WASHOUGAL — It was wasn’t exactly a normal road running event. But, then again, when is the Scary Run ever normal?
About 300 participants took part in the Scary Run 5K and 10K runs on Saturday morning, the first live event hosted by WhyRacing in 2020.
“We’ve been racing virtually all year,” Why Racing president Sherri McMillan said. “But it’s kind of anticlimactic because you don’t get the race-day energy, getting to see people and feeling like we’re together and we’re doing this. Virtual is better than nothing, but there’s nothing like the actual live experience.”
The live experience is what drew Larry Klobertanz of Vancouver.
“It’s great to be around all these people again,” Klobertanz said. “I’ve been running a lot alone. This has been great. It’s great that WhyRacing was able to put this on.”
The event drew a wide spectrum of participants, many dressed in costumes for Halloween. There was a Joe Exotic, a unicorn, penguin, a family of skeletons and wide variety of superheroes.
Klobertanz and his daughter Lauren completed the 5K dressed as two aliens from the movie “Toy Story.” He said the race was different than past years, but still enjoyable.
“You still see people out there and you pass them and they pass you in the opposite direction,” he said. “So you still see people. They’re just not as many obviously.”
But the event also drew serious runners, including several high school cross country runners, and even serious runners dressed in costume. Josh Saeman of Hockinson was the live event runner-up dressed as a whoopie cushion.
“We’ve got some people who are all about the costume,” McMillan said. “You know, it’s Halloween. And then there’s other people, cross country runners who have not been able to race all season and they’re itching to get out here and race and feel that competitive spirit. So we have a lot of really competitive athletes as well. It’s a really fun mix.”
The influx of younger runners was very evident on Saturday. Of the top 28 times posted in Saturday’s live event, 26 were run by participants 18 years old or younger.
Nicholas Marty, 17, a Toledo High senior from Vader, posted the top time in the 5-kilometer of 17 minutes, 10 seconds. Alexis Leone, a 14-year-old Seton Catholic freshman from Camas, was third overall and the top female finisher in 17:59. Sam Soto, a 13-year-old from Vancouver, posted the top overall time in the 10K in 39:04.
McMillan said she was pleased with how everyone followed the safety protocols. Masks — and not just the decorative kind — were required before runners hit the course and after they returned. Athletes had to pass a health check before entering a staging area. Then they were sent out in waves of three every minute for a three-hour period.
“There’s not a lot people getting too close together like a normal race when we all start at the same time,” McMillan said. “We’ve been saying this feels way safer than going to the grocery, which we’ve all been doing for the last few months.”
McMillan said she hoped Saturday event will serve a launching point for more live running events later this year.
“We hold the Santa’s Run in December, and we’d love to hold that one live,” she said. “You see all these people today in costume. Well, at the Santa’s Run, everyone dresses as Santa. If we can get a few hundred people dressed as Santa out running together, that would be awesome.”