Islander Profile: Tim Wittman

Jackie and Tim Wittman before the race.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;

It’s been 229 years since the historic ride and this year almost 20,000 participants began their “run through history”. The 108 year old Boston Marathon was held on Patriots Day, Monday April 19, 2004. The 26.2 mile course is the same route as Paul Revere’s “Midnight Ride”.

The official Adidas poster for this year's race said, "Sweat, pain and exhaustion are all temporary. Finishing Boston is forever." The medal is truly a badge of glory. That sentiment was never more true than this year. Temperatures in mid 80’s had a brutal impact on runners and their times suffered drastically.

The staging tent scene was one of camaraderie. People from foreign countries communicating with one another with smiles and hand signals. Everyone drinking Gatorade and eating power bars, all waiting for the noon start. All focused on a common goal. They were going to run the prestigious Boston Marathon.

In the event of terrorism the military and the National guard kept watch from the tops of building with spotting scopes.

Tim on the run at Mile 16 - just before Heartbreak Hill.

Guemes Island’s own Tim Wittman took running seriously after his Ellensburg physician {a runner himself} gave him a “wake-up” call about his health. He encouraged him to get healthy by getting into better shape and quitting his pack a day cigarette habit. Tim sent his former doctor a “thank you” after he finished Boston. Tim has run two other marathons during his career. Honolulu, Hawaii, and Dublin, Ireland. Both of those were fundraisers for the Arthritis Foundation through “Joints in Motion”. His 3.337.16 time, set in Dublin, was the qualifying time necessary for the Boston Marathon.

Like many other runners, Boston was the race Tim always wanted to participate in. He finally achieved his dream this year and in spite of the heat ran it in 4.38. He had to cut back to a jog on the steep hills and got dizzy a couple of times on the course. Tim’s main focus, at that time, was getting from one water station to the next.

The entire course was lined with spectators standing shoulder to shoulder. Some tavern patrons along the course, offered beer to the runners {no takers}. The Boston Fire Department opened fire hydrants and if you raised your arms you received a refreshing spray of cool water. The screams of the girls from Wellesley College were ear shattering in their encouragement. The fans were especially effective during the last two miles when runners needed lots of encouragement in order to cross the finish line.

The finish line took on the appearance of a MASH unit. Temporary tents were set up and dehydrated runners lined up waiting for their turn at the IV’s. More than 1100 people were treated for dehydration, heat stroke, heart ailments and other medical problems. 108 were hospitalized.

An ad in the Boston Globe reads “just running the Boston Marathon makes you a winner”. Tim Wittman is our Guemes winner!

Tim's Prize.

Tim is a psychologist who works with students and staff at Burlington Edison High. He enjoys his job and feels as if he is part of a close family.

As a Guemes library board member, Tim was instrumental in starting our local Dog Island Run seven years ago. It is the Guemes Library’s most significant fundraiser.

His love of music is apparent if you’ve heard his band, DINGUS. Three of the group members have played together since high school. The band played at their 30 year class reunion at Anacortes High. {awesome}

If he isn’t training for an upcoming marathon or playing with the band you can see him driving the mini coupe that he and Jackie bought in Kansas. That first drive was a long one.

Tim's Mini at the store.

See how many minis will fit on the Guemes ferry on Saturday May 8th. Steve Cox {Guemes ferry manager} threw down the gauntlet, challenging Tim to get 30 minis aboard. Be there and count for yourself.

Dr. Tim’s professional advice for young people is “don’t take the future so seriously that you neglect to have fun with your life.” He certainly practices what he preaches.


Dr. Tim's recommended reading: 26 Miles to Boston, {soon to be available at the Guemes Island Library}

by MJ Andrak

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