Rotary Run Day is March 25

Record number of participants expected for event’s 35th year

Record number of participants expected for event’s 35th year

By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

The Mercer Island Rotary Run Day will be held March 25 in the downtown Mercer Island area and many changes are being made for the 35th running. The biggest change is the addition of a 10K run.

“I am new and naive,” said Sam Sullivan, who is an Island Rotarian and in his first year as the Run Day’s director. “We did some surveys to see what people wanted and the runners wanted a more serious race.”

The 10K will be considered a Bloomsday race qualifier and will be accompanied by a 5K run and walk for more leisurely competitors.

“We have many recreational walkers but we know that the qualifier for the runners is very important,” said Sullivan about the additions, which will replace the 8K walk and run.

The Run Day will also feature the traditional half-marathon run and Kids Dash.

The 10K will not close any more streets on Mercer Island as the 8K route was modified to go through Luther Burbank Park for the extra distance.

Another change is that the staging areas will be expanded to include Mercerdale Park. With the growth of the event more space was needed to fulfill the needs of sponsors and race participants.

“Our numbers have almost doubled in three years,” said Sullivan. “We are on a real upswing. There are growing challenges and a big thing to manage, but it is worth it.”

Last year the run had a record 3,166 participants and Sullivan said that race organizers would not be surprised to see the event reach the 4,000 mark this year.

The event is supported Virginia Mason, which heads up a group of companies helping to sponsor the event to benefit the Colon Cancer Awareness Campaign.

“Colon Cancer affects so many people and it is nice to do this to bring awareness to people,” said Sullivan.

King 5 television will help to bring awareness about the Run Day with Public Service Announcements. King 5 is in its third year as a sponsor for the event. Evening Magazine’s host, John Curley, will also be on hand. Blitz, the Seattle Seahawks mascot, will be on hand for the Kids Dash along with Sponge Bob Square Pants.

Organizing the event takes an army of volunteers and Sullivan expects to have at least 250 for the event, including 130 course marshals.

Sullivan replaces Bo Darling, who was the race’s director during the past four years, and is the new Mercer Island Rotary president.

“He did this for four years, longer than anyone else and that is saying something after 35 years,” said Sullivan. “There is a huge learning curve with this type of event.”

To register for the race go to or register on the day of the race at the Farmers Insurance building on Mercer Island.