The route of the Whidbey 1/2 will take runners down West Beach Road where they will be greeted by views of the Pacific Ocean and snow-capped mountains on Sunday, April 25. (Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times)

The route of the Whidbey 1/2 will take runners down West Beach Road where they will be greeted by views of the Pacific Ocean and snow-capped mountains on Sunday, April 25. (Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times)

Runners to compete in Whidbey ½ next Sunday

Up to 600 runners will compete in the Whidbey ½ on Sunday, April 25, on the North End, and there are still spots available for those who want to join.

Up to 600 runners will compete in the Whidbey ½ on Sunday, April 25, on the North End, and there are still spots available for those who want to join.

The half marathon is a sister event to the Whidbey Island Marathon that organizers postponed until September because of COVID-19.

Organizers thought the new race was something they could do in the meantime for local runners.

“It would be a good way to attract people from all over the island, Anacortes and Bellingham, but not from all over the United States,” race organizer Jared Loranger said.

He also helps produce the Whidbey Island Marathon.

In the future, Loranger said organizers hope to hold the half marathon in September and full marathon in April.

There are about 50 spots left for the 13.1-mile race. It begins and ends at Oak Harbor High School. Runners will make a loop starting at Swantown Road, going south to West Hastie Lake Road, down West Beach Road and head back to the high school via Crosby Road.

Runners will be treated to views of Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains and sweeping farmland on parts of the course. Loranger said West Beach Road is likely his favorite spot of the route.

“Once you hit West Beach Road, it’s a pretty easy choice,” he said. “I like it because obviously, the water views are pretty unique.”

He noted that the Whidbey Island Marathon used to run in the area about 12-14 years ago, and some runners have already said how excited they are for the change of scenery. As an added bonus, they will be running downhill during this race.

The race begins at 8 a.m. In an effort to social distance, only 10 runners will be allowed to start every three minutes. Loranger said start times would run until the last wave at 11 a.m. Runners will need to wear a mask at the start line but can take it off after they begin the race.

“It’s very socially distant by nature besides the start line,” Loranger said.

Only the northbound land of Heller Road from Swantown Road to Wildcat Way will be closed for about three-quarters of a mile. It will be reopened after the last runner crosses it at approximately 11:15 a.m. The race will end at 1 p.m.

There is also a virtual option for those who would prefer to stay solo. Runners can sign up online and complete the course on their own, and race swag will be mailed.

Registration costs $80 for the in-person race until April 23 and $65 for the virtual race until April 25.

For more information visit www.runsignup.com/Race/Info/WA/OakHarbor/TheWhidbeyHalf.

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