Runners head toward Fort Casey during last year’s Race the Reserve. This year’s event is set for Aug. 12. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Parents prepare for 2017 Race the Reserve

Race the Reserve, one of the island’s most popular running events, returns to Central Whidbey Saturday, Aug. 12.

The race, in its seventh year, is the primary fundraiser by the Coupeville High School senior parents, and the proceeds are used to provide a safe and sober graduation night celebration for the class of 2018.

“The event is shaping up quite nicely,” race chairperson Deb Smith said. “Everything is on track for another great year.”

In the past, Race the Reserve featured a half-marathon, 10K and 5K. This year, a marathon and marathon relay have been added.

The area’s only marathon, the Whidbey Island Marathon, takes place on the north end of the island.

“We wanted to expand that opportunity for marathoners to enjoy Central Whidbey as well,” Smith said.

Other changes will be an earlier start time to avoid the August heat and the inclusion of health and fitness vendors, a pre-race pancake feed and a post-race massage therapist.

The class of 2018 is expected to help with the event, and Smith said the seniors are “a great group of kids” and “have been involved in various parts of the preparation and many have already committed to a full day on race day.”

In addition, 50 volunteers are needed and currently 30 are signed up. Those wishing to help can email

Smith said a core group of parents (Dawn Hesselgrave, Beth Stout, Lisa Toomey-Stout, Jennifer Wynn, Connie Lippo and Kali Barrio) “have been working hard the past 10 months” to help organize the event.

Also, Kerry Rosencranz, Abbie Martin, Elizabeth Bitting and Deb Savalza “have played important roles in making this event come together,” Smith said.

The parents see this run as more than a fundraiser.

“It is definitely a community event,” Smith said. “We are fortunate that we have such an incredibly supportive community. Their sponsorship is a huge part of what makes Race the Reserve a successful event, and we are so thankful for their contribution every year.”

Organizing the race takes plenty of time and effort, but the parents, with help from the students, are willing to put in the work to provide a memorable graduation experience, according to Smith.

While Race the Reserve is the biggest fundraiser, it isn’t the only one organized by the senior parents.

The group sponsored a rummage sale July 1 and will have a date night/babysitting night, Halloween 5K fun run, a formal gown fashion show and sale, and a father/daughter dance.