Runners can expect some big changes for this year’s Windermere Marathon on May 19.
For starters, there’s the starting line, which is moving from a deserted industrial complex in Post Falls to Liberty Lake.
“I think it’s a much nicer place to start, and now the entire marathon will be run in Eastern Washinton,” said new executive race director Elaine Koga-Kennelly explaining the change.
After starting at Rocky Hill Park in Liberty Lake, the course connects to the Centennial Trail and follows the Spokane River before finishing at the Howard Street Bridge in Riverfront Park. The new course is certified by the USA Track and Field Association and is a Boston Marathon qualifier.
Koga-Kennelly said she expects participation to grow from 1,550 last year to about 1,800 this year.
Other changes include:
• A USATF-certified half marathon. The start of the half marathon is at Mirabeau Park in Spokane Valley. From the start, the scenic course runs along the Centennial Trail, with the same finish area used by the marathon. With an overall elevation drop of over 100 feet, this fast course is also ideal for setting personal records.
• New amenities. These include an especially attractive long-sleeve microsmooth race shirt, a “blinged out” shining and spinning medal, a long-stemmed lilac rose to each finisher, a free victory stand photo of each finisher, and keepsake acrylic awards to the top three male and female finishers in each of the five-year age groups.
Celebrate at the post race party with hot food, beer garden and music festival.
• An upgraded Expo, which will be May 18 at the Spokane Convention Center. For more details, visit the event’s web page at www.windermeremarathon.com.
A native of San Francisco, Koga-Kennelly has run the San Francisco Marathon 17 times. Overall, Koga-Kennelly has finished 101 marathons and five ultras across the country and around the world.
She’s a member of the 100 Marathon Club North America, the Marathon Maniacs, as well as a member of the Bloomsday Road Runners Club in Spokane.