If you run the Capital City Marathon regularly, race officials hope you’ll enjoy the course tweaks.
Not to worry, though, there are no major changes to Sunday’s 34th annual event in Olympia.
USA Track and Field requires courses to be certified every 10 years, and because Capital City’s recertification was nearing the 10-year mark next year, officials took the opportunity to also modify the three courses — marathon, half-marathon and 5-mile — to improve safety and overall quality.
The early returns are in: so far, so good.
“It’s all positive,” race director Nona Snell said.
The biggest change is on the 5-miler. The race is down in mileage from 5.2 miles to 5 miles.
In addition to the recertifications, runners will see the following route changes — the first alterations since 2006:
The first mile now runs north on Washington Street, and turns on Olympia Avenue (instead of B Street) to Columbia Street. The purpose is to avoid running over railroad tracks and add more waterfront running on Columbia.
Because of narrow streets and interaction with vehicles in the northeast Olympia neighborhood, the route continues on Puget Street onto Eastside, then Olympia Street, forgoing Miller Street onto Bethel. The revision also eliminates the downhill on Legion against traffic.
“All those turns are kind of hard on you, and are kind of tiring,” Snell said.
The 5-mile race is now a loop. The start, like the marathon and half-marathon, remains on Washington Street, and routes to Capitol, Carlyon Ave. (instead of O’Farrell), Cloverfield, Gov. Stevens, Lybarger to Eskridge and returning to Capitol to the finish.
CAPITAL CITY VETERANS
Rochester’s Ron Fowler and Olympia’s Jim Thatcher likely will be the most familiar faces at the Capital City Marathon starting line.
Fowler is entered in his 32nd race, and Thatcher is running in his 31st.
For Thatcher it’s his 31st straight Capital City, dating to 1985. Fowler has run in 32 of the races but not in a row — he missed the inaugural event in 1981 and in the ’99 race.
STEVICK GOING FOR NO. 9
Olympia’s Jesse Stevick has won eight of the nine Capital City Marathons he has entered since 2006, including last year’s race in a time of 2 hours, 35 minutes, 47 seconds. Stevick, Capital City’s all-time leader in victories, is registered to run Sunday and will go for win No. 9. Last year’s women’s winner, Mercer Island’s Caitlyn Olson, is not registered as of Thursday.
As of Thursday, 324 runners are registered for the marathon, 1,034 for the half-marathon, and 410 for the 5-miler. … Saturday’s 1.2-mile free kids run begins at 4 p.m. at Heritage Park. It’s open for kids in eighth grade or younger.