I almost didn’t do the Issaquah Run with the Fishes 5K this year because I thought the race might have been scrapped. I saw no advertising or promotion of it in local publications, and didn’t get an email suggesting I sign up until midweek leading up to the event.
This run, held last Sunday (Oct. 4) as part of Issaquah’s annual Salmon Days Festival, draws more than 1,000 runners and walkers each year. In 2014, it had a recent high of 1,341 finishers; 1,244 finished the race this year. The organizers appear to want to keep it mostly a community event and not a regional event — hence the lack of regional promotion.
If that is truly the case — and the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and the Salmon Days and race organizers are free to comment on this and tell me I am wrong — it works very well as a community event. Issaquah schools and churches are always well-represented with participants, and this run seems to have more local elementary- and middle-school-aged kids that any event that I do.
Issaquah always swells during Salmon Days
One possible reason for limiting the turnout is that thousands of area residents already come to the city for the Salmon Days Festival, and there is only so much room for more people. Another is the lack of parking near the starting line along Gilman Boulevard. I got there 25 minutes before the race started, and had to scramble to finally find a parking spot in a nearby strip mall.
Yes, this fast-growing community is packed to the gills during the family-friendly Salmon Days, and roads and infrastructure are taxed. But the Run with the Fishes remains a fun event to do, in part because it features participants of all ages and abilities and in part because the course around Issaquah’s center is flat and fast.
This was my first race in nearly a month, and it came a week after a weeklong vacation in Washington, D.C., where I got to run a couple of times around the White House, the Washington Monument and other historic and government buildings (great fun!).
Also, I only got about five hours sleep the night before this run, because my Oregon Ducks football team was playing a night game against Colorado that got delayed more than an hour by a lightning scare in Boulder. Of course, I was watching it on TV from a bar in downtown Bellevue. I got to bed after midnight (and, yes, the Ducks won!).
My second-fastest 5K in 2015
Anyway, I got to the starting line on time and finished the 5K in 35:43 (11:31 per mile), more than a minute faster than my 2014 time of 36:48. It also was much faster than my 2013 time of 39:29. But it wasn’t my fastest 5K of 2015 — that was in May at the hilly Husky 5K in Bothell (35:27). It was, however, my second-fastest of the year and my third-fastest 5K since I had my 2011 ankle surgery (fastest was 34:29 last year; my overall 5K PR is 24:32 in 2005). Full results are here.
I will say this again: After how long it took me to get back to running after that surgery, I’m happy to be able to do races like this. This was my 11th run this year and 186th since I started doing races in 2001.
What’s next is likely the Dawg Dash 10K on Oct. 18, the day after the Ducks play the Huskies in Seattle (Go Ducks!). Regardless of what happens in that game, I plan to wear a Seahawks shirt for this race. I also hope to do the Seattle Half-Marathon in November, and am already signed up for the Mustache Dache 5K.
My ankle continues to handle the pounding, as I don’t run more than once or twice a week (I walk, bike or do the elliptical on other days).
A note of congratulations to add: The Portland Marathon and Half-Marathon were also held on Oct. 4. Congrats to Boyd Massie and Mark Nelson for their marathon finishes and to Tyra Nelson for completing her 22nd half-marathon! The Portland Marathon was my first marathon; I ran it in 2003 and 2004 and have great memories.
Thanks for reading! Till next time.