The hometown crowds, the hometown love, the hometown Capital City Marathon event in Jesse Stevick’s native city of Olympia keeps the 33-year-old coming back for more.
Stevick, who won his ninth Capital City Marathon in 2 hours, 32 minutes, 40 seconds on Sunday, is frequently asked: What keeps him coming back for more?
His answer: It’s Olympia.
“Being here is great,” Stevick said. “In a (local) crowd like this on a marathon course, it’s like 10 worlds colliding. That’s what’s fun about the race here.”
Stevick has run marathons elsewhere, including a runner-up finish at the 2009 Seattle Marathon. And while he said it was a great experience, nothing compares to the local flavor his hometown marathon brings.
Stevick already is Capital City’s all-time wins leader; since entering in his first Capital City in 2006, he’s won every marathon with the exception of 2010. Next year, should he be healthy, he’ll vie for win No. 10.
“To be able to even run it 10 times in a row (this year) is great, and then (winning) five times in a row is neat, but more importantly than that, it’s the journey that’s the reward,” Stevick said.
An eventful Saturday motivated Stevick for his ninth victory on Sunday. Less than 24 hours earlier, his wife, Jenny, successfully directed Capital City’s kids run, featuring 260 kids ages 14 and younger. Then, Jesse Stevick’s Olympia High boys track and field team captured the 4A Narrows League team title for the first time in 16 years.
It didn’t take long for Stevick to take a commanding lead; by Mile 4, he had a 90-second lead, and it was up to 6 minutes by Mile 22. He won by more than 9 minutes over Korey Konga of Yelm (2:41:41).
Linda Huyck (3:14.35), a River Ridge High School English teacher and Timberline’s head cross country coach, became a first-time Capital City winner on the women’s side at her first Capital City Marathon since she ran it from 1997-’99.
She viewed her hometown marathon as an opportunity for a re-emergence onto the marathon scene; Her previous marathon was in 2008.
“I feel like it was time to do something,” said the 43-year-old Huyck, who in 2000 ran in the Women’s Olympic marathon trials. “I wanted to be re-born a runner. It’s been so long.
“It felt good.”
Winning was a theme for coaches Sunday. Saint Martin’s University assistant cross country and track and field coach Rachel Brewer chose Capital City’s half-marathon in preparation for her upcoming Portland Marathon in October. Brewer, almost 16 years between half-marathons, was the women’s winner (1:28.50).
The last few miles were rugged for Brewer, whose husband, Jim, is Saint Martin’s head cross country and track and field coach, but she said the “amazing crowd” got her through it.
“I thought, ‘This was great,’ ” she said.
October will be Brewer’s first marathon.
“I’ve ran my entire life competitively; I know can run one, but I want to do one well,” she said. “I’m focused on putting the correct training in.”
Andy Hilliar (1:13.45) of Tumwater won the men’s half-marathon.