2018 Rave Green Run 5.4K: Small run with a big dose of Sounders pride

Roger Levesque, a fan favorite for the Sounders when he played from 2006-12, discusses the team in a post-race ceremony. At right is KJR's Dick Fain.

Roger Levesque, a fan favorite for the Sounders when he played from 2006-12, discusses the team in a post-race ceremony. At right is KJR’s Dick Fain.

In looking over September race possibilities, I chose running the Seattle Sounders’ Rave Green Run a second time, three years after doing it the first time. This year’s run, held last Saturday (September 15), was in a different community and seemed like a vastly different event — smaller, yet better.

The finish line leads into the Southcenter Mall parking lot (click the image to enlarge)

The finish line leads into the Southcenter Mall parking lot (click the image to enlarge)

In 2015, I did the inaugural Rave Green Run 9K race through the hilly streets of Kirkland. About 2,000 people did either the 5K or 9K that day, but I don’t remember much excitement or Sounder revelry. Of course, that was a pretty so-so season for the team (it was the year prior to the Sounders winning the 2016 MLS Cup).

Times have been better since. The Sounders won it all in 2016 and followed up their championship by making it to the MLS finals again last year. This year, they are in the midst of a second-half run (despite last Wednesday night’s loss) that has them playoff-bound again.

Roger Levesque presents the award to race winner Kevin Gallagher (20:10)

Roger Levesque presents an award to race winner Kevin Gallagher (20:10)

As for the race itself, after being held the first year in Kirkland and then two years in Redmond, it took place this year in Tukwila, where it looks to have a permanent home. The course started and ended at Southcenter Mall and traveled through the Starfire Sports complex where the Sounders train. It now is a single race of 3.3 miles, or 5.4 kilometers (at least for 2018).

These changes worked for me, because it felt like a more authentic Sounders’ event, with die-hard fans. The cool medals, the lime green event shirts, the Sounders garb for sale, and the after-race awards ceremony featuring former Sounder great Roger Levesque and KJR Sportsradio’s Dick Fain all made it memorable.

The new location apparently didn’t work for everyone, however — only 517 runners participated in the race, a smaller turnout compared to past years. “People have to get used to the new location, but it will grow from here,” the race director, a pleasant, friendly woman whose name I did not catch, told me in a conversation.

Nice straight shot to the finish line

The Sounders Band played at the starting line and the finish line

The Sounders Band played at the starting line and the finish line

I won’t say that the course was all that special. It was mostly flat, but there were curbs to hop over, sharp turns, narrow and crowded trail sections, and frequent terrain changes from street to trail to Starfire grassy field to tunnel to sidewalk to street again, etc.

And why was it 3.3 miles rather than a straight 5K (3.1 miles)? Who knows? It might have been because they wanted the finish line to be inside the Southcenter Mall parking lot, rather than a few blocks to the east. Whatever; the distance was fine.

What I really liked about the course was that the final 0.3 miles was a straight shot west across Baker Boulevard, where you could see the finish line from a good distance away. This was what I also liked about the Seafair Torchlight Run this year, and the 2005 Victoria Marathon, where I got my marathon PR (4:29:46). In that B.C. race, I could see a huge scoreboard with a clock and pictures from a half-mile away, and just had to run to it.

In the last stretch to Southcenter, I was able to pass a few people that I couldn’t catch earlier. But I finished the race in a shabby 42:07 (13:33.4 per mile). This was a slower time than I was expecting, but it made more sense when I learned that the course was 3.3 miles, not 3.1. I ended up 307th out of 517 finishers. The Sounders’ band played as we crossed the finish line. Full results are here.

Scored tickets to a Sounders’ match

Ah, the finish line!

Ah, the finish line!

The highlight of the event for me was the after-race awards ceremony with Levesque and Fain, whose radio station is now the home for Sounders’ broadcasts. They talked positively about the state of the Sounders and how Coach Brian Schmetzer is successfully getting the team to peak at playoff time.

When Fain was done emceeing, I got a chance to talk to him about his moving to afternoon drive time on KJR — which took place earlier this year after he had filled in for a few months to replace the departed Mitch Levy in the morning.

Volunteers get the time mat ready at the starting line

Volunteers get the time mat ready at the starting line

Fain said he’s having “an absolutely great time” doing the afternoon show with Dave “Softy” Mahler, he said. “For me, this change has been a really good one for my schedule and my family.” Levy, who was let go after the news media reported his police arrest for allegedly hooking up with a prostitute, is not communicating much with anyone at the station these days, Fain added.

Hanging around to chat with the race director about the turnout and other aspects of the event landed me four tickets to last Wednesday’s home match with Philadelphia (which the Sounders lost on a late goal, 1-0). She reached into her pocket and said, “Here are four tickets to see the Sounders; enjoy.”

Unfortunately — or, perhaps, fortunately, because of an ugly Philadelphia win — I was unable to attend the match due to other commitments, and gave the tickets to co-workers at Allytics.

Next race another 5K in Issaquah

Bright green event shits at the registration table

Bright green event shirts at the registration table

This was my 220th race overall (since 2001) and I enjoyed this event, even if it may never be as big as the Seahawks 12K and 5K Run in April.

I am next running the Issaquah Run with the Fishes 5K on October 7. I am focusing on shorter races for awhile to keep my bad ankle healthy, but still looking to do a half-marathon — likely the Seattle Half-Marathon in late November.

Post-race eats

Post-race eats

Now that the weather is turning cooler and wetter, my next bicycle event is probably the Chilly Hilly in February. I wanted to do another big ride in 2018, but none of the late-season races worked out time-wise.

Thanks for reading. Go Sounders! Get a win, Seahawks! Finish games, Ducks! Next year, Mariners!

About monteenbysk

I am not an elite runner or bicyclist, though I am friends with many. I run, walk, and bike for fun and the health benefits. I can get you to the finish but probably not to the Boston Marathon (and especially not to the Tour de France).
This entry was posted in 5K, Bicycling, Chilly Hilly, Marathons, Seafair Torchlight Run, Seahawks 12K Run, Seattle Marathon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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