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Sound to Narrows

 •  5 min read

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Darren Rivers

Long-time Gig Harbor resident and realtor. Darren has raised two kids in town and helped hundreds of clients buy and sell real estate here.

About Author

Where: Point Defiance Park to Tacoma Narrows Bridge

When: 2nd Saturday in June

Cost: Adults $35-50, Youth $10, 5-12 $5, Tots 4 and younger free

The largest and most notable run event in Western Washington is the Sound to Narrows, which technically is a Tacoma road race, modeled after San Fransisco’s Bay to Breakers race, but since it is located so close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge I think most “Harborites” consider it a Gig Harbor event also.

The run draws 1,000s Gig Harbor participants, spectators, and people from all over the region. The iconic 12k/5k race boasts spectacular views and has been going since 1973!

This popular event acts as the South Sound’s traditional kick-off to summer and is the state’s oldest 12k run.

What You Need to Know

This growing event now includes the original 12k run, a 12k walk, a 12k military-run, a 5k run and walk, a 2k sprint for kids, and the Mary Bridge Children’s PT challenge. With numerous hills, it offers a challenging course.

There’s something for everyone. In recent years they even added a diaper dash.

Run fees for adults are $35-50 depending on the time of registration, for youth 18 and under $10, and for children 5-12 are $5. This includes a collectible t-shirt, running bib, and timer.

The courses are certified by a complicated process to assure that they meet the acceptable distances 10K, 12K, etc. Take note because of the hills in the S2N it is very difficult to compare it to any other 12K course.

Currently the course mainly takes place within the confines of Pt. Defiance Park and doesn’t run through the city with all the road closures of the past. This makes for a beautiful and safe run route.

Over 4,000 participants plus spectators culminate in a large end-of-the-run event featuring live music, vendors, celebratory fun, and exuberant crowds relishing their accomplishments and those of friends and family.

The length of this course allows for many viewing spots for spectators to gather.

S2N is a very well-organized event that involves an army of volunteers, shirts and swag for all participants, and plenty of port-a-potties and water stations. After over 50 years, it continues to grow and shows no signs of ending.

S2N has always been a charitable run related to health and wellness throughout its history. Since 2003 this tradition has been run by Multicare and benefits various community health and wellness programs.

Women running in Sound to Narrows Marathon

History

In 1973 a Tacoma News Tribune Sports writer, Dick Kunkle had the foresight to start a run in his hometown after seeing the popularity of San Fransisco’s race. The reason it took foresight is this was prior to when running and marathons became mainstream in popularity. This allowed the Sound to Narrows to get a “head-start” (pardon the pun) by being one of the first of it’s kind in Washington State.

It took a lot of effort to get the city to agree to it and a risk for those first sponsors, including The News Tribune, Peirce County Parks and the Metropolitan Park District. They probably wouldn’t have imagined it would be going strong nearly 51 years later with thousands of participants of all abilities enjoying a run for fun every June.

Tacoma loves it’s marathons, races, runs and walks and holds numerous events throughout the year. For more info check out the Tacoma City Marathon Association.

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