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On your mark, get set, solstice!
Some will celebrate with a picnic basket and walk in the woods. Others with body paint and a bonfire, so we hear.
Still, others will gather by the shoreline to sing a song or two, fingers crossed, hoping the orca whales will make a timely appearance and pass by the waterfront of Lime Kiln State Park, perhaps drawn instinctively to the sound of the human voice in harmony. And then there's a few that might take refuge in the shadows and howl at the moon, once it arrives on the scene.
The celebration of the summer solstice takes many forms on San Juan Island.
And for the hard-core athletic enthusiast, this year's solstice marks a turning point, as the annual San Juan Island Marathon, with a brand new course lying in wait (for the half-marathon and 10K events as well), and the Three Lakes Triathlon all come together on the weekend that's also home to the longest day of the year.
Fortunately, one need not venture far to enjoy these grueling and, for some, competitive athletic events, at least not as a spectator. Distance is definitely a different matter, for the participants. That's because for the first time ever Lakedale Resort will play host to both events, with the Triathlon on Saturday, followed by Sunday's marathon, half-marathon and 10K run.
The Three Lakes Triathlon features three events and a pair of race options, individual and relay format. Those competing in the "Olympic" option, either relay or individual, will test their mettle with a .93 mile swim, 25 mile bicycle ride and a 10K run. Distances for the "Sprint" option are roughly half those of the Olympic events. The competition gets under way at 9 a.m. A post-race award ceremony and barbecue begins at 5 p.m.
Participants of the San Juan Island Marathon and its companion events will test their mettle against a brand new course this year (and yes, the new course also features a few hills). Whether any runner will be able to best the 2013 winning time of 3:00:55, set by Robert Nelson of Seattle, or the eye-popping record for the event, 2:38:00, set by Ellensburg's Manuh Santos in 2008, remains to be seen.
To conjure up a mental image of the new 26.2-mile course, envision a giant, sideways figure eight, with start and finish lines at Lakedale. The line of the first loop traces Egg Lake to Beaverton Valley roads, bends along Mitchell Bay and Westside roads, completes a loop as it moves along Wold Road to Beaverton Valley, back to Westside Road and then bends around Roche Harbor Road and back to Lakedale.
The 13.1-mile half-marathon follows the route of the marathon until reaching a "Turn Around Point" on Mitchell Bay Road, where runners will double back to West Valley Road and then hit the home stretch on Roche Harbor Road.
Now in its 12th year, the San Juan Island Marathon is sponsored by Kings Market and Island Athletic Events.
For more information about either event and activities, visit www.lakedale.com, and click on "activities"