Langley Running Festival increases out-of-state participants

Half marathon winner Kurt Warwick, a Clinton resident, reaches the finish line during the Langley Running Festival.  - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Half marathon winner Kurt Warwick, a Clinton resident, reaches the finish line during the Langley Running Festival.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

Approximately 325 people enjoyed the mixed road and trail courses of the Langley Running Festival on July 7.

The course featured a half marathon, 10K walk and a newer short distance four-mile and seven-mile event.

Race organizer Matt Simms said he counted people from at least 24 other states and four countries competing in this year’s race.

People from further away are hearing about the Langley Running Festival, he said.

Placing first in the half marathon overall was Clinton resident Kurt Warwick, 24, with a 1:22:23 time.

Sarah Getty, of Des Moines, came in first for the women with a time of 1:31:37.5. This was the first year a local has won the half marathon, Simms said.

This is the second year the event included two shorter-distance races. The races also included a mix of racing on the road and on South Whidbey’s trails.

“It’s an interesting evolution, our first year it was almost local people,” Simms said. “The second year was a mix.”

“Now we have people from all over that are coming.”

This was Getty’s first year running in the Langley Running Festival. Getty ran the race to prepare for an Iron Man competition in August.

“The course was nice and challenging,” she said. “There were a lot of hills, but all of the downhill parts made up for the ups.”

The race began with local resident Maddy Jerome playing The Star Spangled Banner. That was followed by a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year.

Simms said he knew of two Running Festival participants who competed in the Boston Marathon this year, overall winner Warwick and Willy Mendoza.

Runner Mike Gates, 46, said he was happy with his race time of 1:36:43.5.

Gates, of Snohomish, placed seventh overall and is training to run a full marathon. This was Gates’ first time at the Langley Running Festival.

“I set a goal, and I beat it,” he said.

Ty Campbell, 21, placed third for the half marathon in the men’s division with a time of 1:29:51.2. This was Campbell’s first time competing in the race and the first he’s run in that was longer than six miles.

Campbell competed in his regular running shoe, a Mexican huarache.

“I enjoyed working on my downhill pace,” he said.

He said the “gently rolling hills” described in signs turned out to be less gentle than he anticipated.

Campbell, who is living in South Whidbey while working for Sky Root Farm this summer, learned about the race on the Choochokam website.

“I hope to get some good street dancing in later tonight,” he said of the festival.

Simms said he received a lot of positive feedback from participants this year.

Proceeds from the event benefit South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation.

“It’s a great testament to have the community come out and make this event work. If we had to hire people, it would be money the foundation wouldn’t get,” he said.


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