Heavy medal honors await those who finish the Capital City Marathon

craig.hill@thenewstribune.comMay 18, 2014 

Answers to important questions nobody has asked me yet:

Q: What muscle group is most likely to be undertrained by participants in the Capital City Marathon on Sunday?

A: Their necks.

Even if you’re strong enough to finish the 26.2-mile race, you’ll still need to muster up enough strength to lug home the South Sound’s largest finisher medal.

Last year’s medal was roughly the size of the TV I had in college. (OK, it was actually 41/4-by-41/4 inches, but that’s still more than three times the size of a standard medal. And it’s also larger than the medals handed out at this year’s Winter Olympics.)

“They’ll be just as big this year, but they’ll be round,” said race director Nona Snell.

Last year’s medals were square and looked a bit like fancy bronze coasters. And that wasn’t by mistake.

The 33-year-old Capital City Marathon, the South Sound’s oldest marathon, used to award coasters to finishers before it switched to medals. Some regulars didn’t want the coaster tradition to end, so the new tradition of massive medal coasters was born.

They don’t lighten up on the half-marathoners either. Their finisher medal is the same size.

Snell said another tradition is back this year — free (well, included in the $35-$100 entry fee) finisher photos.

South Sound Running, a local chain of running stores, sponsors the free picture downloads.

The marathon starts at 7 a.m. and the half marathon starts at 7:45 a.m. at Sylvester Park. There is no day-of-race registration.

Q: Sure, the Capital City Marathon sounds tough, but what’s the best race to enter if you want to show people what you’re really made of?

A: The flier for Western Washington’s most revealing run reads like glossy, trifold peer pressure: “Be brave, be tough, beat the mountain in the buff.”

Fraternity Snoqualmie, a nudist park in Issaquah, will hold its 23rd annual Bare Buns Fun Run on July 13.

While this is a great opportunity to fill in the blanks between your tan lines, clothing is optional. (It’s unclear where racers pin their bib numbers.)

The waiver that participants must sign reads, in part, “I assume any and all risks, be they physical or emotional, associated with running this event including . . . photographs being taken.”

Clearly, this isn’t a dash for the bashful. The entry fee is $30, but for an extra $16 you can camp for two nights and participate in everything from volleyball to dancing.

Of course, all runners receive a shirt.

Q: What’s the hardest part about picking a triathlon wetsuit?

A: Only slightly less revealing than running naked is wearing a triathlon wetsuit.

I’d thought all that black neoprene would be slimming. Wrong.

I tried one on at Gig Harbor’s Route 16 Running and Walking last week. I looked like a super hero whose only power was ice cream consumption.

But even harder than looking suitable in one of these things, is finding them in the first place.

I ordered one online last fall. Not a good idea. This is really something you need to try on first to make sure you can actually move your arms well enough to swim. I had to return it without even giving it a try.

Calling around to sporting good stores (even swimming and diving shops) in recent weeks I noticed a trend. Most don’t carry triathlon wetsuits and many said I’d have to drive to Seattle. Even REI directed me to its Seattle store.

Triathlon wetsuits can be expensive for shops to have on hand and also time-consuming to maintain if they rent them.

But I did unearth a couple places in the South Sound where you can try a tri wetsuit. Fleet Feet Sports offers rentals and sells suits at its Tacoma store. (It no longer offers the service at its Bonney Lake store.)

And Just Keep Swimming in Tumwater also sells and rents suits.

Just how flattering they are is your call. But as one shop owner told me, “Just suck it in for pictures and you’ll be fine.”


Organizers of the Capital City Marathon are directing spectators to four designated areas along the course for the best chance to get a glimpse of their favorite runners.

SITE 1: Mile 15

Location: Corner of Lemon and Schincke roads

Watch the runners ascend the hill from Woodard Bay Road. Park on the road.

SITE 2: Mile 18 (5 for the half marathon)

Location: 26th Avenue and Friendly Grove Road

Park at the Olympia Regional Learning Academy, 2001 26th Ave. NE, Olympia. Use caution, especially when driving on the race coure.

SITE 3: Mile 21 (7.5)

Location: Corner of San Francisco Avenue and Bethel Street.

You’ll find the San Francisco Street Bakery here, so you can slip a cannoli to your favorite runner. Parking is available at Roosevelt Elementary, 1417 San Francisco Ave. NE.

SITE 4: Mile 22 (9)

Location: Corner of Legion Way and Eastside Street.

Park on the lot on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Eastside, but race officials say don’t cross Eastside. Here you can watch runners descend the hill on Legion Way.

Learn more at capitalcitymarathon.org/Map2012_Viewing.pdf

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497 craig.hill@thenewstribune.com thenewstribune.com/fitness Theolympian.com/fitness @AdventureGuys Source: capitalcitymarathon.org

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