You of course have heard that old expression – “sell your soul to the devil for…”? Well, I count the gremlins as much better allies. Race director Jeff Nielsen was investigating a report that Jim Phillips was paid a six pack of beer to lead the top five runners off the course. I can tell him that he can stop the investigation now. The gremlins don’t leave a trail and with subtle wit and deception they misdirected the top runners, one by one, down winding paths and over huge log jams until they were dazed and far away from the real course.
In the meantime my “purchased” soul carried my feet along the marked sandy trails to a first ever victory in the Prefontaine 5K in 22:17, just before a reawakened Mike LaBossiere crossed the line for second in 22:40. “If only I had broken the gremlin spell thirty seconds earlier, I would have had him,” said the fast closing Newsletter Editor. Ok, it was also probably the slowest winning time in the history of the race, but just try to get my trophy back. Wait a minute, what trophy? Jeff!!
Yvonne Gsteiger took a more conventional route to winning the women’s title relying on the devil himself to clutter the course with fallen pine trees piled so high that only she, among the women, could get over them in 25:41 or less. Kim Kirkbride was second in 27:00. Fran McLean took the top masters honors for the women in 27:15 and Mike Sims was first master for the men in 23:40, despite running the gremlin’s route.
Race directors Jeff Neilsen and Kathy McDaris worried about conflicts with the weekend motocross race that was taking place at the Silver Lake Park. However, it turned out a couple of the bikers decided a run was just what they needed for training and joined in the fun. The course was not as sandy as some years, but three or four hours of prep work by the Jeff brothers (Nielsen and Doherty) assured runners had all the obstacles they needed. All in all the race once again lived up the Prefontaine legend for craziness.