The only thing Seth Bridges had to worry about while winning Saturdays 42nd annual Sound to Narrows 12-kilometer race was rain clouds.
Bridges posted a time of 40 minutes, 3 seconds, beating the next-closest finisher by almost a half minute in Washington’s oldest 12K.
“It was a pretty tactical race out there,” the 24-year old Anderson Island man said. “We were going pretty slow down through the edge and by about halfway we were still taking it easy, but the pack started to separate.”
Bridges took the lead when the group got to the last kilometer mark, picking up enough speed to drop the rest of the pack well behind.
He said knew when to kick because that’s when Curt Corvin told him to.
A former world-class marathoner, Corvin holds the record for most Sound to Narrows wins (four), and he was Bridges coach at Lakes High School.
“That’s where he always told me I needed to start racing, and he knows best, so I kind of waited with everyone and got a feel for what they were doing, and then started racing once I saw the bridge,” Bridges said.
It was Bridges second win in three years – he won the 2012 Sound to Narrows in a time of 39:30. An All-American in cross-country at Northwest University, Bridges trains for races with Club Northwest in Seattle.
He says he runs 10-15 races a year, while studying to get a teaching certificate.
Bridges beat out Ben Mangrum, who finished in 40:44, and Michael Otteson, who ran a 41:28.
“It’s good to be back – I took last year off,” Bridges said. “I just had some other things going on, but I love this race, and getting another win is pretty awesome.”
On the women’s side, it was another former collegiate All-American who took the title. Sherida Bird, 34, won with a time of 50:13.
“I’ve taken top-three before, but this is the first time I’ve won it,” she said. “It was a great day – my splits were fast, so I just decided to go for it, and it paid off.”
Bird finished well ahead of her next-closest competitor, Gretchen Van Dyke, who finished the 12K in a time of 50:40. Bird said her goal was to break 50 minutes, but she was happy with how she finished.
“There were a lot of guys I was chatting with along the way. I was running with Gretchen most of the way, and we had a nice group going. Some of them were coming from behind, and they would tell me if there were any girls back there,” she said.
Ruth Perkins, who won the race last year and in 2011, didn’t race in this year’s event.
Bird, who lives in University Place, was an All-American in the mile at Boston University, before transferring to finish out her career at Brigham Young University. She spent the last seven years as the cross-country coach at Curtis High School, but took this year off to focus on raising her three kids.
“I have an 11-month old, so that’s just made scheduling too much,” she said. “But I’m happy I was able to come out here and run well and feel good. I’ve run this race about five times now, and each time I’ve done better.”