Between family time and a busy schedule of coaching track and field and cross country at Olympia High School, Jesse Stevick has found a way to make a training regimen part of his daily life.
Stevick’s mode of transportation to and from Olympia High School, where he also teaches science, is usually his legs, not a vehicle. He’ll also run two or three days a week with friends before the sun rises.
“It’s whatever I can get,” Stevick said. “I’ve been able to get into decent workouts the past few weeks. But with a marathon, you never know.”
Stevick, a 2000 Olympia High graduate, is a five-time Capital City winner and will go for a record sixth victory when Sunday’s 31st annual Capital City Marathon begins at 7 a.m. at Olympia’s Sylvester Park.
Last year, when Stevick crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 33 minutes, he tied Phil Jasperson for most Capital City victories by a male runner with five. Jasperson won the marathon in 1990, ’94, ’99, 2001, and ’03. Olympia’s Karen Steen holds the record for most wins by a female (1996, ’99, 2000, ’02-05) with seven.
Stevick won four in a row, 2006-09 and last year. His 2007 time remains his personal best and was “a big surprise to win it.” In 2010, he and former North Thurston High School and Saint Martin’s University standout John Riak ran side-by-side before Riak pulled away at the 16-mile mark to win and set a Capital City record for men’s winning time (2:31.09).
With the spring track and field season filled with weekend meets, like this weekend’s 4A West Central III track and field championships at Mount Tahoma High School, where several of his athletes will try to qualify for state, finding weekend training time is a hit-or-miss proposition for Stevick.
His most recent races were April 28-29, where he logged a personal-best at the Ruston Way 5K, then ran a 10-mile event at Fort Steilacoom the following day.
Another source of training are regular runs with his wife, Jenny, on the roads of Olympia while pushing a double stroller containing 3-year-old son, Wesley, and 13-month-old daughter, Gemma. That mileage can range from 70 to 85 miles per week.
“For Jenny and I, it’s part of our lifestyle,” Jesse Stevick said.
For Jenny, this will be her second Capital City Marathon in three years. She was the women’s winner in 2010, the same year Jesse finished second. Jenny didn’t run last year after giving birth to Gemma just five weeks earlier.
This will be the couple’s seventh marathon entered together. As distance runners at then-Whitworth College in the early and mid-2000s, their first race together was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 2002, and they have also raced at Walt Disney World.
“We both enjoy doing it,” Jenny Stevick said. “It’s been a great reason to travel. It’s a fun reason to go somewhere new.”
As of Thursday, 1,982 runners had registered for the Capital City’s three races – a marathon, a half-marathon and a 5.2-mile run. Last year’s races drew 2,086 runners. Jenny Stevick, in her second year in charge of Saturday’s 4 p.m. 1.2-mile kids run at Heritage Park, said there are 90 children signed up. Day-of-race participants may registered at half-price if they being three cans of food to benefit food banks, she said.
SNELL TAKES OVER
Since January, Nona Snell has been busy.
Snell has been a volunteer and even ran in previous Capital City Marathons, but Sunday will be her first as director of the three races.
“I’ve had lots of support from the previous race director (Lesley Roberts),” Snell said. “It’s been busy, but good. It’s been fun.”
In late 2010, the Capital City Marathon’s three-decade run was in peril when the board was unable to find a replacement after Roberts announced she was stepping down as race director after 16 years.
At first, Snell said she wasn’t considering becoming race director, which is a volunteer position, but eventually decided she was ready for a bigger role after years of volunteering for other aspects of the marathon series.
“It’s a great community event and I think it’s important to Olympia and Thurston County,” Snell said. “I really wanted to see it keep going.”
Of the nearly 2,000 runners registered for the Sunday’s Capital City Marathon, Malcolm Brookes may have traveled the most miles to run.
Brookes, a 71-year-old retired Methodist minister, makes his home in Hereford, England, a total of 6,459 miles from Olympia.
Brookes is staying with his daughter, Helen, in Portland leading up to Sunday’s race. It will be his first race in Washington state. He previously has raced in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Portland, and Boston.
At 71, Brookes has run 35 of his 36 marathons since the age of 67. His first marathon came at age 45 in 1986 with a nearly 20-year gap before his second marathon.
“I love it and I enjoy it,” Brookes said from Portland. “They’ve all been a privilege to run.”
Last year, he completed his 24th marathon in 30 firstname.lastname@example.org 360-754-5473 www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick