Marathon gains steam

The number of competitors along with the level of competition kicked into a new, higher gear at Sunday’s fifth annual Whidbey Island Marathon and Half Marathon.

Close to 2,500 athletes from 36 states and five countries hit North and Central Whidbey roads, shattering the old attendance record.

“That’s nearly 1,000 more than we had last year,” race organizer Brian Oster said.

It wasn’t just the number of racers that broke records. The pace picked up significantly as Port Townsend’s Ian Fraser set a new record in the full 26.2 mile race by nearly 10 minutes, completing the hilly course in 2 hours, 30 minutes and 56 seconds.

“It was a challenge, but it certainly wasn’t an impossible course,” said Fraser, who normally competes in one or two marathons a year.

Becky Hofland, of Everett, won the women’s full race in 3:08:05.7.

Fraser and Hofland don’t simply get the satisfaction of victory, but both will get their faces put on Nature’s Path cereal boxes in the coming months. The organic foods company sponsored this year’s event for the first time.

“They also said I get a year’s worth of free cereal so that’s kind of nice,” Fraser said. “Free food is always welcomed in my house.”

Coupeville’s Dale Folkestad, 53, earned the highest local male finish in 27th place in a time of 3:29:28. Oak Harbor’s Megan Hall, 17, nabbed the highest local finish for the women in 17th place with a mark of 3:53:43.

The half marathon, which started at Olympic View Elementary, was won by Stefan Jakobsen of Nanimo, British Columbia in 1:11:37, while Lindsay McLaren of Calgary, Alberta won the women’s race in 1:19:56.

Oak Harbor’s Nikki Gamble finished second in the women’s half with a mark of 1:26:58, while Oak Harbor’s Julie Bolles was sixth at 1:33:50. The highest local male finisher was Chad Vetter, who took 41st at 1:35:44.

Oster said he was thrilled with the way the race turned out in its fifth year and only sees success continuing for year’s to come.

“We’ve gotten larger every year and I see no reason why that trend won’t continue,” he said. “Next year we expect 1,000 more people to come out.”

Top local finishers (top 100)

Full marathon (men): 27. Dale Folkestad, 3:29:28; 37. James Stellar, 3:35:09; 47. Willy Mendoza, 3:40:54; 72. Saturnino Bernardo, 3:56:32; 75. James Nelson, 3:58:27; 79. Cecil Rickman, 4:01:27; 81. Joe Faller, 4:02:55; 94. Brad Sandefur, 4:12:00.

Full marathon (women): 17. Megan Hall, 3:54:43; 38. Kristen Nelson, 4:21:54; 39. Elizabeth Little, 4:22:59; 44. Deborah Bukolt, 4:26:19; 68. Jennifer Meyer, 4:54:17.

Half marathon (men): 41. Chad Vetter, 1:35:44; 43. Garry Robinson, 1:36:05; 61. Daniel Saiku, 1:39:33; 81. Richard Autio, 1:42:19; 83. Eric Jensen, 1:42:48; 92. Eric Gilbert, 1:44:26; 98. Fran Einterz, 1:44:58.

Half marathon (women): 2. Nikki Gamble, 1:26:58; 6. Julie Bolles, 1:33:50; 12. Margaret McCleery, 1:37:25; 13. Amy Bolles, 1:37:49; 14. Holly Salinger, 1:37:51; 43. Debbie Gallo, 1:43:45; 61. Brittany Rowan, 1:46:08; 64. Erica Jensen, 1:46:36; 65. Claire Trepanier, 1:46:36; 66. Carolyn Vasquez, 1:46:58; 85. Laura Doyle, 1:49:11; 94. Sandy McMurtry, 1:50:14.

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