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Arnold will have new view of the race

Former director to

run half-marathon

By Paul Christian

pchristian@postbulletin.com

One of Wally Arnold’s goals is to run the Med-City Marathon, if not the entire 26.2 miles, then at least a portion of it via relay or the half-marathon.

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But as race director for the past 12 years, that was impossible.

"No way,’’ he said.

But now that he has stepped aside from his duties as race director (along with his wife Peg), Arnold does not have any more excuses and thus,will find himself lined up at the starting line on Sunday.

Sure beats scurrying around makinglast-minute preparations.

"Believe me, this is a lot easier,’’ he said. "Mentally, it’s tough getting this race-director’s thing from my mind. I find myself thinking about things that I should be doing.’’

Arnold will run the half-marathon on Sunday.

"Originally, I was hoping to do a 1:30, but my training hasn’t been going that well,’’ he said. "One thing after another. Now I’ll be happy with a 1:45. But a lot depends on the weather.’’

Oh, yes, the weather.

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"As a race director you find yourself thinking about the weather days in advance of the race,’’ he said. "Funny, even as a participant you look at the forecast days in advance. But, obviously, that’s one thing I can’t control.’’

The Arnolds founded the race 13 years and nursed it along through many course changes and all types of weather conditions. The YMCA has taken over, with Teresa Byland as the new race director.

"She’s doing a very good job,’’ said Arnold. "I’m trying to stay out of the way as much as possible. Basically, I’m here to answer any last-minute questions. She knows I’m here. I’m not trying to influence those in charge now because, really, who’s to say I did it the right way?

"Hopefully, they’ll come up with some new ideas and I have no doubt that eventually they will.’’

Sunday will be a totally new experience.

In previous years, the Arnolds did an over-nighter at the finish line in their motor home. Since they moved to Byron, this year, he can pop out of bed and walk a block to the starting line.

"As a race director, you’re nervous, of course, on marathon morning,’’ he said, "but if you prepared well enough, things work out.

"Sure I’ll be nervous this Sunday, too. I’ll have so many mixed emotions. I will have to remind myself to go out slow and not kill myself right away.

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"But this (running the race) is something I’ve wanted to do the last 12 years. I’m really looking forward to it.’’

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