Seattle is famous for grunge rock, fantastic coffee, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Seahawks and spectacular views wherever you turn your head. The Emerald City can slip into a pair of running shoes and throw a party on the pavement, too. Come June 9 and 10, thousands of runners will descend upon Bill Gates’ hometown as the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon celebrates its 10th year. Some 187 men and women have earned the right to be dubbed Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle legacy runners, having sweated their way to the finish line the previous nine years in either the marathon or half marathon.
Who are those legacy runners? Here’s a look at four with tales from 10 years to tell.
“I was a cocky high school kid,” recalls McCrossin, now 26 and an academic advisor at Bellevue (Wash.) College. “I was looking at my life goals and thought, ‘Why am I waiting until my 20s or 30s to do this?’” His parents expected the former cross country runner to finish in about 5½ hours. He shattered their expectations, coming in at 4 hours, 37 minutes, 48 seconds.
One year, he ran the half marathon, then booked it to an afternoon wedding.
“I went to the beer garden, chugged a beer, high-fived a buddy, showered and went straight to the wedding,” he says.
Not one to think small, McCrossin would like to run the race 17 straight years.
“My longtime goal,” he says, “is to run the race so many years that they name one of the miles after me.”
Krattli couldn’t talk when a journalist first reached out to her.
“I was on the golf course,” Krattli explains. She turns 68 on race day and still works part time as a dental hygienist. Last year she bought Jeff Galloway’s book Running Until You’re 100.
“Everybody says if anybody can do it, you can,” says Krattli. “I’m either addicted or it’s a habit or it’s a discipline. It’s like brushing my teeth to me. It’s just what I do.”
A swimmer in college, Krattli took up running in her mid-20s.
“I got into beer and pizza and needed to get back into shape,” she says. “I looked in the mirror and said ‘You’ve got to do something.’”
She ran three miles on the day both of her children were born. As to what she likes about running, Krattli mentions the feeling of being in shape, that it relieves stress, that it’s inexpensive, that she can do it anywhere.
“And,” adds Krattli, “I like T-shirts.”
Rogers arrived at the running party late. He was 58 when he ran his first 10K. He ran it because his daughter and her husband-to-be celebrated their wedding day by completing an IRONMAN 70.3 the morning they exchanged vows.
Rogers completed the 10K as part of a relay team. At 60, he knocked off his first marathon. You might say has a knack for the distance stuff. He qualified for the Boston Marathon that day.
Now, at 73, he has run 62 marathons.
“When I finished my first marathon, I didn’t think much about it, until I found out I qualified for the Boston Marathon,” says Rogers, who’s personal best is 3 hours, 54 minutes. “Then I said, ‘I’m going to have to stick with this to see how I do at Boston.’”
In his first go at Boston, he ran fast enough to qualify again the next year. His thought then? “I’ve got to keep doing this.”
Come June 10th, Rogers will run the marathon for the 10th year in a row at St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle.
Smith, 33, has run a 1-hour, 52-minute half marathon. Her time won’t be as fast this year, but she has a legitimate excuse. Barely five weeks before this year’s race, Smith delivered her second child, a daughter, Lilianna.
Still, she’ll be at the starting line come June 10th, this time as a walker.
“I’ve had a great recovery,” said Smith, who 17 days before the race had already logged a 6-mile walk. “I’m really excited. I hope to walk across that finish line with my daughter, my 2½-year-old son and my husband waiting for me at the finish line.”
Smith played lacrosse in college. Her first half marathon came at the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle event. At the time she said, “Let’s just do it 10 years in a row and see what happens.”
When she found out she was pregnant with Lilianna, Smith quickly started doing the math, figured out when she would deliver and decided she wanted to keep the streak intact.
Envisioning crossing the finish line, she says, “What an accomplishment that will be.”