The second Summer Fun Run and Kids Dash at 360 Trails Park on the Key Peninsula Saturday offered something for just about everyone.
More than a hundred runners, children and Key Pen Parks volunteers gathered on a dusty clearing in what used to be Washington Department of Natural Resources land.
It was a perfect day for a run: The sun was shining brightly and no trace of rain was in the forecast. Tents put up by race sponsors offered food and drink. There was even a tub full of soap suds next to the Costco tent for the children to blow bubbles. Games of catch with Stick-Ums Velcro balls and mitts were breaking out all over the clearing. Two big speakers by the starting line pumped out dance music, giving the event a festival atmosphere.
This was going to be fun and Key Pen Parks Recreational Coordinator Jess Smeall was making sure it was for good reasons.
“Two reasons we do this,” Smeall said of the fun run and accompanying kids dash. “First, is to get kids out and about and have a physical experience that is positive. Second, to expose people in the community to our park.”
The park, 360 Trails, is nestled in wooded hills just off State Route 302, a few miles south of the Purdy Sand Spit. The 360-acre park ( “That is what its named for,” Smeall said with a laugh.) is a network of dirt trails that used to be managed by the DNR. Signs for timber sales can still be seen around the park.
“For many kids this is their first time” at a race event such as this, she said. “And half of the people here have never been to this park.”
Or, know that it even existed, as Troy Milles, of Tacoma, said, while he warmed up for the run.
“I never knew this park was here,” Milles said. “I heard about the race and I’m here supporting my community.”
Milles said he used to live on a small farm south of the Key Center. He still comes around, coordinating “Skate Night” at the Key Peninsula Civic Center.
“I’m definitely coming back (to the park),” he added, giving the park his personal endorsement.
Tom Boardman, who is on the Key Peninsula Civic Center board, echoed Milles’ support of the community saying: “We care about the community.”
His civic enthusiasm aside, Boardman said, “I’m bringing my bike back here to train for the STP (Seattle to Portland race) next year. The trails here are great.”
And with the hoot of a horn, dozens of runners and walkers — young and old — took off for the trails. The more serious competitors led the pack while the recreational participants leisurely followed behind.
But this was not all fun and games.
Kelly Egge, 19, of the Key Peninsula, was running to win.
“I know this is a fun run and all,” she explained. “But I want to win this. I’m going to do my best.”
Egge ran a strong race — finishing first among the women and second overall. She wanted the win. Not just because she likes the competition, but because for Egge this was a blessing.
“I shouldn’t be here,” she said.
A couple of years ago, Egge was in a horrific car crash — not knowing if she would walk again, let alone live.
“God is good,” she said. “You never realize how important your legs are.”
With this race she hopes to build on her dream of going to college on scholarship. She said she will be attending Everett Community College in the fall.
“They have a great coach,” she adds.
Perhaps with his coaching and her hard work, she said, she will catch the eye of someone at the university level.
In the end, to most people at the park, this was a chance to be outside with family. Eric Price-Paul, of the Key Peninsula, brought his four young children to spend half their Saturday here.
“They love it,” Price-Paul said. “They’ve been looking forward to this all week.”
For race results, go here: http://wp.me/p37rAm-1qV