Run the Galloping Gertie
Updated: Aug 5
Local marathon benefits charity By Rachel Kelly | Photo Courtesy of Galloping Gertie
This year on August 6, the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor North is sponsoring the Galloping Gertie half marathon, 10k and 5k. The rotary has hosted the event for the past 11 years, however, more recent events were put on hold due to the pandemic. This year, the much-anticipated race is back! Participants will meet at the Tacoma Narrows Airport and will traverse the whole of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. With its sweeping views of the Sound, Mount Rainier, Olympic Mountains and the surrounding cities of Gig Harbor and Tacoma, the race is sure to attract its anticipated 700 participants. “We especially love that this event has become a family affair,” says Bob Anderson, the marathon organizer. The Galloping Gertie is sure to be a memorable event for the whole family.
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, affectionately coined Galloping Gertie, is well known for its history of collapse in 1940, just four months after its construction. A fatal flaw in its construction called aeroelastic flutter resulted in its “gallop” in high winds. Historic videos of the event can be seen at the Tacoma History Museum as well as online. Watching the astounding footage might be an interesting addition to your run. It's a famous collapse for a reason. One could even call it an epic fail. But don’t worry, the bridge won’t gallop during your run no matter how windy this August may turn out to be. Thankfully, a successful replacement was built in 1950. The newer eastbound bridge was built in 2007 and is the bridge that all participants will have the opportunity to run across.
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge has several claims to fame. At the time of its construction, it was the third largest suspension bridge in the world. The narrows are also home to the Pacific Giant Octopus, who have built their cities under the depths within the bridge ruins. In the past, locals used to very rudely wrestle the octopus to shore as a show of strength. Thankfully, we no longer do that. We like to run on a bridge above them instead. Even though there are lots of interesting bits of history surrounding the Narrows, the collapse and subsequent “Galloping Gertie” nickname is by far the Narrows’ largest claim to fame. The collapse is known worldwide. This is probably why the race attracts some international participants, as well as people from across the country and locals alike.
This year's proceeds from the Galloping Gertie will benefit three children’s charities locally, as well as two in Guatemala. This year's beneficiaries include: Children’s Home Society Peninsula, Food Backpacks 4 Kids, Communities in Schools Peninsula, Opal House and a Montessori school in Guatemala. The Children’s Home Society Peninsula provides early learning support for solid childhood foundations. They provide preschool, early play opportunities, parenting classes and home visits. More information can be found at ChildrensHomeSociety.org/Pierce. Food Backpack 4 Kids is a nutritional supplement program that provides for nutrition on the weekends and school vacations. This provides a sound basis for learning and growth due to a strong nutritional program. More information can be found at FoodBackpacks4Kids.org. The Communities in Schools Peninsula is on a mission to provide a community of support to kids in school, to empower them to stay in school and achieve their life goals. The Communities in Schools Peninsula program is one of the few preventative programs that reach children regardless of their socioeconomic status before they reach a point where they will have to drop out of school. More information can be found at Peninsula.ciswa.org. The Opal House and the Montessori school are both located in Guatemala, which have strong ties to the students in our community. In the past, local high school students have visited Guatemala for service projects, a program that students are hoping to resume in 2023.
The Opal House in Guatemala works with battered children and women, and the Montessori school offers a quality education to an area of Guatemala that normally would not have such resources.
All participants have the option to register for a half marathon, 10k and 5k. The Half marathon is $99, the 10k $85 and the 5k $75. For your donation, all runners will receive a bit of swag including a custom finisher medal, free downloadable race photos and a cool tech tee!
With the sweeping views, historic location, and donated profits, what's not to love about this race? For more information on how you can register, as well as details on exact times, check out Galloping-Gertie.com.