728 ad

The Labor Day Half Marathon

the Silver Strider onlinpresents

Race Reports 

brought to you by

Super Jock N Jill logo

    7210 Greenlake Dr N, Seattle, WA
   16095 Cleveland St., Redmond, WA


               The Labor Day Half Marathon (2 Reports)




By Sandra Madden
with photos by Bruce Fisher and Edythe Hulet


9/3/18 – Redmond

Labor Day is a holiday when working folks across the nation get the day off to travel, celebrate with friends, family and food, or just hang out at home and relax. But there was no relaxing for hundreds of runners who rolled out of bed early to pound out 13.1 miles in Redmond.

The weather really was perfect. No smoke in the air, cool temperature, cloud cover during most of the run. The venue was even better. The start was located at the Redmond Town Center with ample garage parking and lots of space for vendors and runners and family. Many took advantage of the huge fireplace located at the entrance to the Center, huddling around the warmth, gearing up emotionally for the run, exchanging race stories.

Edythe Hulet photo


Striders were milling around and the atmosphere was similar to a reunion. Many of us were returning after summer travels, and after missing some Grand Prix races, it was nice to catch up with one another.

After our Strider photo shoot all runners staged themselves according to pace. We started on time and off we went on the Sammamish River Trail. The start was initially congested but cleared out as runners eventually found their “zone”. This was a new course so we avoided the city streets from previous years and stuck solely to the trail. I heard someone mention we were running upstream which would make the way back slightly downhill. That made everybody who heard this very happy.

This race is a Northwest USA Track and Field Half Marathon Championship, with elite athletes participating from all the country’s western most six states.

The turnaround – Yea! the course is accurate! (Edythe Hulet photo)

The first runner came flying by me heading in the opposite direction behind a bicycle support, well before I hit mile 5, followed shortly by more elites, with amazing speed and strength.

I had to chuckle as the halfway turnaround became visible. Last year the course was shortened by a half mile at the turn around and everyone PR’d. Lots of us were checking out our Garmins to make sure the miles matched the mile markers. Everything was perfect and this year we’d finish with RT. Real Time!

The last mile or so we crossed a couple city streets with police keeping the traffic at bay, then took a right turn to complete the short distance to the finish line. Race results were available via computers so everyone could check out their Strider points immediately. That’s what it’s all about!


The first Silver Strider to finish was John Leo in 1:24:40.

The first female Silver Strider to finish was Carol Sexton in 1:36:36.

Edythe Hulet photo

The volunteer support was amazing. Dozens of volunteers for packet pick up, gear check, water stations, course monitors, finish line medals, and post-race food. It really takes a village to make a race happen. As the post-race adrenaline begin to slow, back to our cars we all trudged, banana’s and bagels in hand, medals hanging down our new race shirts, happy to have started the day running.

Labor Day Half Marathon race team – George Searing and Liz Murphy (Fisher Photo)

Lance Albertson says, “Who needs shoes?” (Fisher photo)













Note from Jerry’s desk:

A world class performance by Judy Fisher and a near world class by Carol Sexton highlighted the performances. Carol’s Top IO #1 ranked Half Marathon time made her the latest runner to attain “Super Athlete” status for 2018.



              The Labor Day Half Marathon (2nd Report)




By Brig Seidl



9/3/18 – Redmond

All events have their own particular personality. Some races are known for their beautiful scenery, others for their hills, heat, mud, cold, or wind. Accordingly each event attracts a core element from a particular demographic. In the case of the recent Labor Day Half Marathon in Redmond that demographic has always seems to tend towards a large percentage of very fast runners. Perhaps it’s because the course is flat and therefore conducive to fast times or maybe it is just the time of year is convenient for speedsters to show off the results of a solid summer’s worth of training.

Whatever the reason this race attracts a quality field. Milling around the start area in Redmond Town Center were an intimidating army of orange singlet attired Club Northwest troops, scads of Marathon Maniacs in their distinctive yellow and red shirts, and their Half Fanatics counterparts, as well as a large assortment of very thin, taut, purposeful looking folk doing wind sprint warm-ups in anonymous outfits. There was even a Japanese guy from the Nike Oregon Project. Yes, Galen Rupp’s team mate. This was going to be fast.

I’d long wanted to do this race – it’s only a mile and a half from my house after all – but for some reason or other I never had. Either injury or forgetfulness (hey, I’m over 50 you know) or being out of town for Labor Day had kept me out of this event but this year all the pieces came together.

The course has changed somewhat over the years and I believe this was the first year with this particular route. A route I know very well as we often do a shorter version of it on the Super Jock ‘n Jill Tuesday Night runs and for having biked on the Sammamish Valley Trail for decades. Not that course knowledge carries any particular benefit on an out ‘n back flat, paved trail; it would have taken an idiot of genius proportions to get lost or take a wrong turn.

Being based at Redmond Town Center had the benefit of real bathrooms and oodles of convenient parking which is a nice bonus. I always stress a little about parking because I like to return to my vehicle right before the start to ditch my warm up gear. No such worries at this race. The Town Center was filled with competitors, spectators, families, and various vendors plugging products and upcoming races making for a busy but cheerful gathering.

A fairly sizeable field of about 800 runners took to the start and without terribly much ado we were set loose rampaging down 166th Ave past the old REI building. About 100 yards past the start line we turned right onto NE 76th St which actually took me a bit by surprise as I was expecting to run straight through the intersection and turn left directly onto the trail which we would later come in on. Fortunately I was already about 70 yards behind the leaders by that point despite starting near the front so no harm was incurred. Otherwise my genius proportion tendencies would likely have manifested themselves by missing the first turn mere seconds into the race. I really should look at course maps more assiduously.

Whenever a multi-distance race has a shared start you can always expect the runners in the shorter distance event to explode out at a furious pace. Best not to get too perturbed by them, they’re in a different race after all. Even though I knew this was a fast field I assumed many of the runners burning up the asphalt in front of me would veer off at the 4 mile race junction. Not one of them did. None. Gulp, this was fast.

Once we got out onto the main part of the course alongside the Sammamish River everyone settled in to their own personal cadences and found their place in the increasingly strung-out field. At this juncture in a half marathon it is sort of unusual to pass or be passed unless you (or someone else) has some sort of issue as you can’t just will yourself to run beyond your pace and it was way too early for people to be slowing from exhaustion.

So, for the second time in this race, I was mildly surprised when 2 runners caught me from behind and went past pretty decisively. As soon as they were in front I noticed that they formed a bit of a protective barrier against the slight headwind so I dug into my reserves to stay with them. I could tell by the jauntiness of their strides that they were stronger than me but I determined to hang with them as long as possible – especially when I noticed we were slooowwly catching the 2 runners up the trail in front of us, one of which I recognized as the ever-formidable Igor Velichko.

The longer I ran at the pace of my new companions, later identified as Jennifer Enge and Desiree Berry, the more comfortable I felt until eventually I pulled alongside in a passing maneuver that took about 250 yards to complete. Just as I was passing them they were passing Igor so we were 4 abreast for a little while. But after about a half mile of taking the wind up front Jennifer and Desiree re-passed me but once again I dug deep to hang onto them dropping Igor in the process.

About this time the lead runner came screaming back the other way running faster than I’d ever seen anyone run in a distance event before. Typically when the leader goes by on an out ‘n back course it means the turnaround is near and I start counting the returning runners to see what place I’m in. Usually it doesn’t require counting beyond single digits.

Hoo boy, not on this day! We were nowhere near the turnaround and I lost exact count somewhere north of 50. And by allocating effort and calories to counting up to about 56 I lost focus on running and Jennifer and Desiree got away for good. Saw Uli Steidl heading back the other way but he was much further back than I would have expected so wasn’t sure if he was even in this race and whether I should count him or not (turns out he wasn’t).

Getting back up to speed after a tight 180 degree turnaround always seems laborious to me and this one was no different. And as soon as the turn is made you come face to face with the long line merciless fiends in your wake hungering to demote you. And demote me they did. First Igor and then about 1 person per mile slipped past before I could drag myself across the finish line to cease the hemorrhaging. I only managed to pass a single person who was faltering with about a mile to go so the net loss was something like a half dozen positions on the return trip.

Still I was happy. I had gone out with very fast company and so struggled on the way back but didn’t completely blow up. My right calf was as tight as a violin string, making striding difficult, but held together without tearing or straining. I was satisfied with my time. A good day.

I’m pleased that this event is now part of the Grand Prix Series as it is well organized, super close to my house, and attracts a stellar field. There were no age group awards, just top 3 overall and besides Bloomsday there probably isn’t a harder race in the state to get on the podium. The winner, Suguru Osako, set a course record of 1:01:01 (!) which equates to 4:40 per mile pace. That is fast, really fast. In fact it makes Suguru the 9th fastest Japanese half marathoner in history. You can read a little bit about him here:





                  Race Results in Photos by Bruce Fisher




















Leave a Reply