The end is nigh. I’m talking, of course, about the final days of summer—which, around these parts, typically contain sunny days, chilly nights and just enough sultry warmth to fool us all into thinking the season will stick around forever. But before the leaves bombard the terra firma and the rain pounds us into seasonal submission, there’s still plenty to do in the great outdoors. Following are three races that, at the tail end of the season, give area athletes a good excuse to get moving.
First up is the Fairhaven Runners Waterfront 15K, which features what are arguably some of the best views in Bellingham. The 9.3-mile course begins—and ends—at the Fairhaven Village Green, and continues on to Taylor Street Dock, Boulevard Park, downtown and the marina (and back). But that’s not all. After working up a sweat, racers are invited to a post-race party complete with food, live music, an awards ceremony and, for those who might be a little sore after expending themselves, complimentary massages and chiropractic care. “Join the Fairhaven Runners Waterfront 15K once and you’ll make it a staple of your annual race diet,” organizers say. There’s no day-of registration and participants are capped at 1,000, so time is running out to get involved. When: 8:30am Sat., Sept. 8. Cost: $20-$25. More info: http://www.fairhavenrunners.com or www.cob.org
When Sunday, Sept. 9 rolls around, those who participated in the waterfront run may or may not be too tired to take part in the 10th annual Ride 542, whose arduous ascent starts in Glacier and—4,300 feet later—ends at the scenic Artist Point. “It winds up and along the Nooksack River, through giant old-growth cedar groves dripping with vibrant moss, passes under calving glaciers and countless stunning peaks, past the famous Mt. Baker Ski Area to finish at the awe-inspiring Artist Point,” says the event’s website. What’s really cool, however, is that, for the duration of the recreational and competitive ride, the 24.5 miles of the Mt. Baker Highway where the race takes place are shut down to automobile traffic, making for a once-a-year opportunity to take in the sights unencumbered by the need to keep an eye out for vehicles. If you can power through the investment of sweat equity required to make it to the top of the course, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views and a whole lot of scenic splendor. When: 9:30am Sun., Sept. 9. Where: Glacier. Cost: $38-$78. More info: http://www.norka.us
While it’s a given that fish can’t ride bicycles, run on two legs or paddle a kayak, those who started the Bellingham Traverse 10 years ago wanted to make sure those taking part in the multi-sport race knew the event was meant to simulate—and celebrate—the lifecycle of wild salmon and the natural and urban challenges they encountered on their life’s journey. While the event gives props to the iconic fish, it also raises money for local nonprofits that are working hard to ensure the quality of life in our area remains one that encourages those who reside here to stick around. This year’s event will raise funds for the Kulshan Community Land Trust, which provides affordable housing to area residents. Sounds good to me—and I’m sure the salmon would approve, as well. When: 12pm Sat., Sept. 15. Where: Depot Market Square and Boundary Bay Brewery. Cost: $65 (single) to $200 (team). More info: http://www.bellinghamtraverse.com
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