Set for its 44th year, the Olympia Lakefair Races are part of weekend-long running festival that features the a half marathon, 8K, 3K and kids 3K; taking runners on routes that will circle around the town of Olympia and beyond into Lacey and Tumwater. The races take place at the same time as Capital Lakefair, founded in 1957 to create a local celebration each summer. Now, 60+ years later, Capital Lakefair is a community tradition for generations of families. Occurring every year during the third week in July, the week-long celebration concludes with the Olympia Lakefair Races on Saturday morning, the Grand Parade through downtown Saturday evening and a firework show on Sunday.
Starting in 1975, the Lakefair Races were directed by the Olympia Rain Runners running club. The races have varied in distances over the years with distances of two miles, 3k, 8k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. When The Olympia Rain Runners dissolved, the races were absorbed by the Capital City Marathon Association. After a few years, the Marathon Association, wanting to focus on its own races, turned over the Lakefair Races to two local high school coaches. They created the Lake Run Organization, a member of the Road Runners Club of America.
In 2016, the Olympia Downtown Rotary Club approached the Lake Run Organization to partner in sponsoring the events. The following year, the Lake Run Organization in partnership with the Olympia Downtown Rotary Club rebranded the three race event to “Olympia Lakefair Races”. The aim of this effort is to continue the tradition of the races, honor the running past of Olympia, and support youth running and other non-profits supported by the Lake Run Organization and Olympia Downtown Rotary.
In late 2017, the races were re-branded to form a four race event, the “Olympia Lakefair Races”. The aim of this effort is to continue the tradition of the races, honor the running past of Olympia, support youth running and help support the Olympia Rotary Club in continuing to make a positive impact in Thurston County.
The event starts at Heritage Park in Olympia near the corner of 5th Avenue and Washington Streets, and from there heads briefly through downtown.
For runners in the half marathon, the race unfolds along a combination of city streets and along running, biking and walking trails within Olympia including both the Chehalis Western Trail. Runners will enjoy tree-lined trails, scenic landscapes while enjoying flat and narrow paved trails throughout.
Once runners have completed the course, they can enjoy festival activities that are held all around the large city park. Festival events include food and beer tents, carnival rides booths and more. The Heritage Park area where the race ends is one of the most popular sites for visitors to the city as it features the Heritage Park Fountain, a popular spot for children and adults to run, play and wade.
Race Weather & Climate
Located near the southern end of Puget Sound in northwest Washington, about 60 miles southwest of Seattle, Olympia typically sees its warmest and driest weather of the year in July. On race day, the average low is 50ºF and the average high is 76ºF. It doesn't get any better than this for an opportunity to run a race, especially a half marathon in July!
Every Half-Marathon Finisher receives a medal for completing the race
Other awards (1st, 2nd, etc) are handed out by division based on THIS CHART