7210 E Greenlake Dr.,N. Seattle &
16095 Cleveland St. Redmond
The No Sun Fun Run
By Cherie Langlois
Okay, it seems like a perfect No Sun Fun Run day , I think, suspiciously scanning the gray pearl sky on a recent Sunday morning. For my husband Brett and I, a perfect No Sun Fun Run day means no sun (it’s in the name, right?). But hopefully no rain or freezing temperatures either.
Perfect or not, today’s the day.
We’ve already decided to take full advantage of the virtual option and its perks. In other words, we woke up at a sane hour, had a leisurely breakfast, and after a sensible length of digestion time puttered over to Frontier Park in Graham, a mere five miles from our farm. Now, rather than stand or shuffle around letting hypothermia settle in for old time’s sake, we set off right away on a short warm- up walk. Then Brett starts his running app and takes off along one of the trails into the woods.
I follow, but at a much more sedate run/walk pace. I already know I won’t be breaking any personal speed records here. For starters, Frontier’s up and down, meandering dirt trails and gravel roads don’t lend themselves to ultra-speedy finish times. Also, my needy right knee has been complaining again, probably demanding its next cortisone shot. And then there’s the noticeable lack of other runners and walkers to pace myself and compete against. All of that electric group energy in the air missing. Turns out I’m an even slower runner when I run by myself.
Still, it feels good just to move and to be outside. It feels good to be alive. A recent windstorm has left the path littered with fir branches and cones and a few fallen trees, slowing me down even more. But I don’t mind, because it smells like Christmas and I love having the tall Douglas firs—my favorite tree—all around me. They’re like my very own silently cheering spectators.
As I meander and loop, I think about how this glowing gem of a Pierce County park holds such a special place in my heart. We brought our baby daughter to her first country fair here. As the years advanced, we came to frolic with her at the playground and then cheer on her high school cross-country runs. I took yoga classes here, discovered geocaching here, and sampled my first—and only—haggis here at the Tacoma Highland Games. Last year during spring pandemic lock-down, Brett and I came here to run when the park finally reopened again—our first real escape in days. We were so thrilled, so grateful for this wooded paradise close to home.
My random route intersects with Brett’s and we slap hands as we pass. It almost feels like old fun-running times. Then I approach a family of four who caringly don their masks, as do I, until I’m well past. Okay, not quite like old fun-running times.
Driving home after our run, I see the sun struggling through the clouds and think, Ha, we beat you! I think about how the No Sun Fun Run, normally held on the Nathan Chapman Memorial Trail, also holds a special place in my heart. We’ve run it several times and, with the exception of 2021, it’s always been our first fun run of the New Year. It’s always felt like a way to commit ourselves to a shiny, twelve month stretch of staying active, rain or shine. No matter what life throws at us. I love that it’s usually a small, intimate run and I love how the route passes through marshy woodland.
But best of all, it was at one of the No Sun Fun Runs that we first encountered a group of speedy, over-50 runners called the Silver Striders. Brett and I were impressed by these people—and a little annoyed. I mean, they won all of the older age groups, including ours; we never even had a chance. But then we figured, well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The rest is happy history.