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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Bellingham runners race to support BMX track

For the final race Gervais decided to add what he called the “spiral of death” to the beginning of the track to add more excitement to the final race. // Photo by Jessica Coogan.
For the final race Gervais decided to add what he called the “spiral of death” to the beginning of the track to add more excitement to the final race. // Photo by Jessica Coogan.

Runners and BMX enthusiasts gathered at the Bellingham BMX track on Saturday, March 26 to help fundraise for the upcoming racing season. The race was the final of five 5K races held at the track this year.

Bellingham Triathlon Club member Glenn Gervais started the 5K Winter Trail Run Series last year when he and his friends were building a Cyclocross track at Bellingham BMX. Cyclocross is a race about longevity, Gervais said;  it has more participants than BMX, which is focused on jumps and has fewer racers.

Gervais had gone to the track for cycle racing for the about three years and knew that they could not host BMX or Cyclocross races in the winter due to difficult weather conditions, he said.

“We decided to put some runs out there to keep people interested in BMX and help fundraise for the BMX park,” Gervais said.

He said that most of the people who attend the 5K’s are not avid BMX riders and have never heard of the park before.

Gervais said he thinks the track draws runners because of the variety in the terrain.

“We have some grass, we have some sand, and we are really known for really thick mud.” he said.

One of the participants from the run on Saturday,Todd Mckernan, said he heard about the race through the Greater Bellingham Running Club, which offered a discount to participate.

Mckernan considers this to be a more difficult course because of its variation of obstacles. He said that runners tend to have about a four-to-five minute slower time than their “PR” or personal record because of these difficult conditions.

Gervais said the event doesn’t raise a huge amount of money but it is enough to keep the track in good condition for the spring BMX season.

This is the second year of the Run Series and the number of people in attendance has substantially gone up.

Last year, one race had as little as nine people. This year each race maintained an average of about 35 people and had a maximum of 42 runners. The most recent event had 24 participants.

Dan Kenoyer ran in the entire race this year and said it was more demanding than a regular 5K.  “It uses a whole different set of skills and muscles than regular road running.”

Mckernan said that the amount of mud on the tack makes the race much more difficult to get through when compared to a more traditional 5K.

“Finishing the entire course, isn’t what it is all about,” Gervais said. “It’s very grassroots, very low-key and just kind of meant to be fun and easy going,” he said or better known as “the Bellingham way of life.”

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