Dawg Dash 5K – University of Washington

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Dawg Dash

A few years ago, we took a trip to Seattle over a long weekend in October to visit some good friends. When they asked why we had Monday off, they learned all about Canadian Thanksgiving! In fact, they pulled together an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner for us to celebrate. It was really special.

So when we got invited down to Seattle to ‘formally’ celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this year, how could we resist? Once the plans were made, our host Wendy registered the whole family for that weekend’s race…the University of Washington Dawg Dash!

Timothy took care of Dawg Dash package pickup at the University on Saturday afternoon. Included in registration was a comfy long-sleeved tech shirt, which I have really enjoyed. All of us had signed up for the 5K except Aaron, who ambitiously decided to go all-out and run the 10K. Because the race didn’t start until 9:30am, we had a fairly leisurely morning with coffee and a few pre-race jitters.

We arrived at the University of Washington campus with time to spare.

We gathered in the central plaza known as Red Square, a wide expanse of brick surrounded by some magnificent buildings. The place was packed with people and dogs, and vendors hawking their wares.

The Dawg Dash is hosted by the UW Alumni Association and sponsored by Alaska Airlines. If you’re wondering about the name, it’s all about the Washington Huskies! Harry the Husky is the mascot for all intercollegiate sports and all students are Huskies! This is one, big, fun school event!

Dawg Dash

Aparna, Nobu and I cheered on Aaron as he headed out for the Dawg Dash 10K, then got ourselves ready for the 5K start. Looking around, there were some very speedy-looking people toeing to line, but we were keen and hung out not far behind them. 

The closest I’d been to the University of Washington campus was back when I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon, and very nearly missed the start of the race! Now I had my chance to experience the campus without the stress of arriving just as the national anthem was being sung!

The route took us north up Memorial Way to the campus entrance – we then made two quick lefts and started a rapid downhill along 15th Avenue. Quite a few runners/walkers had brought their dogs. At this point, a doberman sprinted past with its owner in tow – a fit looking guy who was struggling to keep up the pace of his speedy pup!

We veered back onto campus then, a long slow curve on a tree-lined boulevard. My favourite bit of the course took us up and around Drumheller Fountain, where a band was playing Louie Louie and folks were dancing and cheering. It was joyful and inspiring.

I can’t really describe the rest of the course except to say that we weaved in and out of some beautiful campus buildings, past a garden that had been recently fertilized (phew!), and then up an unexpectedly steep hill. In reality, it was probably only about a 30 metre elevation gain, but that late in a short race it seemed interminable.

Dawg Dash

At the peak of the hill, a sharp left and it was the final sprint to the finish line! The announcer was gleefully calling out everyone’s name (I heard mine!) and the crowds were cheering with abandon. I got my adorable husky-shaped medal, grabbed a bagel and a banana, and circled back to watch my friends complete their races.

Unexpectedly, a gentleman collapsed just steps from the finish line. Within moments, first aid attendants were there – and then an ambulance and fire truck arrived. Runners were still coming in, dodging the scene – but it was anxious and awkward. Finally, they loaded him on a gurney and headed off…I hope everything turned out OK.

Everyone regrouped to celebrate their successes! A couple of folks had completed this as their very first 5K, and it was just a great experience for all.

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying food, friends and family. Our hosts put on a tremendous Canadian Thanksgiving banquet – nearly two dozen guests joined in the festivities, a playlist of Canadian musicians serenaded us in the background, and there was even a Canadian flag flying proudly in the backyard.

Thank you to Wendy, Tim & Morgan for a wonderful Seattle weekend!

Final Results

Chip Time: 23:55
Place Overall: 82/2185
Gender Place: 67/846
Place in Age Category (45-49): 7/75

For complete race results, click here

Dash Dash

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