Mercer Island Half Marathon runners wind along Lid Park in the final mile of the race in 2017. Matt Brashears/File photo

Mercer Island Half Marathon runners wind along Lid Park in the final mile of the race in 2017. Matt Brashears/File photo

Mercer Island Half is March 24

The event also features a 10K, 5K and Kids’ Dash.

It’s time to break out the running (or walking) shoes — the Mercer Island Half Marathon is approaching.

Competitive athletes, recreational runners, walkers and active families will come together on March 24 for the annual event, which kicks off Puget Sound’s running season.

It offers something for everyone, including the Swedish Cancer Institute Half Marathon Run and Half Marathon Walk around Mercer Island, the 10K Run (a Bloomsday second seed qualification run), the 5K Run/Walk, and the non-competitive Kids’ Dash (for children age 10 and younger). The event is USATF (USA Track and Field) sanctioned and all routes are USATF certified.

Sponsored by the Swedish Cancer Institute and put on by the Rotary Club of Mercer Island, the event welcomes more than 3,500 runners to the Island from throughout the region, and raises funds for colon cancer prevention and Rotary charities.

“This is a legacy event to showcase our Rotary service and Mercer Island community,” this year’s race director Wendy Weiker wrote in an email.

Local gym MI Athletic Club put together the official training plans for the Half Marathon and BMW Seattle 10K, which begin Feb. 11. Participants can sign up to run at any level they want, either individually or with a team.

Those who don’t want to run can still come volunteer, support runners and celebrate the community, Weiker said. The run is meant to be a fun and family-friendly activity and fundraiser for “healthy family” causes.

It aligns with the Rotary Club’s mission, which is “service above self.”

“In the Pacific Northwest, we are particularly proud of our ongoing commitment of funding and member volunteer time to Rotary First Harvest, Tiny Houses, Music Mends Minds and Tutoring in Rainier Valley,” Weiker wrote.

This year, the race organizers are sharing the story of Susie Lindquist Mjelde, who at 46 left behind a husband and three kids when she died of colon cancer.

She believed we can all make a difference by raising awareness around colon cancer in a “live life” manner rather than just “talking about it over coffee.” Her family and friends, with the assistance of leading health organizations, helped form the Colon Cancer Coalition to honor Susie’s commitment to preventing others from sharing her fate. It was Susie who came up with the phrase “Get Your Rear in Gear,” which now includes running events around the nation that raise funds to support the Colon Cancer Coalition’s mission.

Some discounts on registrations are available. Seniors (60 and older) will automatically receive $5 off on each event when a participant enters his/her age during the online registration process. Active duty military members can receive discounted event pricing by selecting the Active Military Registration category on the GetMeRegistered link.

See www.mercerislandhalf.com for more.

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