For the 48th consecutive year, runners from around the country came to the southern reaches of Bellingham to compete in the Chuckanut Foot Race on Saturday, July 13.
Runners began the 7-mile race at Marine Park in South Bellingham and traveled on the Interurban Trail until the finish line at Larrabee State Park.
“This is a race open to all ages and all levels of running ability,” Race Director Kelley Krieger said. “This should be and always has been a very inclusive race.”
The top three finishers this year were Dillon Quintana, 20, from Deming, Washington (0:38:16), Tyler Van Dooren, 24, from Seattle, Washington, (0:39:24) and Roberto Junior Aguilera, 17, from Ferndale, Washington (0:40:26).
“We had a lot of new faces in the top three this year which was kind of cool,” Krieger said.
Leighton Overson, 35, is from Sedro-Woolley and placed 16th this year. He was one of the runners who decided to run back to the start of the course in order to receive a Green Award, an award given to participants who choose not to use the busses provided.
“I try to [get the Green Award] every year,” Overson said. “It’s to do a little bit extra and in turn I’m helping out the situation and the environment.”
Environmental awareness has always been a part of the race, Krieger said.
“A lot of races, running races in particular, generate a lot of garbage,” Krieger said. “We use all compostable cups for our water. We don’t allow any food vendors to come out that have any plastic wrappings on their food. It is as green as we can possibly make it.”
Along with keeping the environment healthy, some of the runners also compete to keep themselves healthy. David Erickson, 69, was diagnosed with diabetes 3 ½ years ago and was convinced to start running by his three daughters in order to bring down his glucose levels.
“I thought, well, I’ve been at the finish line for them quite a few times and I need to get my sugar and glucose numbers down so I started running,” Erickson said. “This is my 82nd race in the last three years.”
Started in 1967 by John and Nancy Arnold, the Chuckanut Foot Race is the oldest of its kind in the state and is organized as a cross-country trail race for all ages. The inaugural race had 70 competitors, and this year’s event had almost 600, Krieger said.
The foot race is funded by the Greater Bellingham Running Club and its members. For more information about the club and to learn about upcoming events, visit their website at www.gbrc.net.