Capital City Marathon puts the focus on finishers

Staff writerMay 12, 2013 

There’s nothing cheap about running a full or half marathon.

You’ll dig deep to give of your mind, your time and your body. You’ll shell out $60-$100 or maybe more just to get in.

And when it’s all over, should you want a picture to commemorate the occasion, that’s going to cost you too.

Well, at least it would at most races.

Participants in the 32nd running of the Capital City Marathon on May 19 will be able to download images for free. Some race photography companies charge as much as $25 to download a single image.

“People really like getting a finisher photo but, unfortunately, it is just another expense for them,” said race director Nona Snell. “Some people want them but don’t get them (because they cost extra). We thought it would be a good way to help people out with the cost.”

In order to finance this little perk, race organizers needed a sponsor. South Sound Running, a running shoe and apparel company with stores in Olympia and Tacoma, stepped up.

“It’s a really big deal that they are able to do that,” Snell said. “We’re really excited about being able to do this this year.”

Free pictures won’t be the only thing that’s new at this year’s marathon.

In just her second year as race director, Snell is already leaving her mark on this popular South Sound tradition.

Snell heard many requests for the race to again offer finisher medals. Creatively designed finisher medals have become a pretty big deal in running circles.

“I’ve heard from people who won’t even do a run unless there is a finisher medal,” Snell said.

Snell has run more than 30 marathons and isn’t necessarily a fan of the medals. Sometimes she even declines them at the finish line. However, she started collecting them again when she and the Capital City Marthon Association decided to offer a medal this year.

There was just one problem.

In recent years, the marathon offered sturdy commemorative coasters to finishers and many people Snell talked to didn’t want that tradition to end.

A compromise was reached: Medal coasters.

The square finisher medals at the marathon will have felt backs allowing them to double as coasters.

Problem solved.

Also, on the medal will be small rectangle space for another new opportunity. This year participants can have their name and time added to their medal for $10.

The Capital City Marathon also is part of a new half-marathon circuit starting this year. The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon Series is a collection of 13 half marathons in Washington and Oregon that donate money to local charities.

The Capital City Marathon donates up to $1,500 to the cross-country programs at eight area high schools.

Participants in three or more of the Bakers Dozen Series races have a chance to win free entry into all 13 of the races in 2014.

But for all that’s new this year, some things will stay the same. You’ll still take a running tour of Olympia and at Mile 22 you’ll still have to dig deep to motivate yourself up Eastside Street and 22nd Avenue.

No easy feat, but at least, this year, you’ll have a picture to prove you actually made it to the top.


For the second year, the Capital City Marathon will use what look like plastic foam cups at its water stations. Snell says last year some runners weren’t very happy to see this apparently environmentally unfriendly move.

But the cups weren’t what they appeared to be. Race organizers used 16,000 recyclable cups donated by Michigan-based Dart. “It’s a new technology approved by the EPA, FDA, Health Canada and Environment Canada, and Harvard as a product that is nontoxic and does not constitute a danger to the environment or human health,” Snell said via email.

Craig Hill’s fitness column runs Sundays. Submit questions and comments via and Get more fitness coverage at, and

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