North Olympic Discovery Marathon highlights big running weekend

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Runners and walkers galore are in the Clallam County area this weekend for the 11th annual North Olympic Discovery Marathon, the biggest draw for runners on the North Olympic Peninsula each year.

All the races except for the kids marathon is on Sunday.

The marathon starts at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim at 9 a.m. and ends 26-plus miles later at the Port Angeles City Pier.

Organizers put a cap for participation in all the races this weekend to about 2,000 to keep the event fun and manageable for families.

That level has stayed steady the past few years after the event grew a lot during its early history.

Lots of events

There is something for everyone this weekend, including the 26.2-mile marathon, the 13.1-mile half-marathon, the 13th annual Olympic Medical Center 10-kilometer and 5K runs and walks, corporate and high school relay races in the marathon, a kids marathon, and even a speaker series, pre-race yoga, Sons of Italy pasta dinner and even live music during race day.

Online registration is open until 10 a.m. today at

Everything gets rolling Saturday afternoon at the race headquarters, Red Lion Hotel by the City Pier in Port Angeles.

Packet pick-up for all registered athletes is noon to 6 p.m. at Red Lion, and at the same time and place is the Race Expo, which is open to the public.

Take in the line of apparel and running memorabilia, or visiting runners and their families can talk with area residents about what to do on the Peninsula during the Race Expo.

There also is a speakers' series at the same time where runners can listen to informative talks about the course and how to prevent injury.

Pre-race yoga for participants is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Clallam County Family YMCA, 302 S. Francis St. in Port Angeles.

The Sons of Italy pasta dinner, open to runners and the public — tickets available at the door — is set for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Eagles Lodge, 2843 E. Myrtle St. in Port Angeles.

Also on Saturday is the popular kids marathon.

No, they don't make the children run 26 miles on race day.

Instead, the youngsters will run the final 1.2 miles of their race on Saturday after tracking 25 miles for six to 10 weeks leading up to marathon weekend.

The kids line up for their race at 4 p.m. at City Pier. Registration for the event opens at 3 p.m.

Sunday is when most of the action takes place.

Shuttles to the starting lines in the Sequim area start leaving the Gateway Transit area in downtown Port Angeles at 6 a.m.

The walkers' bus leaves at 6 a.m. while the first shuttle for full- and half-marathon runners leaves at 6:30 a.m., and the final shuttle leaves at 7:45 a.m..

The marathon walk begins at 7 a.m. at Carrie Blake Park while the marathon and relay teams start at 9 a.m. at the same site.

The half-martathon start is 9 a.m. at the Agnew Soccer Fields between Port Angeles and Sequim, while the OMC 10K and 5K runs and walks begin 9 a.m. at City Pier in Port Angeles.

At City Pier, the first 5K finisher is expected about 9:15 a.m., the first half-marathoner at 10:10 a.m. and the first marathoner at 12:15 p.m.

If the marathon course record is to be broken, expect a runner at the finish line about 11:35 a.m.

There will be live music from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at City Pier Pavilion with the OMC 10K/5K awards at 11:30 a.m., the half-marathon awards at 12:45 p.m. and the marathon awards at 2:15 p.m.

The North Olympic Discovery Marathon is one of the most popular small marathons in the country because of the area scenery, the time of year of the race, the weather and the friendliness of area residents.

The event started in 2003 with 248 marathon finishers, which ballooned to 365 the next year and then to 432 in 2005.

That was the peak, though, for the 26.2-mile race.

Marathon runners finishing the race fell to 391 in 2006, broke the 400-barrier again with 405 in 2007 but then fell back to 367 in 2008.

Thanks to the poor economy, the event hasn't broken the 400-barrier since but did get close with 396 in 2010.

Port Townsend's Ian Fraser opened the new course and event in 2003 by winning the marathon with a quick time of 2 hours, 35 minutes and 56 seconds.

Fraser was 29 when he won the event.

That course record held until 2006 when Renton's Preston Brashers broke it with a time of 2:35:47, bettering Fraser by only nine seconds.

Brashers' record time has not been broken since.

The women's marathon history has been more interesting.

Gig Harbor's Jennifer Hansen, 25 at the time, won the first 2003 race in 3:15:49 and held the record for two years before 34-year-old Lori Buratto broke it with a time of 3:12:09 in 2005 to become a two-time defending champion after winning it in 2004.

Buratto, then 36, broke it again in 2009 with 3:10:49 to become the only three-time winner in the history of the race.

The women's record has been broken twice since then with Margreet Dietz, then 38, of Squamish, British Columbia, shading Buratto's time with 3:10:39 in 2009.

Tanaya Gallagher, then 25, rewrote the record books with a time of 3:05:17 in 2011.

No hometown was listed for Gallagher in that race, but Gallagher, now 27 and living in Sedona, Ariz., won the Whiskey Row Marathon in Prescott, Ariz., in 3:19:38 in early May.

Boston Marathon victims and survivors will be honored at Sunday's event.

New for North Olympic Discovery Marathon this year is a Team Run for Joe event.

Betsy Reed Schultz of Port Angeles, a mother who lost her heroic son, Joseph, to a bomb blast in Afghanistan, has built the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles as a respite and retreat for other families who have lost sons and daughters in wars since 9/11.

In 2012, Captain Joseph Schultz's family members, fellow soldiers, friends and others who were inspired by Joe's life came together to run for and support the first Team Run for Joe at the Big Sur Marathon.

Team Run for Joe provides an opportunity for those who knew or were inspired by Joe to celebrate his life and to raise money for the Captain Joseph House Foundation, based in Port Angeles.

Soldiers and runners are participating in Team Run for Joe in races around the country.

This year, Team Run For Joe is set for the North Olympic Discovery Marathon, and will be raising money to help support the foundation.

The NODM will be the home base for Team Run for Joe starting this year.

To register for Team Run for Joe, or just to sign-up for any of the races, go to

Last modified: May 30. 2013 7:12PM
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