It’s no secret that Whatcom County is chock full of fans of the great outdoors – and why wouldn’t it be, when the environs are so magnificent? Many locals love nothing more than lacing up their running shoes and hitting the trails (or pavement or track) to get in a good workout while also taking in all the beauty.
Those who enjoy 5K races or walks are always in luck, with events happening every month of the year.
Tammy Bennett, an avid runner, has lived and worked in Bellingham for the past 30 years. “I love this place!” she says, and encourages locals to participate in 5K runs and walks. “It’s an achievable distance, so people who don’t currently participate may consider giving a 5K a whirl.”
Her official title at the Whatcom Family YMCA is Healthy Living Director, but she proudly claims the alias Department of Fun Director.
“Every day I get to work with a great team, helping people in their quest for better health,” Bennett says.
Bennett shared with us a few of her favorite 5K events – and also tipped WhatcomTalk off to a likely addition to the Bellingham 5K calendar this year: The Color Run. Those interested in this very popular event can sign up for VIP updates at The Color Run’s Bellingham web page.
If you’re looking to up your fitness goals – or simply take part in more community 5Ks, here’s a list to keep you busy for the first half of 2015.
The annual Resolution Run/Walk on New Year’s Day circles Lake Padden at 2.6 miles (rather than the full 3.1 miles of a 5K). The Lake Padden Polar Dip follows this free annual event, so runners can cool off (and how!) after running counter-clockwise around the lake. The run starts at 11:00 a.m., followed by the dip at 12:00 p.m. No registration is necessary.
The race takes place on Saturday, February 14 at 10:00 a.m. and starts near the fish hatchery. Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. at the large shelter near the start and is free for GBRC members and $5 for non-members.
Expect some extra special celebrations this year as the Birch Bay Road Race celebrates its 10th year. Participants can choose to run a 5K, 15K or 30K, each course taking them along the spectacular shores of Birch Bay and through tree-lined country roads.
The race takes place on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 a.m. Registration fees change depending on how soon you register, but range from $30-$40 for the 5K. More information here.
Another 5K walk/run to consider in March is the Runnin O’ the Green through downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven on Saturday, March 15 at 10:00 a.m. Fees range from $15 (for earliest registration) to $35 on the day of the race.
Bennett touts the Fun With The Fuzz 5K as another favorite.
“Here’s one you can actually race, if that’s your thing,” she says. “It’s super well-organized and is welcoming to alpha dogs, beginners, and everyone in between.”
This road race supports the Behind the Badge Foundation and takes place on Saturday, April 18 at 9:00 a.m.
“It starts and finishes at the Bellingham Police Department, so skip it if you’re sitting on 100 unpaid parking tickets,” Bennett jokes.
Tons of families arrive at Bloedel Donovan Park decked out in Superhero gear and run or walk – or both – through the Whatcom Falls Park course.
The annual Haggen to Haggen 5K Fun Run and Walk takes place on Saturday, May 2, kicking off at the Sehome Village Haggen store. This certified event starts at 8:00 a.m. and finishes at the Meridian store, winding through downtown Bellingham. Sponsors shares samples at the finish line of great products Haggen offers, and shuttles are then provided to take racers back to the Sehome Haggen.
Race packets may be picked up on Friday, May 1 at the Sehome Haggen between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Day-of-race registration begins at 7:00 a.m.
Bennett admits that this 5K recommendation comes with a bias, as it’s a YMCA program. “I think everyone should come to a Girls on the Run 5K at least once and feel the power of 250 third- to fifth-grade girls doing their first 5K with their coaches, families, teachers, pets and friends,” she says.
The Girls on the Run Spring 5K happens at Lake Padden on Saturday, June 13, with another 5K in December; check their site for the December date as the time gets closer, as well as for information about its ongoing running curriculum at area schools.
Everyone is welcome, and every participant gets to wear the number one. All proceeds sustain the Girls on the Run program.
“I know, I know, sheer, unadulterated bias,” Bennett says with a laugh. “Alpha dogs would need to go on a run before or after, as this is not a personal record 5K.”
There you have it, a list of popular 5K races and walks you might consider participating in during the first half of the year. WhatcomTalk will bring you a list for the second half of 2015 as the time gets closer.