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Downtown Olympia Gears Up for Capital City Marathon Weekend

Capital City Marathon Weekend is May 18-19, 2019

The year was 1984. The United States held the first Olympic marathon for women, and the trial was hosted right here in Olympia on May 12, 1984. Joan Benoit Samuelson was the winner of the race and went on to win a gold medal in the marathon in the Olympics that year. To commemorate the 35th Anniversary of this historic event, she will be here in Olympia on May 18 -19 at the 38th running of the Capitol City Marathon and participating in several of the weekend’s events. 

CCMA President Judy Hartmann says, “We are so excited to be one of Joan’s hosts and commemorate this milestone. Back when I was in high school, there were really not that many athletic programs for women.” Times have changed, however, and Olympia expects to see over 2,200 finishers of all backgrounds among the marathon, half marathon, 5-mile race and Kid’s Race taking place that weekend.

Hartmann has served on the CCMA board for 27 years and formerly led the training group. A runner for over 30 years, she has completed hundreds of events including 17 marathons and 35 half marathons. Hartmann had a long career in education, first teaching in Tumwater and then working as a State Education Advisor. She currently serves as a trustee at South Puget Sound Community College. Hartmann is responsible for the CCMA's awards and works with event sponsors among other race activities.

“The Capital City Marathon Association originally offered only the marathon distance (26.2 miles), but over the years, we’ve added the other races,” says Hartmann. There’s a free Kid’s Run that takes place on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at Capitol Lake. The race is 1.2 miles and leading up to it, kids can log their first 25 miles as they run them before May 18th, then finish the final 1.2 miles in the Kid's Run and receive a special prize, which can be really fun for them.”

“We’ve been lucky to have local businesses sponsor the Kid’s Race, and are thankful to this year’s sponsor, Prentice Financial Planning,” she says. The Kid's Run is free of charge, but registration is required. All kids participating receive a T-shirt, ribbon, and some other treats at the end.

“I think what really sets this marathon apart from others is the commitment we have to focus specifically on the runners, their needs and feedback. This means we insist on safe, certified race courses. We provide technical running shirts to participants. We were the first marathon in Washington to use chip timing so runners would get precise running results. We strive to be a good steward of the environment and developed a partnership with Dart Container Company to provide thousands of recyclable cups. Through the generosity of our sponsors, we provide lots of water on the course, good food at the finish, and photos for our runners. Most importantly, we have over 500 community volunteers, some of whom have been with us for decades, to assist our runners," says Hartmann.

Hartmann did not become a serious runner until her mid-thirties. To those considering become runners or training for a marathon, she offers the following advice: “We all start at the beginning. For anyone interested, we offer a training group that meets from January until the week before the marathon. It helps to have a “base,” or starting point from which to continue. Find a friend who’s completed a marathon before and join a training group. It’s nice to have someone to help you develop your plan.” 

Marathon activities take place the weekend of May 18 -19. The race starts and finishes downtown Olympia at Sylvester Park on Washington Street. For registration, additional information and event schedule, visit:

Visitors to Olympia for the Marathon can visit the following for dining and lodging information:

Olympia Downtown Alliance

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