1st mile key to conquering Sound to Narrows

Runners and walkers exit the parking lot of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and enter the park during the 2013 Sound to Narrows.
Runners and walkers exit the parking lot of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and enter the park during the 2013 Sound to Narrows. Staff file, 2013

The 44th Sound to Narrows is today, but try to contain your excitement.

If there is one mistake runners most frequently make on the hilly 12-kilometer (7.46 miles) course, it’s going too fast on the opening downhill mile.

From Sam Ring, winner of the first race, to Dan McLean, winner of last year’s race, almost everyone who’s had success at the South Sound’s oldest race says the first mile is key. Because most of the rest of the race is uphill.

As McLean recently told The News Tribune, “The hills will still be tough, but they’re a lot worse if you’re already toast before you start up them.”

McLean, a member of Tacoma City Running Club, said he will likely return to defend his title. Two-time defending women’s champ Sherida Bird is not expected to participate. She told The News Tribune after last year’s race that she and her family planned to move to Germany.

The field is expected to include 10 men who have participated in every Sound to Narrows, said race organizer Danette Felt. The Everytimers Club’s oldest member is 81-year-old Jack Hudspeth of Pacific. The youngest is Mike Thomsen, 56, of Moscow, Idaho.

New features for this year’s race includes the Hound to Narrows and a virtual version held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

The Hound to Narrows is a 5K for K9s and their owners. Dogs must be on a leash no longer than eight feet. The entry fee is the same for the dog owners and $10 for the dogs. Proceeds go to the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital’s pet therapy program.

At 6:30 p.m. Saturday (6 a.m. Sunday in Afghanistan) an estimated 200 people are expected to run in a simulated Sound to Narrows at Bagram. The Bagram race was the idea of Capt. Antoinette Hyres, commander of the 804th Movement Control Team from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Sound to Narrows

When: Saturday

Where: Start at Vassault Playfield, 6100 N. 37th St., Tacoma

Entry fee: $40 day of race. $10 per dog. Registration is free for people 12 and younger participating in the 2K junior shuffle and Diaper Dash.

Races and times: Military Race, 6:30 a.m.; 2K, 8:10 a.m.; 12K, 8:30 a.m.; 5K, 8:40 a.m. (run with your dog in the 5K Hound to Narrows); Walkers, 8:45 a.m.; Diaper Dash, 10:15 a.m.

Street closures: North Vassault Street will be closed from North 37th Street to North Park Way, and North Park Way will be closed from there to the North Pearl Street entrance to Point Defiance Park until the race is complete. The Mildred Street and Pearl Street entrances to the park will be closed to traffic until 10:30 a.m. Vassault Park will be closed starting Friday (June 10) until race cleanup is completed Saturday.