A record 1,209 people registered for this year’s July Fourth Bainbridge Youth Services Fun Run, the traditional start to the island’s biggest party of the year.
Runners and walkers from age 9 months to 82 years, and from as far away as Hong Kong, Thailand, Belgium, Germany and Scotland came out for the annual event this year, officials said, which was the biggest since BYS first hosted the Fun Run 39 years ago.
Entire families, 119 teams, and people young and old came out to run and walk the event — some pushing babies in strollers and others walking their dogs.
As emcees of the event, Island Fitness owners and Fun Run sponsor Michael and Alexa Rosenthal were kept busy thanking sponsors and announcing all the places people had come from, including a woman from Virginia who first ran the Fun Run in 1986 and came back this year to run with her son.
In all, people came from 47 cities in 21 states across the country.
Bainbridge Island Police Department Chief Matt Hamner and fire department Chief Hank Teran were “friendly rivals” in the 1-mile event, which had a record 301 registrants, compared with 224 last year.
For the 5K, 835 people signed up, compared with 800 last year.
And the popular Kids Dash attracted nearly 80 youngsters.
The Fun Run is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Bainbridge Youth Services, a nonprofit that provides free mental health counseling, free tutoring and job training scholarships for local youth age 12-21. All proceeds, which reportedly totaled $30,170 in registrations alone, go toward supporting those programs.
In addition to signing up for the race, 11 percent of participants gave an extra donation.
“BYS is proud to support this island tradition,” said Cezanne Allen, executive director of Bainbridge Youth Services. “We want more people to know that by participating in this event, they are also helping young people have hope for a better tomorrow through free and confidential mental health counseling, peer tutoring, summer work internships and much more.”
About 80 volunteers — and more than 30 local businesses and community agencies — helped put on the event, including a crew from Bainbridge Rotary Club, Umpqua Bank and Bainbridge High School teacher Jason Sovick and his computer science students. Kitsap Physical Therapy employees handed out fruit and water to participants.
Officials said that another big hit this year was a new “photo booth” created by BHS junior and Fun Run Photographer Ali Spence, who also serves as a youth board member of BYS.
For full results and photo gallery, see www.bifunrun.com.