All-Comers Track Meets first ones since 2019

The free Bainbridge Island All-Comers Track Meets are returning for the first time since 2019 due to COVID-19.

This has been a major community event for more than 20 years drawing more than 100 kids and their parents each Monday evening for six weeks in July and August.

Meet director Paul Benton, longtime high school and middle school track and cross country coach and a former Pacific Lutheran University professor, said the times and locations of the meets have changed. Volunteers from his high schools teams will be the timers.

The meets will take place at the track at Woodward Middle School July 11, 18 and 25 and Aug. 1, 8 and 15. Registration is at 5:30 p.m. with the first race starting at 6 p.m. They are earlier than in the past because there are no lights at that field.

The Bainbridge Kiwanis Club provides the funding for the event, along with volunteers like John Jay and Jim Copen providing logistical support.

The majority of runners are kids ages 3 to young teens. They run in age-group heats for the 50, 100 and 150-meter dashes, along with a 400-meter run and 50-meter hurdles over 12-inch yellow wickets.

Awards are presented to the top three runners in each age/gender group. At the end of the six-Monday season, awards will presented to those with the most points in each age group, along with medals for the top boy and girl overall point-getters.

Two races are not in age groups. At 6 p.m., everyone can run the “joggers mile.” The winner is not the fastest, but the one who is closest to the time they predict. At 8 p.m., the event concludes with a 4 by 100-meter relay. Any four people can race as a team for that one.

There will also be two kid-friendly field events this summer: the long jump into the sand pit from its edge and a shot put using soft exercise balls.

The is no stadium seating, but there is a grassy infield for families to picnic on. There are restrooms, too.