Registration for the Olympic Peninsula’s premier annual running event, Port Townsend’s 7.4-mile Rhody Run, has topped 1,750 and the event is still two weeks away.
Port Townsend Marathon Association’s Rhody Run XXXIII, May 22, is the oldest road race on the Olympic Peninsula, attracting more than 2,000 participants to Fort Worden State Park for its 11 a.m. launch.
This year, the association is adding a special Kids Sprint for Health prior to the main event.
Online registration continues through May 20 at www.rhodyrun.com and the website provides additional information about the upcoming race. After May 20, registration remains open on the day of the race until 10:30 a.m.
“The Run That Cares for the Runner” still does, according to race director Jeni Little. Post-event musical entertainment, a new awards ceremony format, traditional refreshments — including Mac and Jack ale for those age-qualified, plus restorative soft drinks, fresh fruit and lots of water — produce a “family picnic” atmosphere for participants, she said.
A special pre-race warm-up for youngsters ages 9 and under begins at 9 a.m. on the Fort Worden parade ground. Three age-level heats are planned, with the new event hosted by Rhody Run prime sponsor Jefferson HealthCare. The public hospital district also assists with providing qualified medical personnel at aid stations and at the start-finish compound during the Rhody Run. The Kids Sprint For Health is open to all and is free. Participants earn a distinctive shirt and ribbon, Little said.
While Rhody Run is in its 33rd year, the course record has remained elusive for more recent participants.
Mike Layman of Tacoma posted the standard 25 years ago, in 1986, touring the 12 kilometers in 36 minutes, 8 seconds. Kim Jones of Spokane, a Port Townsend High School grad, holds the women’s record of 41 minutes, 10 seconds. She set that mark 20 years ago, in 1991.
However, the oldest age-group record has remained untouched since 1982, when Rhody Run was a mere infant of four. Marianne Powers, a Port Townsend High School track standout at the time, set a mark of 47:18 in the 16-18 age grouping.
The elite runners have challenged those marks since. None has matched them; none has topped them.
Medals are awarded to the top three finishers in each age and gender division. Cash awards go to the top three overall men and women finishers. And each run participant earns the unique custom finishers’ shirt.