Arts and Entertainment

Vim and Vigor | Taking it to the trails

Runners of all ages out on the Port Gamble trails.  - Courtesy Photo/Roots Rock Trail Running
Runners of all ages out on the Port Gamble trails.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo/Roots Rock Trail Running

Poulsbo Running owners host summer-long series of distance running events on the old logging roads near Port Gamble.

Chris Hamlett didn’t do a lot of trail running in his youth.

He’s always been a runner at heart. Now, he co-owns and operates the Poulsbo Running store on State Route 305 in Poulsbo with his wife, Brooke, and also annually organizes the local Roots Rock Trail Running Series in Port Gamble.

“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Hammett said. “But I grew up on Bainbridge. It never seemed like there were any trails to run, so I didn’t even really think about it.”

On the eastside, where he worked in Seattle for some time, it all began in the trails of the Cascades.

When he came back to Kitsap and bought a house between Poulsbo and Kingston, he found nearly nearly the same thing, maybe even better, in the somewhat undiscovered trails of Olympic Property Group’s Port Gamble Trails.

“They are so nice,” Hamlett said of the track. “We wanted to get people out there. Ever since I started running out there, I’ve been thinking of ways we could bring people out.”

Chris and Brooke hosted their first races on the Port Gamble trails in 2006, the year they opened Poulsbo Running: a half-marathon and a 10k. Pulling the numbers from their file, Chris said, there were 46 entries in the half-marathon and 43 in the 10k that first year.

Two years later, registration had doubled.

And the series itself has grown as well. It now encompasses seven events — from the free food bank benefit 50/25k every March to the Spooky 12k and 1-miler, under the harvest moon, Oct. 25.

There’s a new 5k this year — a fundraiser for the North Kitsap Pool and the NKHS Cross Country Team — June 14. Find the full docket, along with entry fee information, at www.rootsrockrun.com.

“The races are really low-key and relaxed and fun,” “It’s kind of a nice alternative to a structured 5K road race. It’s completely different.”

It’s a different atmosphere, different scenery, different terrain — even a different mindset.

“It’s just a nice way for people to get onto the trails,” Hammett said. “Especially, if, maybe, they’re not familiar with that area.”

The Port Gamble trails traverse some 4,300 acres of Olympic Property Group land, near the Kitsap Peninsula’s northern most point on the Hood Canal side between Poulsbo and Port Gamble. It is immense.

Plans are in the works to link the OPG trails with other systems in place throughout the North End to connect all of North Kitsap’s waterfront communities by trail.

They’re calling it “The String of Pearls.”

For more on the Roots Rock Trail Running Series, see www.rootsrockrun.com, or call Chris or Brooke at Poulsbo Running, (360) 779-8757.

RUNNERS’ SPEAK

5K: 3.1 miles

10K: 6.2 miles

12K: 7.4 miles

25K: 15.625 miles

50K: 31.07 miles

half-marathon: 13.1 miles

marathon: 26.2 miles

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