Kitsap has a crowded field of running events

Kitsap Race Information

Date Event Location Website

Saturday Whale of a Run Silverdale

Aug. 8 Half-Marathon Port Gamble

Aug. 28 Kitsap County Fair Run Silverdale None

Aug. 14 Miracle Run Port Orchard None

Sept. 4 Blackberry Festival Bremerton

Sept. 5 Roots Rock Port Gamble

Sept. 25 Freedom 5K Bainbridge

Running often is viewed as an individual activity, but several local race organizers agree that the family component is the most significant element of their events.

Both the HotFoot Run (Fathoms o’Fun) in Port Orchard and Viking Fest Road Race in Poulsbo were organized around large-scale community events.

That is the scenario for Saturday’s 30th Whale of a Run in Silverdale. The four-mile race begins at 8:45 a.m. — there also is a one-mile run/walk and a kids' dash — that precede Whaling Days.

Olympic High School track and field and cross-country coach Greg Chapman, who organizes the event, expects more than 1,200 people to participate this year. He said that has grown from 186 participants in the inaugural run of 1981.

“Our four-mile race is very competitive,” said Chapman, noting that only one runner has run the event in less than 19 minutes. “We’ve only had five people who have broken the 20-minute barrier.”

Registration rates before race day are $17 for the four-mile, $12 for the one-mile, and $3 for the kids’ dash, with proceeds benefiting Hospice of Kitsap County.

Chapman said incorporating runs with festivals makes sense because they “draw with one another,” and feels that the crowds at the finish line enhance the event. The parade follows the run at 10 a.m.

“There’s quite a crowd around the finish line,” Chapman said. “It’s a pretty unique setting.”

He said the three different races, which is standard among local runs, make the event more family friendly.

“The one-mile family run is for anyone and everyone,” Chapman said. “The four-mile ... you need to have some daylight underneath the shoelaces.”

Chris Hammett, who owns Poulsbo Running, runs two events in Port Gamble for well-conditioned athletes. The Port Gamble half-marathon runs Aug. 8, while the 25- and 50-kilometer Roots Rock is held Sept. 5.

“We have a series of races that progressively get longer throughout the year,” said Hammett, who has events set up nearly every month from February to October.

Hammett, who said he generally draws between 85 to 120 runners, said he tries to keep his races affordable. They are $15 per entry, with the exception of the half-marathon and 50-kilometer, which are $20.

A couple of other runs that fit into that price range are the Aug. 28 Kitsap County Fair Run, which features one-mile and 5K runs in addition to kids' dashes, and the 5K at the Bremerton Blackberry Festival on Sept. 4.

Chapman said most local races do not offer prize money and that they make souvenir race T-shirts optional to keep costs lower.

Several races also are nonprofits with proceeds benefiting charities. In addition to Whale of a Run, the Aug. 14 5K run at South Kitsap Community Park in Port Orchard will benefit Children’s Miracle Network and Seattle Children’s.

The new event was organized by Central Kitsap High School senior-to-be Erica Runyan, 17, who is a contestant for Miss West Sound. She aspires to be a neonatal nurse.

Runyan said her idea originated from watching her brother, Adam, a 2008 Central graduate, run cross country in addition to the successful nationwide Susan G. Komen races, which are dedicated to breast-cancer research.

“I had the idea because I’m really passionate about children and nursing,” said Runyan, adding that she solicited the help of Chapman and HotFoot Run organizer R. Scott Lucke. “I really thought it would be cool to have a runathon.”

Another event focused on a cause is the Freedom 5K at 10 a.m. Sept. 25 at Waterfront Park on Bainbridge Island. The third-annual event was developed by Rosie Ludlow and Jana Otte. Ludlow said both have traveled globally and became aware of human trafficking.

“We both sort of ended up home on Bainbridge and realized that no one was aware of the fact that it was happening in Washington state,” she said.

Ludlow said this year’s run is focuses on child trafficking, which she said occurs with foreigners being trafficked in — generally to work in agriculture — and those involved in sex rings.

She said the race, which had about 100 runners the last two years, has a $25 entry fee with proceeds going to “local nonprofits working on prevention aspects or aftercare.” Those charities include the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network in Seattle and The Coffee Oasis in Bremerton.

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