2005 Lewis & Clark Marathon & Half Marathon

St. Charles, MO

NBMA Newsletter #3 - 2005

The NBMA 2005 Event - 4th Annual Lewis & Clark Marathon and Half Marathon

By Charlotte Simmons

On Sunday, September 18th, 2005 in Historic St. Charles, Missouri, the National Black Marathoners. Association (NBMA) vision was realized at the 4th Annual Lewis & Clark Marathon and Half Marathon.

How graceful and beautiful it was. An excited group of physically fit and well trained Black American half and full, first time and veteran marathoners neatly uniformed in red singlets and black shorts representing NBMA came out to race. What an amazing historical event! These runners and their supporters represented the states of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia, Texas, and California. (See the 2005 Events page for photos.)

The weekend started with a get together at Harrah.s Casino on Friday night. Saturday evening was the “Meet and Greet.” We were finally able to put a face with an email address. We received special commemorative NBMA race numbers. The athletes’ conversations included:

  • The unveiling of Tony’s well-crafted, running tee-shirt quilt. It reflected his completion of 68 marathons in 15 states on 3 continents, and a bicycle century;
  • Where everyone traveled from;
  • The number of marathons and other races run;
  • Qualifying for Boston;
  • Joining the South Fulton Running Partners for the 2006 Jesse Owens 25th anniversary 10K Road Race in Moulton, AL;
  • Iilonga’s fender bender while taking his cousin to the grocery store;
  • What race should the NBMA select for 2006;
  • Running the new Las Vegas Marathon;
  • And more.

The “Meet and Greet” was followed by a pasta dinner. Angela (Chicago) noticed a full moon outside. I responded that a full moon meant that we would have wonderful weather for the marathon. Iilonga asked if a full moon meant good weather. I said I made that up because I thought it would sound good.

Sunday morning, we had perfect running weather. The NBMA participants showed up bright eyed and adrenaline filled at 6:30am to take the Inaugural NBMA photo. Iilonga, all the way from California on a red eye flight via Atlanta to St. Louis, missed the inaugural photo op because he overslept. He had been awake for more than 48 hours. However, he did make it to the race start line on time.

Despite the double-loop course, I really enjoyed this marathon. The race followed a narrow loop course that traveled alongside the Missouri River, both north and south of Historic St. Charles. The course was very flat, with the exception of one 300+ meter long uphill. Hitting this climb during the first loop after mile mark 12 was a little work. The even longer downhill felt good the first time around.

Climbing this hill during the 2nd loop, after running 25 miles, hurt. This time around, the downhill was virtually transparent. I had nothing left. I missed beating my Chicago PR (4:29:24) by less than a minute. I was proud to cross the 4th Annual Lewis and Clark Marathon finish line at 4:30:17. I had fun. I really enjoy running marathons.

I enjoy the camaraderie, the challenge of the course, and watching the miles melt away. And at this marathon, the first time ever, NBMA supporters held signs which read .Go Charlotte!. Yes, they were talking about me. It made my day! Thanks Tony, Sybah, Henry and all the other supporters.

Iilonga had about 28 minutes of recovery when I crossed the finish line. He crossed the finish line at 4:01:59 and was very proud of it. I wonder if the extra sleep helped. Being a true Partner, he tried to be there to cheer for me when I crossed the finish line. He thought I was lost but I was having a massage. I had told him I would finish in about 5:00 hours.

This was supposed to be a training run for the Marine Corps Marathon, which I will be participating in on October 30th, 2005. The flat course and great weather made it impossible for me to treat this as a training run. I left everything on the course. All NBMA participants made it safely to the finish line. We were especially proud of Stanley from St. Louis. It was his first marathon!!! He’s profiled in this eNewsletter.

Sunday night, we went to see Sinbad at Harrah’s Casino. It was a great way to wrap up our day. Iilonga suggested that all future NBMA gatherings be centered on where Sinbad is performing. Before heading to the airport on Monday morning I enjoyed breakfast with Sybah and Miss Francis from the Advondale Running Club of Cincinnati. It was a wonderful weekend with a wonderful group of people.

Thanks to everyone for making the Inaugural National Black Marathoners’ Association event a success!