Successful marathon showcases Whidbey as a travel destination | Publisher's Column

Congratulations to the City of Oak Harbor on a marathon well done.

The 13th annual event drew more than 3,000 people to run along Whidbey Island’s scenic roads. And with many of those 3,000 participants came family and friends to cheer them on.

That’s a pretty hefty number of visitors.

Other than closure of Deception Pass Bridge for a short time on Sunday morning, the race resulted in few inconveniences for island residents.

And like crossing the finish line, that’s an achievement in itself.

Not only has the event doubled in participation from just a year ago, but the weather turned perfect  in time for the race, as if on cue.

This year’s marathon didn’t happen without a lot of hard work and a dedicated organizer, Race Director Tamra Sipes.

Sipes, who also organizes the annual Festival of Trees fundraising banquet for Big Brother Big Sisters of Island County, can easily be declared a winner herself, having produced this amazing event.

Although having such a large number of people descend on the community for a day may lead to some traffic delays and other aggravations, the payoff to the community as a whole is a great one.

The marathon put Whidbey Island at center stage, and it is undoubtedly going to prompt the return of many of the participants as tourists.

On social media, race participants are singing the praises of the event, and that’s word of mouth that can only bring dividends in the long run.

On the blog FlipKey.com, the Whidbey Island Marathon is listed as one of the “top 50 States Series,” and touted as “worth traveling for.”

It goes without saying, when people visit the community, they spend money on food, lodging, art and much more.

This year’s marathon is clearly a feather in the cap for Sipes, the City of Oak Harbor and the people of this community.

Keven R. Graves is executive editor and publisher of the Whidbey News-Times. He can be reached via email at kgraves@whidbeynewsgroup.com

Flipkey Top 50: http://www.flipkey.com/blog/2014/04/09/50-states-series-top-marathons-races-worth-traveling-for/

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