Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota

He's alive!!!

He can laugh about it now, but I don't think there was any giggling going on during his 4 day nap. Let me tell you a little something about Mr. Greg Goebel. At the Zoom Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon earlier this year, this Marathon Maniac's heart stopped ticking and he collapsed on the course. Fortunately, a doctor happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to get the tick tock back. Mr. Goebel, however, fell into a coma. Miraculously, he woke up four days later to tell his tale. True story. 

I was extremely lucky and managed to do something Pheidippides wasn’t able to do--die, and live to tell about it. I don’t recommend it by the way, and will be eternally grateful to Dr. Bob Aby who was at the right place at the right time for me. Had it occurred in 90% of the 30 marathons I ran in 2010, I wouldn’t be here to type this. Whether 5Ks, marathons, or ultras, you can never take anything for granted. I had no warnings, no symptoms and no heart attack – it just quit beating. I am sure my conditioning of all the marathons last year helped me survive. I hope my January ‘event’ doesn’t scare someone else away from making a 26.2 mile commitment. It hasn’t me, and this weekend will be #5 AD. Many miles with many smiles to all! - Greg Goebel.

Fast Forward to 11-11-11.

Woo Hoo!

From what I understand, it was Greg's dream to race direct his own marathon, and this dream played out in his head long before his brush with death. Over the past year, he planned his 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota, paying very close attention to every meticulous detail. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend this epic once in a millennium event.

I wasn't kidding when I said Greg paid very close attention to detail. Everybody had two bibs, on for the front and on for the back. The front bib had your number and the back bib had your name so that people behind you will know who you are!

And to think, I almost missed this event because I missed my flight! I set my alarm clock for 3am so that I could make it to the airport on time for my 5:30am flight. I woke up at 5:47am. I knew I was screwed. Panic mode hit me hard as I jumped out of bed, grabbed by bags, and charged for the airport. It wasn't like I was flying to Los Angeles or Las Vegas where this is a flight every hour, I was flying across the country! When I got to the airport, I plead to the ticket agent. I explained my Titanium quest and pretty much said I needed to get to Florida. She looked me straight in the eye and responded, "What you have is a reward ticket, and there's not much I can do with it. Even if I can get you a flight, it would cost about $500." Ugh.

I was desperate, so I just told the ticket agent to do what she had to do. After about 20 minutes of typing away on her keyboard, making a few phone calls, and speaking with a gentleman clad in a suit, she handed me two boarding passes and said, "I got you on the flight to Houston. This flight boards in 10 minutes. From Houston, you are guaranteed a flight to Tampa Bay at 8pm and arriving a little after midnight. However, you can try to get on the 4pm flight and get there sooner." She then signaled to someone to get me through security. I thanked her profusely and pulled out my wallet. She told me to put it way. "Good luck Endorphin Dude. This one is on us." I couldn't believe the Endorphin Dude card worked! With no time to lose, I raced through security, caught my flight, and was fortunate enough to get on the earlier flight in Houston. I made it to Florida by 9pm! Very stressful day, but I made it across the country for #40 of this Titanium quest!

I said it before and I'll say it again, the 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota was an epic event, and words really can't express how awesome it was. For this reason, I will show you what an incredible job Greg Goebel did via photos. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, prepare yourself for the greatest story every told!

It's like the who's who of marathons! So many marathon celebrities at one event!
Please meet the lovely Endorphin Dudettes of November: Mary Signorelli, Mary Lenari, and Diane Bolton.
Thank you Stephanie Zehr for offering your room to this broke marathon caped crusader!
What a bunch.
Right before the start.
Endorphin Dude and the 10 foot tall Tom Scott from Washington. I swear, I felt like a weed standing next to a redwood tree!
On your marks, get set, GO!!!!
This is what I'm talking about when I say meticulous attention to detail. Greg made these signs for everyone and placed them along the course. As we ran the marathon, we got to learn about our fellow runners! Good stuff.
There's Patti Randall Krebsbach doing the famous Dave Mari X-jump.
The Marathon Show running, trying to catch up with The Most Famous Runner In Utah, Miss Angie Whitworth Pace!
And sure enough, The Marathon Show's Joe Taricani caught The Most Famous Runner In Utah!
I love it. The 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota winner grabbed the Endorphin Cape ran across the finish line with it. Justin Gillette's finish time was 2:34. The Endorphin Cape BQ'ed!!! Does that mean I get a free entry into Boston?
Sure enough, the Endorphin Cape got passed around from one runner to the next. That cape ended up doing an ultra that day.
And there's Mr. Greg Goebel, smack dab in between Dave Mari and Endorphin Dude. This photo proves that we are two different people. Or are we? There is this little thing called Photoshop, you know...
Endorphin Dude with the legendary Larry Macon!
And there he is, Mr. Justin Gillette! Thank you for getting the Endorphin Cape to a BQ!
See that doctor up at the beginning of this race report? Well, that' Scott Dahl. This guy had a wardrobe change every two laps! He paid tribute to every runner on the course! Scott was so much fun.
And there's was a wedding right in the middle of the marathon! The couple finished in about 3 hours, so they had time to go back to their hotel and change. I think I was only on my mile 15. Oh yeah, Dave Mari stopped to play wedding photographer and he still beat me!
I love that everyone walked with Charles Sayles on his final lap.
Woo Hoo!! I love crossing the finish line!!
More proof that these are two different people. Or is it?

The Marathon Show's Joe Taricani summed up the 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota well:

"Official 11-11-11 Race report: course was flat, weather was good, Anette Blanton grabbed my rear-end, the first time that ever happened on-air, a bride and groom ran the race, then got married on the race course, Stephanie Arango arrived on crutches, ran, then left on crutches, Dennis McCarthy ran with an arm in a sling, I think he beat me, part of Endorphin Dude had a BQ, his cape crossed the finish line in 2:34, I ran 200 yards at a 2:34 pace, that's really not my pace, Steve Boone is really fast, Larry Macon is running a quad this weekend, Greg Goebel is awesome and plans to run in Cuba for his next race. I am on info overload! I need 30-40 good photos from the day...."

Titanium Score Board: 40 down, 12 to go! And in case you are wondering, I got a second medal for winning third place in my age division!!! (ok, everybody won a medal for their age division).



  1. Tony, what an awesome race report! Thank you for the very kind words. You know, it is the people that make the race - the runners and the volunteers. We had the best runners and the best volunteers. Thanks for making the LONG trip east to be such a special part of the event!

  2. Wow...what an inspiring story. Mine is a very similar, yet different version. Very inspiring what you've done and I am certainly on a path now for my health...unfortunately I didnt reach my turning point until after my heart attack at 41. Just turned 44 and still moving in the right direction so hope to never endure that again. Good luck to you...thank you for sharing. Happy New Year

  3. "I had no warnings, no symptoms and no heart attack – it just quit beating."

    How terrifying... and to think it happened to a marathon runner no less. Really makes you think there's nothing you could do to prevent something like that and you kind of just have to hope it doesn't happen to you... because if being in marathon shape isn't enough, what is?

    - Mark Coppens