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Northwest Passages

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With Karen Wickre and Tess Vigeland


After Marathon Wait, Runners Find Home

By From Staff And Wire Reports

Everyone has his own reason for participating in the renewal of the Spokane Marathon on Oct. 19.

“A lot of them are doing it because Spokane is having a race again,” said race coordinator Dean Sprague. “One of the first things I will tell the marathoners is ‘welcome home.’ I hope it’s the kind of course they’ve been waiting for.”

Others, like Bob Dolphin, are running because it’s there. The 67-year-old from Western Washington will be in his 192nd marathon.

Tyler Byers, 14, eighth in Bloomsday, is one of two wheelchair entrants. He only wants a 2-minute head start in the half marathon.

The event’s revival has lured 250 marathoners, nearly 500 half-marathoners and another 200 10-kilometer runners.

“Actually, most of the bases are covered,” said Sprague, who won’t run but will be one of eight officials monitoring the start and finish line. “I’ll be a praying man hoping everyone shows up.”

Police volunteers will provide lead and trailing motorcycles to monitor the runners. Plenty of color-coded signs will direct runners in the different races where to part company or blend together with the crowd.

The 900 runners, said Sprague, make this maiden voyage of a three-pronged event manageable.

“This year I’m comfortable with the numbers. It pays the bills,” he said. “It will be a competitive race that will, if there is a weak spot, allow us to get the bugs out of the way.”

Seniors can benefit

Older men and women who exercise improve their ability to create natural drugs that fight heart attacks, a study finds.

And the levels of these body chemicals are higher when they are most needed - in the morning, when the risk of a heart attack is highest.

The research looked at tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), an enzyme that dissolves clots. A clot that narrows or blocks a coronary artery can cut off blood flow to the heart muscle, leading to a heart attack.

Researchers in Seattle also measured levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor, PAI-1, which dissolves TPA, acting as a balance against too much of the anti-clotting enzyme.

The findings fit the idea that exercise increases TPA levels and may in part account for endurance exercise’s well-established protection against heart disease.

Older people who want to boost their exercise as a way to boost their body chemicals should first be sure they are up to the strain. Leaping into intense exercise can trigger previously hidden health conditions - possibly leading to a heart attack.

However, other studies have shown that moderate exercise reduces the risk of death from many causes, including heart disease.

, DataTimes

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