawnchairs, watch me come by every 9 to 10 minutes. Better yet, do a lap or two with me…I’ll gladly slow down or try to speed up to your pace. Get in on the first year before it becomes too big.
Fantastic! A self-organized marathon, with just one very determined participant. It was too late for Bernalwood to sign up as the media sponsor, so we instead showed up to lend our support.
I stopped by at around noon, at which point Dick had just completed the 21st lap of his 27 lap circular odyssey. To track his progress along the way, he kept an official tally in official chalk on an official curb near the south entrance of the park:
To be honest, he was making it look easy. The changes in elevation around the Bernal Heights Boulevard loop were challenging, he admitted. But what about the monotony? The same route, 27 times in a row? Dick laughed and shrugged that off, recalling a friend who once completed a marathon by running more than 500 times around the perimeter of an indoor gymnasium. “Compared to that, this is scenic,” he said.
After I left, Dick went on to complete the full marathon.
I did do all 27 laps. Do you know the low and high points (elevation) are on Bernal Heights Boulevard, so I can shout out total elevation gain/loss to marathoner nerds back in the mid-west? The Bernal Heights Marathon is NOT an easy thing, with that hill times 27.
Frankly, I can only imagine.
But here’s the best part: Dick is thinking about organizing another Bernal Hill Marathon, and he thinks he know the perfect co-conspirator:
Maybe we have better chance of making it an annual event with bikini girl’s collaboration.
In the meantime, Bernalwood sends our hearty congratulations to Dick Draxler for his record-setting victory in the first-ever Bernal Hill Marathon. Well done, sir!
PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics