350 brave harsh spring weather for Beach to Chowder

<I>TIMM COLLINS photo</I><BR>Some sled dogs forgot their sled Saturday as runners overcame an inch of rain during the Beach to Chowder run or walk.

LONG BEACH - Clams are very hearty animals. They are tough and chewy, make very good eating, and by making their home within the oceanic coastline, they live in some of the world's harshest environments.

Runners and walkers joined together Saturday as part of the Beach to Chowder walk or run formerly known as the "The World's Longest Beach Run" and got a good first-hand look at the rainy-windy-cold weather and driving surf that clams call home.

Almost 350 people braved pounding weather for this year's event - a slightly larger number than last year.

The timing devices, contributed by the Ft. Steilacoom running club, failed in nearly an inch of precipitation that took place during the race, and race organizers had to revert to hand timing.

One of the most inspiring entrants in this year's event was Jarod Wanke of Klipsan Beach. At almost 11 years of age, Wanke was the youngest runner to finish the 10K event - and he did it running less than 10 minute miles. Wanke finished the race in a time of 1:01:43.

Wanke was one of many to spend time training with Ilwaco High School track coach Joe Williams over the past five weeks in preparation for the race. Fifteen to 20 students from Hilltop Elementary and IHS spent about an hour with coach Williams two days a week training on Black Lake trail.

After the race, contestants and onlookers were treated to the music of Greg Parke and clam chowder provided by the Cottage Bakery before awards were given out by Don Parsons, president of the Long Beach Merchants Association, organizers Sherry Hash, Gary Wilson and Ralph Warner, Loyalty Court members Lacie Bolden and Bethany Beckerle and Sonshine the Clown (A.K.A. Kathy Markham).

Organizers wish to thank the many people that volunteered during the race, the city of Long Beach, Ft. Steilacoom running club and everyone who volunteered during the race.

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