It was a day for the dogs Sunday when the first PAWZ by the Sea 5K run/walk was held in Langley under an almost clear sky.
Over 100 participants joined the event from all across the Puget Sound region including Kent, Tacoma, Snohomish, Oak Harbor and South Whidbey.
Despite high winds and rain during the weekend, the dog god must have been watching over the crowd as runners were hit with only a brief shower. In fact, the wind was calm and the clouds parted offering a hint of blue sky for the race start.
Dogs small and large, dressed in rain gear and tutus, were running, walking and even carried over the finish line on Second Street. Perhaps the most pampered was the little terrier, Giblet, who rode in a stroller wrapped in a blanket the whole distance, pushed by owner Stephanie Barber of Kent.
But paralyzed Oliver was the dog hero of the day, completing the entire course with his rump cradled in a two-wheeled cart. Owner Bobbie Mayer of Clinton had to hustle to keep up with his pace across the finish line.
Announcer Scott Ohsman set a festive tone as each runner and walker was greeted at the finish line with encouragement, applause and spontaneous awards. Fashionista winner was Daffodil with her slick yellow rain cape and hood, perfect attire for the day, according to owner Mary Douglas.
Everyone was a winner on Sunday, but first across the finish line was Alex Low, 13, from Langley who completed the course in 23:30, just ahead of Langley Middle School coach Don Zisette, who placed second for the men.
The first dog to complete the course was Lizzie with owner Julie Buktenica of Langley with a time of 24:19. Lizzie keeps in great shape running with the middle and high school cross country teams.
Placing second for the women was Nikki Kirchhauser.
The short course for the kids’ run was completed by the only runner of the day, Alesei Stalpaert, and his dog Scipio of Freeland who received a personal escort through First and Second streets by Langley Police Chief Dave Marks.
Event organizer Louise Long has 20 years experience with race marathons. She serves as the race and executive director for the Seattle Marathon Association.
“This was an absolutely wonderful day,” Long said. “There were lots of runners and dogs, no dog fights and no runner fights.”
Jean Dieden of Animal Hospital by the Sea hosted the event, enjoyed the experience and definitely wants to continue next year.
“It was so enjoyable to put on an event and see so many people having fun.” Dieden said.
She added that it was great to watch people walk or run through a beautiful town and get to know the many people who came to help out.
“I want to thank all the volunteers and Langley Main Street for co-sponsoring the day,” Dieden said.
The event raised money to benefit the 4H Happy Hounds Dog Club and Good Cheer Pet Food Bank. Over 40 volunteers, including the children from the Happy Hounds Club, and Perfect Time Events began arriving at 4 a.m. Sunday morning to set up for the day. The course started and finished on Second Street.
Everyone at the finish line was handed a bottle of water and dog treats, as well as a T-shirt and goodie bags. The top 10 men and women completing the course received gifts and recognition for their efforts.
Editor’s note: Lorinda Kay is a former Record employee who now works for the Langley Main Street Association.