Snoqualmie man who fell short in Olympic trials wins Ore. marathon

Snoqualmie resident Sean Sundwall won the Newport Marathon in Oregon last month. Sundwall is helping organize more short races locally. - Courtesy photo
Snoqualmie resident Sean Sundwall won the Newport Marathon in Oregon last month. Sundwall is helping organize more short races locally.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Snoqualmie resident Sean Sundwall, whose efforts to make the U.S. Olympic running team were highlighted in the pages of the Valley Record last fall, made news in the regional running scene recently, winning a big road race in historic fashion.

Sundwall won the Newport Marathon in Oregon on Saturday, May 31 with a time of 2:22:47, breaking the old course record by approximately four minutes. He finished nearly 20 minutes ahead of his closest competitor, Billy Bonkus of West Linn, Ore.

Sundwall told the Valley Record by e-mail that this was his first-ever marathon victory. Winning the race by such a large margin, the victory proved to be a bit more difficult than one would expect.

“Despite the fact I train alone, it’s always an added challenge to run any race all alone,” Sundwall said. “Perhaps even sweeter than the victory itself was the fact I maintained the mental toughness to gut it out, despite not having any other runners to push me along in those final miles that can be so difficult.”

Last November, Sundwall ran in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York, but failed to qualify for the U.S. team that will be competing in Beijing this summer.

Following that race, Sundwall began training for the Newport event.

“After running in the Olympic Trials in November, I had to find something to keep me motivated and focused during the dark and dreary winter days we have here,” he said. “I had won at every other distance except the marathon so that became my new goal to train for.”

Sundwall plans on running another big race, the U.S. Marathon Championships, being held in Minneapolis this October. In the meantime, he wants to run shorter races locally, and is also getting into the promotional side of the sport, helping put together a group of races to be held in conjunction with Railroad Days in August.

Snoqualmie race

The races, a 10k, 5k, and a 1k kids’ run, will be held Saturday, Aug. 2, beginning at 9 a.m. on the streets of Snoqualmie, with the children’s run beginning immediately following the conclusion of the longer races at 10:30 a.m. To register for the races, pick up a form at most major businesses within the Valley, go online to, or there will be race day registration available on Aug. 2 between 7:30 and 8:45 a.m. The 10k and 5k runs cost $20 for adults 18 and over and $15 for kids to compete; the 1k children’s run, for children 11 and under and their parents, is free to enter. All registration for that race occurs on Aug. 2.

Runners in the 10k and 5k events will be competing for cash prizes and trophies. These events will be chip-timed. Following the races, there will be a prize raffle.

More information is available by going to the Web site. The event has a number of local sponsors, among them Costco, Quadrant Homes, Snoqualmie Casino, Foot Zone, Peak Sports and Spine Physical Therapy, and Talking Rain. The children’s 1K event sponsors include Snoqualmie Ridge Early Learning Center and Snoqualmie Valley Kids Dentist.

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