Eight and counting for Wenatchee Marathon
By Steve Maher
WENATCHEE — Eight years in and no end in sight.
The Wenatchee Marathon and Half-Marathon just keeps on humming along.
The city’s marquee running event, which also includes a 10-kilometer run, will be held for the eighth time this Saturday. Last year, a record 1,500 athletes participated and organizers anticipate coming close to that figure this go around. It is considered the city’s largest race.
“Here we are, the years just keep going by,” said Lynda Finegold of Wenatchee, who shares race director duties with Ian and Wendy Crossland of Cashmere.
Finegold attributes the event’s staying power to listening to feedback from runners and walkers each year and building off that.
This year, for instance, organizers are beefing up aid stations with more volunteers and support for participants. Patroling the course on bike will be firefighters carrying medical packs in case anyone needs assistance.
About 70 percent of registrants come from outside the valley.
“Racers notice the little stuff. That’s what we’ve learned,” Finegold said. “It’s just making the racers happy, making a good environment. We have runners who keep coming back and who love the small-town feel of the race. They feel like they are special and not just a number out there.”
The marathon, half-marathon and 10K courses remain the same, with the start and finish all taking place at the Performing Arts Center Plaza. The half-marathon begins at 8 a.m., followed by the marathon and 10K at 8:15 a.m. With the exception of a few small sections — such as the start that takes athletes north on Fifth Street for several blocks — the courses use the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.
Volunteer coordinator Shelley Granger said she expects about 150 volunteers will be on hand come race day. For the first time, organizers are giving $500 to community groups that provide at least 10 volunteers at an aid station. An award will be given after the event to the “best aid station,” she said.
“It’s not a good race without amazing aid stations, and lots of people handing out water in cups and cheering on the runners,” Granger said.
The only other change has occurred on the organizational and marketing side. A new website, teddriven.com, was launched earlier this year to promote both the Wenatchee Marathon and Half-Marathon and the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon and Half-Marathon in October. The site is named in honor of Lynda Finegold’s late husband, Ted, who was a force behind the two events and other recreational races in Chelan County before his death from cancer in 2010.
“We wanted it to be named after Ted,” Finegold said. “He was an integral part of this. He’s still driving us to do these events even though he’s not here.”
Wenatchee Marathon details
When: 8 a.m. Saturday for half-marathon, 8:15 a.m. Saturday for marathon and 10K (note: early-bird marathon walkers can start at 6:30 a.m.)
Start and finish: Performing Arts Center Plaza, downtown Wenatchee
Packet pickup: 4:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at Arlberg Sports, 25 N. Wenatchee Ave.; 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Performing Arts Center Plaza
Parking: Several public lots exist along Columbia Street, located one block east of Wenatchee Avenue. Do not park on Wenatchee Avenue as the street will close at 8 a.m. for the race.
Spectators: The start/finish area at the Performing Arts Center Plaza is a good spot to watch. Since most of the races take place on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail, any spot along that paved path is ideal, too.
More info: www.teddriven.com