Blue Angel Marathon


Dana Stetson


Every year at the start of the Blue Angel Marathon (BAM), as the F-18’s blast overhead in a spectacular display of noise, speed, and power, I am reminded of the same thought. I’m always glad that the U.S. Navy isn’t mad at me!

The BAM is the marathon most other marathons wish they could be. This race is the model for others to imitate. Every corner is staffed, there are cones partitioning off a runners lane for most of the 26 miles, the water/food tables are well supplied, and there are lots of crowds. Support for each runner is the most you will find anywhere. This year Tallahassee’s best hope at BAM was Ronnie Godwin, who started and maintained a fast pace throughout, to break the 3-hour mark (only 1 of 12 who managed this feat).

Tallahasseans were everywhere on this course. The first eleven miles of the race are on the naval base. Then, you pop out into Pensacola proper for a tour of the town. The weather at this race was a mixture of cloudy, humid, wind intermixed with bright, hot segments. Several portions of the race course double-back so you can enjoy the spectacle as your fellow runners fall apart in front of you, at the same time you can count your place in your age group (using your innate ability to guess age groups). This course is almost all flat except for one bridge that you cross twice.

My personal race ended just past the 14-mile mark, when upon inspection of an ailing foot, I decided I had shredded enough footage to really consider an alternate form of transportation. As soon as I halted my forward progress, a ham radio guy was there to help me. He called for the bicycle medics and soon enough, they were there to wrap the foot up and the sag wagon was contacted. In the meantime, I got to watch the race. I saw every single Tallahassee entrant cruise by.

Wherever these people were in the pack, they were a presence. They were moving forward, talking to each other, and having lots of fun. From my stationary position, I got to see what almost no one does – I got to see all our people in the course of a race. Later on, after getting dropped off at the finish, I got to see them come in. It is amazing how much energy a finish line brings out in some people. To our Tallahassee contingent, you were certainly an inspiration to a stationary athlete! Congratulations!

Tallahassee Runners: Ronnie Godwin 2:58, Garth Grumme 3:03 (top 20). Gary Griffin, Paul Hiers, Mike Jaynes, Katie McPhail (2nd female 25-29, 3:35), Wallace Randell, Cindy Sedenberry (4:15), Dana Stetson, Mary Jane Tappan.