Even if he runs a conservative race, Olympia’s Jesse Stevick will probably still count down every mile of the 35th annual Capital City Marathon.
Stevick, 34, will compete in the Olympia race for the 11th time on Sunday.
He’s going for win No. 10.
“We’ll see,” Stevick said. “You never have any idea who’s coming in. There’s so many people out there who are faster. I never really know. I train as best as I can to be around two hours, 30 minutes — around my (personal record).”
Running into a faster runner certainly hasn’t been the case for Stevick in past years. He has won nine of the past 10 races, with his best coming in 2007 when he crossed the finish line in 2:31:50.
Stevick already has — by far — the most wins for any male who has run the marathon during the past 34 years. His nine wins have come during two stretches — four in a row from 2006-2009, and the past five races since 2011.
“It’s nice to see a local guy like him come along and put it out of reach,” Olympia’s Phil Jasperson said. “Nobody’s going to win that many after him.”
Jasperson, 49, has the second-most wins of any male with five. He last ran the marathon in 2007, when Stevick set his personal record. Jasperson took fourth that year and his final win was in 2003. He first won the race in 1990.
“I think it takes a person that’s obviously dedicated to their craft,” Jasperson said. “… It’s not easy to try and maintain a high level of fitness. It’s almost like having a second job. It takes a certain level of individual to do it.”
Second job? Try fifth or sixth.
Stevick is a marathon runner, yes. He’s also a science teacher at his alma mater, Olympia High School. He coaches the boys cross country and track and field teams. He’s a husband to Jenny Stevick — a two-time winner of the women’s marathon — and father to Wesley (7 years old), Gemma (5), Ginger (2) and Wendell (5 months).
“Our friends joke that he’s kind of like a superhero,” Jenny Stevick said.
Jesse and Jenny Stevick became the first husband and wife to win the men’s and women’s races in the same year in 2012.
“To be able to do that together was awesome,” Jesse said.
Jenny also won in 2010 — the only year Jesse has run the race without finishing first. Lacey’s John Riak won that year, and Jesse finished almost nine minutes behind him in second place, five weeks removed from running the Whidbey Island Marathon.
At least one Stevick has won in each of the past 10 years.
“We kind of joke that at least we kept the line of trophies,” Jenny said. “It was a lot more fun the year that we both did win.”
This year, Jenny and the four Stevick kids will watch Jesse try to extend his own record from the sidelines.
“We’ll just go out and cheer and wait at the finish line for him to come in,” Jenny said. “His parents are out there too, and his sisters. It’s really fun to have the whole family out cheering.”
A few others will probably cheer, too, as Jesse attempts to make history. Again.
“He’s the guy right now,” Jasperson said. “Until somebody decides they want to show up for the event, it’s Jesse’s race to lose, the way I see it. He runs consistently, and that’s the key. He does the work.”