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'Fun Run' organizers set to make their final lap

For the past 17 years, the Fall City Days Fun Run has been an integral part of the town's annual Fall City Days celebration.

That's in no small part due to the efforts of the organizers of the event, Cindy Sattler, Barb Lewis and Julie Meador. Involved for 17, 16 and eight years, respectively, the three have decided to retire after this year's run, to be held June 17 during Fall City Days.

"We're just ready to move on to other volunteer opportunities," Lewis said. "When you've been involved for so long, it's hard to look at what you could do differently sometimes. We've taken this probably as far as we can go."

Involved with Fall City Days for about 20 years, Sattler, who is the head secretary at Mount Si High School, said she started working with the Fun Run at its inception 17 years ago.

With her three sons (now 26, 23 and 20) in school at the time and her fellow community members getting involved, Sattler wanted to help, too. She first served as the treasurer of Fall City Days and then took on the role of Fun Run director.

"I think Fall City Days is still one of those really fun small-town events where everybody can participate," Sattler said. "I really want to stay involved [after stepping down], but I think the race needs some fresh eyes and new ideas."

Lewis, who works in telecommunications and has a 20-year-old son and a sophomore daughter at Mount Si, became co-director of the Fun Run in 1990, sharing event-coordination responsibilities with Sattler.

"I just wanted to get involved in the community," she said, noting that over the years, "Cindy and I watched the race grow and grow each year and [experienced] the increased time and effort it takes to put on this type of event."

About eight years ago, the duo contemplated stepping down. Then Julie Meador moved to the Valley.

Having just arrived, Meador said she was looking for a way to be involved in her new town.

"I came along and said, 'I'll help,'" said Meador, who works part time in retail, noting that she was able to take on enough work to keep Sattler and Lewis motivated.

"We realized right away that the three of us had a lot of fun coordinating this event together as friends, so we decided to continue on for eight more years," Lewis said.

During that time, Meador also became involved with Mount Si's parent-group Wildcat Inspiration Network (WIN) while her sons (now 21 and 19) were in school. (Race proceeds have been donated to WIN since 1992.)

The Fun Run takes a lot of work, Meador said.

Organization for the run begins in September and involves lining up sponsors, keeping up with deadlines and timelines, securing funding, developing advertising, developing art and more. The race itself is paid for through sponsorship and runner fees.

"It isn't something that's just a volunteer job on the day of the race," Lewis said. "It's something you work on almost during the whole year ... There have been times when it's been very overwhelming."

The first year the race hosted about 100 participants, Sattler recalled. Now it averages about 850 runners annually.

"On race day, the event itself goes so fast and it's so much fun and people are there to have a good time," Sattler said. "That feeling is infectious ... it feels good that it's a very well-run race."

Over the years, the group has developed new ideas and ways to accommodate the event to make it more inviting for both locals and those from out of town. For example, they changed their refreshments based on runner preference and incorporated a timing chip attached to a runner's shoe to track times for increased accuracy and faster results.

"One of the biggest things is that the race can grow and change with every new idea," Lewis said.

They said they are confident that the six new people taking over their responsibilities will be able to make the race even better.

The new co-directors are Lisa King, Julie Steil, Gloria Sullivan, Deric Villanueva, Debbie Roddewig and De Hamann.

"They have grown this thing to be a well-run and very professional type of event," said Villanueva, former WIN president.

"I think right now we're just hoping to maintain the same level of service and organization and professionalism," he added. "Our hope in the future is to grow the event to a larger amount of runners [and] more sponsorship, but I don't anticipate any major changes."

In preparation for this year's race, the six new directors have been shadowing Meador, Lewis and Sattler since last fall.

Next year, they will become the principle coordinators but Meadow, Lewis and Sattler will still oversee the operation to make sure things continue to run smoothly.

"[We] have all said that we want to continue to be involved," Sattler said. "It'll just be nice to not wake up in the middle of the night and bolt out of bed because we forgot to do something."

The Fall City Days 17th annual 5K and 10K Fun Run and the 5K Walk (USA Track and Field certified) will be held June 17, with the first call for runners at 8:45 a.m. The flat race will begin at Fall City's Olive Taylor Quigley Park and continue east along the Snoqualmie River following Neal Road in Fall City.

Online registration will be accepted until 11 p.m. on June 15. Day-of-race registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

For complete race information or to register, see the Fall City Days insert in this week's edition of the Valley Record or visit www.racecenter.com/fallcity.

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