Sports

32nd annual Friday Harbor 8.8K Loop Run Saturday

The 8.8K Loop Run is the oldest continuous athletic event on the island. - Scott Rasmussen
The 8.8K Loop Run is the oldest continuous athletic event on the island.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

The 32nd annual Friday Harbor 8.8K Loop Run begins at 9:15 a.m. Saturday. Runners start on Spring and Second streets, then proceed to First Street to Warbass Way to Turn Point Road to Pear Point Road to Argyle Avenue to the fairgrounds entertainment gate.

The race is the grandfather (or grandmother) of island athletic events. It was founded by the Island Record newspaper in 1978, then became the Journal Run a few years later after the Record stop publishing. The Journal handed the race over to Island Rec in 2002; it was then renamed the 8.8K Loop Run.

No matter the name, the race has a long and proud history — with California roots.

Joyce Sobel used to visit Inverness, Calif. every year, and watch an Inverness-to-Point Reyes Station footrace held during an annual town celebration. “I thought, ‘Whoa, we could do that as part of the county fair.’ I did a lot of fun things with the Record, so I went back and said, ‘How would you like to sponsor a run?’ Syd Stibbard designed the T-shirt; it was an 8.8K, which Syd liked because it made a great logo. The T-shirts were black with white print. The race started in front of the drug store and went into the fairgrounds.”

A tradition was born.

“People said, ‘That was fun, let’s do it again next year,’” former Record staffer Louise Dustrude said. “We thought, ‘Let’s wait and see if running is still popular next year.’ ” But the run was here to stay.

About 75 people ran in that first race, among them Brad Pillow and Teresa deGraaf, who have each compiled a collection of more than 30 race T-shirts — one for each race they’ve run. deGraaf has the distinction of missing only one race, in the early 1990s because of a family event. Pillow has the distinction of running the most consecutive races.

“It’s a lot more fun to go with other people than alone, and I’m going to go running that day anyway because it’s part of my lifestyle,” deGraaf said of her consistent participation. She has placed second or third among women in several Record-Journal-Loop runs, but said she runs more for health than for competition.

“I like what running does for me. Now, my goal is to be able to do it 30 years from now.”

Island Rec recreation director Sally Kerr said the run is a fun community event.

“If you’re new to running, you feel confident after that run and may be paving ground for a longer run,” she said. “It’s a big community event; a lot of families do it together. It’s a big part of what happens here during the fair.”

By the way, runners, the top finishers in the 2008 Loop Run were Kim Lupo, 36:46; and Derek Diciccio, 29:53.

Race participants receive a free T-shirt and entrance into the fair! Awards are presented later on the Entertainment Stage.

To register, go to Island Rec at 580 Guard St., or visit www.islandrec.org and download a form. Or pay by credit card on www.active.com. Day-of-race registration is accepted between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot on Spring Street.

Call Island Rec at 378-4953 for more information.

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