Nona Snell of Olympia has been named the new race director for the Capital City Marathon, securing the immediate future of the race that began in 1981.
Board members said the race that begins and ends in downtown Olympia likely would have ended if a replacement for Lesley Roberts hadn’t been found within the next couple of months.
Snell will job-shadow Roberts and take over the position after this year’s race, which will be May 15.
“She’s been a runner for a number of years,” race president Jim Lux said. “She has a passion for running. She also has a good sense of how things are organized.”
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The eight-member Capital City Marathon Association board had hoped to name a replacement for Roberts in September, allowing for an overlap period in the transition. Snell inquired about the position after she heard that a selection hadn’t been made and that there was a possibility that the race would end.
“I think Nona will fit the job very well,” Lux said.
Snell has run more than 30 marathons, including the Chicago Marathon in October. She has run the Capital City Marathon and half- marathon several times and also has volunteered to help put on the race.
“I was worried about the race not continuing,” Snell said. “It’s a great race. The community really stands behind it. I wanted to help.”
Roberts will step down in May after being the volunteer race director for 16 years.
“She’s done a great job,” Snell said. “She’s very open to helping. I’ll work with her. The board is also very active.”
The Capital City Marathon has been rated as one of the top marathons in the country. Snell is committed to keeping the race at that level.
She is just the fourth race director in 22 years.
Board members have said that the race is not carrying any debt. While the marathon registration has dropped slightly in recent years, from more than 500 to the mid-400s, the three-race event that includes the marathon, half-marathon and 5-miler totals nearly 1,800 runners.
“I love the course,” Snell said. “The running community here is very supportive of this race. We want to keep it going.”
Snell, 46, grew up in Royal City. She is a policy director for the State Treasurer’s Office.
“She’s able to operate under a stress load. She’s even-tempered,” Lux said. “We couldn’t have picked anyone better to pick up where Lesley is going to leave off.”
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 firstname.lastname@example.org