Friday Harbor's Elliot Thomsen made his presence known with the bat, glove and arm as a star on the Wolverines baseball team a decade ago.
It was his feet that gave him away, however, at the 35th Annual 8.8K Loop Run, Saturday, on the final day of the San Juan County Fair.
With the sound of footsteps closing in, Bellevue 17-year-old Jordan Harris switched on the afterburners and left "the elder" Thomsen in the dust, finishing his first-ever Loop Run in first place overall and, with a time of 34:08, eclipsing his previous "personal best" by a full 30 seconds.
"I wasn't expecting to win," said Jordan, a member of Newport High School’s track team and grandson of San Juan’s Susan Harris. "But after the start I looked around and nobody was out in front, so I decided to go for it."
In going for it, he wasn’t alone. In fact, Thomsen, who, despite growing up on San Juan, had never run the race before, had first-place thoughts of his own.
“I was trying to get him,” said Thomsen, who now resides in the “other Washington” (“It’s a happening place,” he notes). “I was right behind him going up that last hill. I knew he could hear me and then he just took off.”
For Kyle Pedersen, vacationing on San Juan Island from Los Angles, Calif., a 5.4-mile trek around the isle just sort of sounded like fun, even if the 13-year-old doesn’t consider himself a avid runner.
“Not really... I just like to run,” Kyle said. “I guess I just decided to do it.”
Also visiting San Juan during the week of the Fair, Seattle’s Serena Bernthal-Jones and two of her Seattle Prep high school classmates decided to enter the run on a lark, a first for each.
“Our normal races are on the hills so we’re used to that,” said the 17-year-old, who trains in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. “But this course was a little longer than we usually do.”
A total of 187 runners and walkers crossed the finish line of the 35th annual Loop Run, only a few less than the number at the starting line. Unlike temperatures earlier in the week, which reached into the high 80s, mercury hovered just under 60 degrees Fahrenheit at the start.
At age 7, Geoffrey Volk was among youngest runner to finish the 5.4-mile run, crossing the finish line in 1:27:45, and second place in the “Under 10” age bracket. Friday Harbor’s Tyler Fleming, 9, finished first.
On the other end of the age spectrum, 75 and up, San Juan Island’s Robert Warren, Dave Pretz and Sam Connery, were the top three finishers of the senior set. Former San Juan County administrator Pete Rose cross the finish line in 51:13, good enough for first in the men’s 60-64 age bracket.
Friday Harbor’s Kelli Ashcraft, 17, was the second female to complete the course, covering 5.4 miles in 39:54, and about 2 1/2 minutes behind Laura Newcomb, the top female finisher.
Newcomb, a University of Washington graduate student, studying biology and conducting research at Friday Harbor Labs six months out of the year, said that she really wasn’t in any hurry to finish the race. It just “worked out” that way, the 23-year-old said of her Loop Run debut.
“I just went out to have fun,” said the New Jersey native. “It’s a nice course. It was fun.”