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Rhody Run – Grand Prix Series Kickoff

the Silver Strider online presents

Race Reports 

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                   The 40th Annual Rhody Run 12k


by Jerry Dietrich
with photos by Bruce Fisher


May 20, 2018 – Port Townsend

A light wind and overcast skies greeted the runners and walkers as they arrived at Fort Worden in Port Townsend for the 40th edition of the Rhody Run. Heat is always a concern at this race but today promised to be ideal.

This is my favorite race because of the tremendous community support and superb organization by the Port Townsend Marathon Association. The challenging course is getting tougher for me each year, but the feeling of accomplishment afterward is very rewarding.

Again this year, the Rhody Run 12k served as the kickoff event for the Kent Bowl Grand Prix Series 2017-18.

The Commons building was bustling with activity as runners picked up their race numbers and their special commemorative hoodie jackets. Several Silver Striders gathered in front of the fireplace for the traditional pre-race group photo by Bruce Fisher.


Familiar faces filled the starting area as the announcer made pre- race comments. Perpetual entrant Ellen Ruby, age 90, from Santa Paula, California, made her annual 1000 mile trip to be among those at the 12k start.

Ellen Ruby

Race Director Sarah Davis and Jeni Little











The Rhody Run attracts an unusually large number of runners and walkers over the age of 50. Many of these athletes, like Ellen, return every year.

This year, there were 480 Silver Strider finishers. That is slightly up from the 461 finishers last year. An impressive number given the distance and difficulty of the course.

Following the National Anthem, the start saw the top runners move out quickly. It was impressive to watch the runners and walkers circle the park before leaving to face the challenges that lay ahead.

Initially there were a few course ups and downs until runners reached the big hill at about one and three quarter miles. The steepness of the hill varied at times but the climb was continual until 2.5 miles were reached. Spectator support was the strongest during the climb of this longest hill.

Upon reaching the top of the big hill, runners were treated to a relatively flat 400 meters. This ended with a turn that revealed yet another climb. The course continued with climbs and some downhills as we continued to the highest point on the course. The number of spectators dwindled somewhat but there were always several at every intersection in the residential neighborhoods.

About midway, we reached the highest point in the course. There were still plenty of hills yet to climb, but runners who had run the race before knew that the downhills would outnumber any remaining uphills.

The closer we came to the finish in the park, the more plentiful the crowd support became. There was one last hill that commenced about 600 meters before the 7 mile mark. The remaining half mile was to be savored, especially the finishing stretch. Each finisher’s name and home town was announced as they crossed the finish line.

The first Silver Strider to finish was Paul Smith, age 53. Paul’s time was 43:51 and he was an impressive 4th overall.

The first Female Silver Strider was Donna Naipier, age 60. Donna’s time was 58:11.

Silver Striders welcomed our newest Century Club member. The Rhody Run marked the 100th Grand Prix Series race for Betty Dietrich. Welcome to the Century Club, Betty!

Betty Dietrich – Century Club Member








The beer garden was popular this year. Jammed with runners enjoying water or beer and an assortment of fruit to replenish the depleted feelings.

As is our annual tradition, some of the Silver Striders gathered at the El Sarape Restaurant following the race.

The Guys

The Dolls


Then to top off a perfect morning we walked down the block to the Nifty 50’s Diner to enjoy huge waffle cones in our favorite flavors.

Once again the Rhody Run lived up to it’s slogan, “The race that cares for the runners”.


       Here are the results in photos by Bruce “Flash” Fisher.

















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