Ladd Wolfe helped his students finish a marathon on Saturday … sort of.
The third-grade teacher from Hedden Elementary School in Edgewood brought a large group of kids to the Sound to Narrows races for the eighth consecutive year.
Many of the 120 students who registered for the 2K Junior Shuffle showed up − the day after the last day of school − to round out six weeks of training where the kids tracked their total mileage. Saturday morning’s 1.2-mile race marked their 26th mile.
Wolfe said the goal was to get “kids up and moving.”
“Hopefully it builds into something lifelong,” he said.
That could be the case, if Saturday’s finish line was any indicator.
There were many high fives, cheers and big smiles to go around as the group gathered for a post-race chant celebrating their accomplishments.
The 2K was one of seven races − eight including the tykes in the Diaper Dash − at the 42nd annual Sound to Narrows at Tacoma’s Vassault Playfield.
Event coordinator Danette Felt estimated that about 5,000 people participated in the event.
Dean Karnazes − or “Marathon Man” as event announcers called him all morning − ran the 2K with the kids before joining the 12K runners. Those races likely weren’t too challenging compared to his long-distance finishes, most notably 50 marathons in 50 states over 50 days.
“Don’t encourage him,” one announcer quipped as the crowd erupted with cheers for Karnazes. “That’s crazy.”
Rain never fell, but the weather was chilly by June’s standards, with temperatures hovering in the low 50s. Bystanders bundled up in gloves, hats and blankets.
Felt said runners had wind blowing into their faces heading up the hill in the last stretch of the 12K. She said the weather was consistent with past years.
“In my 12 years, we’ve had one sunny day from start to finish,” Felt said.
Before the 2K Junior Shuffle, Gig Harbor resident Jayden Baker tried to keep warm with her mom, Charlece. The 11-year-old said she was ready to run her first race, and was looking forward to crossing the finish line.
Charlece Baker was cheering on her daughter before running in the 5K. It was her third one, a stepping stone leading up to the Ragnar Relay where she’ll run roughly 20 miles as part of a 12-person team.
Barry Nilsen of Tacoma didn’t mind the colder weather. He said it’s perfect to run in.
His furry 5K companion didn’t seem to mind, either. Nilsen said Rocco, an Italian Spinone, ran the entire distance.
“He actually helps because he pulls,” he said.
Out-of-towners also made it for Saturday’s event.
Jessica Kennedy ran her 12th 5K dressed in a Batman T-shirt and cape. The 21-year-old Olympia resident ran alongside Eric Moir of Vancouver, Washington, who followed suit in Superman attire.
It was the 31-year-old’s fourth 5K, but “my first time wearing the Superman shirt,” he said, laughing.
Jonathan Youell of Tacoma finished the 12K toward the front of the pack. The 23-year-old felt more prepared than he did in his first Sound to Narrows 12K last year. He plans to run it again next year.
“It clears my mind,” he said of the race. “It’s hard the whole way and I feel very satisfied when I’m done.”
Kari Plog: 253-597-8682
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