More than 1,200 people laced up their shoes and hit the road running Saturday morning as part of the Whidbey Island Marathon, half marathon, 10k or 5k.
Marathon runners took off from Pass Lake just after dawn, most in great spirits and sporting big smiles as they crossed Deception Pass Bridge, enjoying the beginning of the run and the spectacular vista provided by Mother Nature.
In all 138 runners competed in the 15th annual Whidbey Island Marathon. In the end, Steve Vesbach of Seattle won the race with a time of 2 hours, 44 minutes. Best local finisher was Oak Harbor resident Andrew Wyman, who took fourth place with a time of 2 hours, 57 minutes, 42 seconds. Top female finisher was Martha Scheler of Chicago, Ill., with a time of 3 hours, 36 minutes, 42 seconds.
An hour after the marathon began, 727 participants took off from Coronet Bay Road and Bayshore Lane to start the half marathon. Seattle resident Luke Shy took top honors in the half marathon with a winning time of just under 1 hour, 25 minutes. Kristi Houk of Port Orchard finished first for the women and third overall with a time of 1 hour, 25 minutes, 37 seconds. Oak Harbor’s Benjamin Gasper came in 30 seconds later to claim fourth place.
Oak Harbor resident Tony Moralez took first place in the 10k run with a time just over 39 minutes and teen Jaden Krauser won the 5k with a time of 21 minutes,35 seconds. For the women, Margaret Chute of Seattle came in third in the 10k and Bambee Garfield of Mill Creek claimed third place in the 5k.
There were 204 participants in the 10k and 174 in the 5k. And, of the more than 1,200 participants, 881 were women.
The races ended near Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor, where there was live music and activities for all ages, including a 1k fun run. The marathon was founded in 2001 by John Kaiser and is now run by the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge.
The Whidbey Island Marathon is the first race in the Salish Sea Series, which includes the North Olympic Discovery Marathon June 5 in Port Angeles and the Bellingham Bay Marathon Sept. 25 in Bellingham.