Whidbey Island Marathon regains iconic Deception Pass Bridge use
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
April 10, 2012 · Updated 2:35 PM
This year, participants in the Whidbey Island Marathon on Sunday, April 15 will again enjoy the thrill of running across the scenic and historic Deception Pass Bridge at the start of the popular event.
Marathon participants had the opportunity to run across the bridge years ago, but this will be the first time the bridge will be included in the route since the city of Oak Harbor purchased the marathon several years ago. However, some early-morning motorists may not be so happy: It means the bridge will be briefly closed on the morning of April 15.
Tamra Sipes, the city’s marathon organizer, said that getting a permit from the state to run the marathon across the bridge involved a lot of work and many meetings. But it just didn’t seem right to have a marathon start at Deception Pass without letting participants run across the famous bridge.
Dave Chessom, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the state issues such permits on a case-by-basis. For the marathon, he said the organizers are taking several steps — including running a shuttle service for participants — to ensure the shortest closing time.
The marathon takes runners and walkers on rolling country back roads and breathtaking waterfront coastlines. The Whidbey Island Marathon was named in the “Top 10 Places To Run A Marathon” in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2010.
This year, the 5K Fun Run/Walk is on Saturday, April 14, while the marathon and half marathons are on Sunday, April 15.
Sipes said the event is on track to attract approximately 1,800 participants, which is about the same as recent years.
“People have been signing up like crazy now that the weather is so nice,” she said, adding that it’s not expected to be windy or raining this weekend.
In addition, nearly 500 volunteers will be involved to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Sipes encourages everyone in the community to attend the free Expo. More than 30 vendors, including some major companies, will show their wares and hand out goodies to all. Packet pick-up for all registered participants will be held at the Expo, along with registration for any new marathon or half marathon participants. The Expo is located at the North Whidbey Middle School from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, April 14.
More than $5,000 will be awarded to the top male and female finishers of the full and half marathon events. All marathon and half marathon finishers will receive a long-sleeve tech shirt, a finisher’s medal, loads of food as well as an opportunity to enjoy the live band and party at the finish line.
The 5K Fun Run/Walk, which includes a finisher medal to all along with a goodie bag, will be held on Saturday morning at Flintstone Park at 9 a.m. on April 14.
Registrations and more information about the marathon can be found at City Hall in Oak Harbor or online at
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.