LONG BEACH - What goes together better than peas and carrots or peanut butter and jelly? How about eating clam chowder after a walk on the beach?
On Saturday, June 14, the 26th Annual Beach to Chowder Walk or Run will take place in Long Beach starting at 9:30 a.m.
Previously this event was known as "The World's Longest Beach Run," but organizers felt the name was in need of changing.
"First of all there has been some debate over whether it is actually the world's longest beach," said race director Ralph Warner. "We also wanted the event to sound like similar events in the area."
Warner cited running events like "Hood to Coast" and "Sound to Narrows" as titles that inspired the new name. He said the run has always involved clam chowder so event coordinators wanted to incorporate the seafood stew into the title.
As it has in the past, this year's event has two distances for participants depending on skill level. Novice runners might want to try the 5K while more experienced competitors might choose the longer 10K race.
Awards will be given to the top three male and female runners from each age group starting at 12 noon at the Big Stage located behind the police station. The walk is noncompetitive, and walkers must finish the course to receive a bronze participation medallion.
Both distances start and end at the Bolstad beach approach at the north end of the Long Beach boardwalk. Contestants in the 5K will run to the south while participants in the 10K will run to the north. In both races, contestants will run half the distance, run around a marker and run back to the finish line. This way all race finishers will be in the same location to collect prizes and have a bowl of hot clam chowder to recoup and spend time with others before the awards are given out at noon.
Participants can register on the day of the event at the Super 8 Motel located at the corner of south 5th and Pacific Ave. in Long Beach, for a fee of $22 which includes a T-shirt and chowder after the race. A fee of $12 will be collected for runners who do not wish to order a T-shirt. Registration ends at 9 a.m., and no entries will be allowed after that time. The chowder feed starts at 10:45 a.m. and is provided free to race participants. Family members and other onlookers can partake of chowder for $2.50.
This year, the Fort Steilacoom running club of Tacoma will be donating the use of timing equipment. In years past the distance was measured by driving the beach and using a vehicle's odometer. This year the distance will be calculated using a GPS navigation system, and although it is not a TAC certified course, racers will benefit from more accurate distance measurements.
There were 334 people who took part in the event last year, and organizers hope to have a similar turnout this year. Dogs are permitted but must be on leash and under control.