Sun shines on Marysville Strawberry Festival's Berry Run

MARYSVILLE — Just about 300 runners competed in the Berry Run.

That number was just about double the participation of last year for the event that kicked off the Strawberry Festival May 12.

“It was not quite the number we were hoping for, but we were glad everything went off well,” said race organizer Jeff Sowards.

Roughly 40 volunteers pitched in from around the community to help kick off the Strawberry Festival.

“We worked really hard and I can’t thank the volunteers enough. They were here from 6 a.m. to about 11:30, helping us clean up.”

Proceeds to the event go to the Lakewood High School Booster Club, which feeds it into Cougars’ athletics. In this case, the funds will help the cross country teams travel to the Stanford Open down in Palo Alto, Calif. this fall.

“We won’t know how much we got until we hear from Maryfest, but we’re really happy with how the event came about and we’ll keep doing it,” said Sowards, who is one of the Lakewood cross country coaches, along with John Murray.

The event was held at the Plant Farm Smokey Point, which Sowards said added a scenic element.

“The Plan Farm has been very generous in letting us have it there,” he said. “It’s a great place to have it because of it’s location and the grounds it has.

The organizers set a goal for 400 runners this year in the combined 5K and one mile runs.

“Overall, I was really pleased with everything and I hope it’s even bigger and better next year,” Sowards said.

Although not new to organizing races, this was the first time the Lakewood cross country brass organized a road run, but Sowards acknowledged there is more to the Berry Run than times and routes.

“It’s nice to be a part of this tradition and the Berry Festival,” he said. “It was nice to have the royalty and some of the representatives from Maryfest out there. It’s about community, and hopefully we can get as much of the community involved as we can.”

Results were not immediately available, but will be online at

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