From marathon stars to starters, staff share what it took to conquer the 26.2
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It’s almost 1,363 miles from Sacramento to Oklahoma City, and that’s the distance that faculty and staff from SCDS have run in 32 regular and 20 ultra marathons.
Bill Stainbrook, lower-school physical education teacher, accounts for 71 percent.
Of the 17 full marathons that Stainbrook competed in, his best time was 2 hours, 31 minutes, 41 seconds in the mid ‘80s in the Old Sacramento Marathon.
To put this into perspective, the average marathon time for U.S. males in 2014 was 4:19:27.
But Stainbrook’s running career began long before his first completed marathon in 1978.
“I’ve enjoyed running since I was very young,” Stainbrook said. “In high school I was recruited to run cross-country and track.”
In fact, Stainbrook didn’t actually intend to start running marathons, but stumbled upon the idea unintentionally.
“I started marathoning accidentally when a friend and I began joking about it,” Stainbrook said. “Jokes became reality, and my involvement continued for many years.”
Stainbrook’s first marathon in 1978 was the Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. However, Stainbrook was injured during that event and wasn’t able to complete it.
His first completed marathon was the Paul Masson Marathon in Saratoga, in which his time was 3:02.
His training for marathons was extensive, according to Stainbrook.
“It included long miles, 100-mile-plus weeks, hill work, intervals and track work,” he said.
Stainbrook was an original member of the Sacramento Buffalo Chips running club but said the club didn’t guide his training.
But Stainbrook said his extensive training paid off.
In fact, when Stainbrook was lined up at the Boston Marathon in 1980, he discovered that he was seeded in the top 100 runners of 5,417.
“That was a surprise I didn’t expect,” he said.
Stainbrook’s time was 2:52:11. And the fastest time that year was 2:12:11.
But Stainbrook said he won’t be competing in any marathons in the future.
“I’m not in any reasonable condition to compete in marathons presently, and I won’t run them unless properly trained,” he said.
Stainbrook no longer even runs for exercise.
“I am not currently running, much to my dismay,” he said.
But Stainbrook isn’t the only faculty member who has competed in full marathons.
Calculus and physics teacher Glenn Mangold has finished four: three in Sacramento (2013, 2014 and 2016) and one in Boston (2016).
Mangold’s best time is 2:59:42, which he ran in December at the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento.
Mangold said he wasn’t surprised by the time.
“That (time) was my goal,” he said.
Although Mangold has been running since he was 15 and was on his high-school track team, he didn’t start running full marathons until 2013 because of their cost.
Mangold said the most memorable marathon he competed in was the 2016 Boston Marathon, which he finished in 3:41.
“It was the biggest marathon (30,741 runners) that I ran in,” he said. “I used to live there, so I knew all the towns.”
Mangold said his next race will be the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 7.
Like Mangold, middle-school history teacher Chris Kuipers has run the CIM.
In 2011, Kuipers ran it in 4:03.
Like Mangold and Stainbrook, Kuipers had been running since high school.
“I always had the idea of doing a marathon on my bucket list,” he said. “Life, however, always seemed too busy, especially for all the training. But in 2011, I saw an ad for the CIM and spontaneously decided to sign up.”
Kuipers said he wants to do another marathon in the future.
“My original goal was to break four hours, but I fell three minutes short and that really bugs me,” Kuipers said. “It’s been impossible with a small child at home.
“But now that my daughter is a little older, I am contemplating getting back into it.”
Like Kuipers, Michael Covey, garden coordinator and former chemistry teacher, was disappointed in his time (4:01) in his only marathon, the Chevron Houston Marathon in 1998.
“My training runs suggested that I would do much better, but hot and humid weather can strike any time in Houston, even in January, and it was ugly weather on the day of the marathon,” Covey said.
Covey decided to run the marathon because at the time he had been running regularly.
“Several of my running buddies were into marathons,” Covey said. “They enjoyed them, so I thought I’d try one.”
Covey trained by increasing his longer runs each week for a few months until they were up to 18 miles.
“I also entered a series of pre-marathon races of increasing distances,” Covey said.
But Covey said he won’t be running marathons any longer due to injuries.
“Running another marathon is not in the cards,” he said. “Road biking and mountain biking have taken its place in my exercise regime.”
Unlike Covey, Kuipers, Mangold and Stainbrook, math teacher Patricia Jacobsen had no running experience when she first started training for marathons.
One day, Marco Siragusa, ‘10, a junior at that time, came into Jacobsen’s class and was very upset, she said.
“He said that he got lost on his way to cross-country sectionals,” she said. “He was going to use that to get him into a good college. But he got there late and missed the race and couldn’t compete.”
So Jacobsen started brainstorming ideas in order to help him.
At this time, seniors were required to do projects in the spring. The prompt for the project was that the seniors were required to take on a challenge and learn how to face this challenge.
Jacobsen told Siragusa that he could start training for a half marathon and use it as a senior project and, possibly, as a theme for a college essay.
Although Siragusa liked the idea, his cross-country coach told him that running cross-country was completely different from marathons, according to Jacobsen.
So he decided not to run the half marathon.
However, Jacobsen had already mentioned the half marathon idea to her advisees – Molly Tash, ‘10, Angelica Gonzales, ‘10, and Marina Serrano, ‘11 – and they all wanted to run it with Jacobsen.
After they started training, they decided to run a full marathon instead of a half.
Jacobsen, Tash and Serrano ran their first marathon, the Big Sur International Marathon, in April 2009.
The area was hilly and challenging but beautiful, according to Jacobsen.
Jacobsen said she took over five hours to complete the marathon.
“Some people said it wasn’t a good idea for me to run the marathon,” she said. “All the girls were athletes. But my goal was just to finish it.”
Since then, she’s run seven others.
Jacobsen said the hardest part for her is at mile 18.
“When I hit mile 18, I know that I’m almost done,” she said. “I have only an hour and a half left. So I get really excited.
“And then three miles later, I realize I have another hour to go. So that range in there is really hard.”
In addition, Jacobsen has asthma, which once was a major setback in her marathon running.
“Sometimes I would have to stop running and get my inhaler and take breaths,” Jacobsen said. “It’s really scary. (PE department coordinator Michelle) Myers said that I needed to run at a pace that was comfortable. And now I hardly run with an inhaler anymore.”
Jacobsen said the best part about marathons and training for them is that she has time to herself.
“It helps me disconnect from my phone and my responsibilities as a teacher and mom,” Jacobsen said. “I don’t have to think about anything besides my run.”
Kindergarten teacher Sarah Song ran the San Francisco Marathon in 2011 with Jacobsen in 4:38.
“I like setting goals, and I have many friends who are runners,” Song said. “Jacobsen and I trained together.”
Song said she doesn’t have a marathon planned in the near future because of a bad roller skating accident that still hinders her running.
However, Jacobsen will be running the Shamrock’n Half Marathon with her marathon-running elective on Sunday, March 12, in Sacramento.
And in a coming-full-circle sense, on Sunday, May 7, she’ll compete almost 40 years later in what was Stainbrook’s very first marathon: the Avenue of the Giants.
—By Annya Dahmani