North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Berry Run returns to Tulalip


Andrew Hines

Participants in the one-mile Berry Run take off at the Tulalip Amphitheatre on June 12.

The Marysville Strawberry Festival has been around for 85 years and through decades of tradition, many different events have been developed throughout the history of week-long festivities. One of the biggest events is the Berry Run.

"I don't know when it first started, but it's been around since I was in high school, so it's been around 35-plus years. It's been hosted in different places. It's been run down State Avenue, downtown Marysville, Smokey Point, and now it's down here at Tulalip," said Jeff Sowards, Lakewood cross country coach and event coordinator.

The Berry Run includes a one-mile walk/run and a 5K walk/run with multiple classifications of age groups. These age groups determine placing when the ribbons are handed out at the end of the day.

The Arlington Eagles cross country team was among the many people who showed up for the 5K and Pieter Andrews, Noah Loftis and Kevin Mullin took first, second and third place, respectively, in the 13-19 age group. Also, in the 30-39 classification Arlington was represented once again with a first-place ribbon by their cross country coach Jon Murray.

It is much more than winning ribbons and competing for himself. Murray said it's about, "Taking what I've learned from my mentor, people like Jeff Sowards, and being able to pass that on to the next generation of kids. To show a passion for running, getting better, improving yourself, and transferring that into other parts of our lives is the best thing about it."

Andrew Hines

Besides providing competition and community involvement, all the proceeds from the Berry Run go to the benefit of non-profits. This year the organizations were the Seattle Children's Hospital Strong Against Cancer, Lakewood Education Foundation and Lakewood Sports Booster Club.

"I think it's important that we're always active. You know, whether it's running, cycling, canoeing or any type of activity. If we can provide an opportunity for people who run on their own or at the gym, and give them a chance to compete, then I think that's a good service. And just having fun. It's a fun run, with the addition of being able to help out some nonprofits," said Sowards.


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