Looking for a new event, I decided to branch out to Olympia, Washington for the Capital City Half Marathon on Sunday, May 21st. I originally planned on running the full, but decided it was smarter for my body to settle with the half. A friend at the gym told me this was his favorite run, which left me with some pretty high expectations. This guy has run Boston, Portland and it seems like everything in between both coasts. He reminded me it’s always the third weekend in May, in case I make it an annual adventure as well.
Packet pick-up was at Sylvester Park in what seemed to be the downtown area of Olympia. I visited a few of the booths and enjoyed the sunshine and music. The outdoor expo had a little bit of everything with shoes, headbands and even cupcakes. I loved that there was a Starbucks next to the park, since I prefer the familiar and walked over for a little cup of comfort. I giggled as a woman noted there were $1 edibles across the street, as we were standing in line. She was pretty excited and I was almost certain she wasn’t stocking up on them for the run. Edibles aren’t really my thing, but Jelly Bellies are a different story, especially when they are on the race course.
I had already decided by the Jelly Belly station that I was in love with this event, but that little cup of sugar sealed the deal. I actually passed by the Jelly Belly aid station, assuming it was stocked with the usual, but turned back when I spied other runners with cups of the colorful crack. It was totally worth it too. They had the usual gummy bears, orange slices and Ultima at various aid stations as well. Volunteers were passing out sponges too, for anyone who needed to cool off. I was super excited when my husband told me that they used recyclable cups along the course and I was a little disappointed to see Styrofoam out there, but felt better reading that it was a new Styrofoam that was 100% recyclable and the course recycled over 15,000 cups the prior year. Waste at events is a huge pet peeve of mine, so this small gesture earned big points with me.
Aid stations were every couple of miles and the community definitely supports this event. People young and old were helping along the course. There was a house that had their sprinkler set up for runners, while another had a bubble machine blowing off their roof. One elderly man in a three piece suit stood outside of his church clapping for the runners as passed by and I’ve never participated in an event that had so many bystanders offering orange slices along the course.
The course itself was a good mix with some gentle rollers and a combination of views. There was a little bit of the Puget Sound, spots of residential and plenty of green the entire way. The miles were well marked and we finished with a bit of a downhill, which is always welcome.
The half marathon medals at the finish line were fun, a typical medal with just a bit of a creative twist to set them apart. With music over the loud speakers and vendors set up at the park, it was fun to meander and hydrate. The post race food was perfect- some hard-boiled eggs, cheese, pretzels, fruit and pizza. I know I lucked out with the weather this year, since it was sunny and dry, which isn’t often the case. Still, rain or shine, Capital City Marathon/Half Marathon is definitely an event I’ll run again. Next time I’ll go for the full, since I know it’s organized, well supported and includes pretty views. It was only a couple of hours north and totally worth the drive for the course, the community and the opportunity to experience a new event. I can see why my friend at the gym has a circle around the third Sunday in May every year. No fancy frills with this one, just a well-run event, which makes it pretty much perfect.