Run-A-Muk lays foundation for Snohomish Running Company
Last updated 8/19/2017 at Noon
The Run-A-Muk 5k-10k holds a special place in the hearts of Grant Harrington and Sarah Maxwell.
Run-A-Muk was the first race Harrington and Maxwell, the two managing partners of the Snohomish Running Company, participated in when they started running.
After being so overweight that he couldn’t even jog a quarter mile, Harrington started getting in shape in 2005 and ran in Run-A-Muk in 2006. Since then he’s competed in two Ironman competitions and four marathons.
Maxwell only started running in the last few years. She ran in Run-A-Muk in 2013 and last month she completed her first marathon.
Harrington and Maxwell aren’t hitting the pavement for this year’s Run-A-Muk but will be around in a different capacity.
The Lighthouse Festival, which sponsors the race, hired the Snohomish Running Company to help stage the event.
“Run-A-Muk was my first ever long distance race,” Maxwell said. “It’s special that now we get to have a part of it from the professional standpoint too.”
Harrington and Maxwell, both former Mukilteo residents, are handling the logistical issues of the race, which include registration, communication with participants, traffic control, aid stations, monitoring of the course, pickup of T-shirts and distribution of swag. The Snohomish Running Company also is doing some limited promotion.
“In essence, they brought us in to heighten the experience of the event as a whole,” Harrington said.
As part of their work, Harrington and Maxwell decided to make a few changes with the race course after driving and running the old route.
“We thought the old route was a little bit complex and difficult to manage in some ways,” Harrington said. “So we tried to simplify it to an extent. We tried to simplify the route, while also reducing the impact on the residents in the area.”
At the beginning of the race, participants will be running down to Mukilteo Lane and following Mukilteo Lane all the way to Mukilteo Boulevard. The finish line now will be in the paved plaza in front of the Rosehill Community Center.
The Snohomish Running Company, as the name suggests, is an event production and promotion business that specializes in running events.
“There are two different things to running events,” Harrington said. “There’s basically getting everybody there, which is the promotion and marketing piece and then there’s the actual putting on of the event, the production piece, the event management side.
“Our company, the Snohomish Running Company, does both. We do pretty much everything under the sun, except for timing. We contract out the chip timing to other companies.”
The company works with multiple government agencies to determine the best routes for races. For Run-A-Muk, Harrington coordinated with Mukilteo and Everett.
“This event goes through two cities,” he said. “It starts in Mukilteo and then it goes into Everett and it comes back. So we have to work with both the city of Mukilteo and the city of Everett.”
Most of the events the Snohomish Running Company stages, such as the Snohomish River Run and the Everett Half and 10k, are races the company owns. The company also is hired by organizations, such as the Lighthouse Festival, to assist in the production of events.
The Snohomish Running Company owns the Mukilteo Turkey Trot 5k and 10k, which has rapidly become popular in just a couple of years.
The Turkey Trot is held Thanksgiving morning and attracted more than 1,400 registrations in 2016, its second year of existence. The race is the second largest in Snohomish County.
“It got large very quickly,” Harrington said.
Harrington noted that the company specializes in events that encourage people to be participants rather than be spectators.
“We’re asking them to come take part in the event,” he said. “We’re not just asking them to come watch.”
The Snohomish Running Company was incorporated in 2012. Harrington used to own a bicycle/triathlon store in Mukilteo called Endurance Sports Northwest. He started the Snohomish Running Company in order to try and drive traffic to his store. Eventually, Harrington realized that the Snohomish Running Company was more financially viable than his retail shop and he shut down the shop in 2015.
“It turns out it’s a lot easier to put on events than it is to do retail,” Harrington said. “It’s really difficult to make money in retail.”
Maxwell and another partner, Ron Montague, bought into the company in 2016.
The company is the largest running event promoter in Snohomish County and one of the top five event promoter/event management businesses in Snohomish and King counties.
Total registrations were about 1,500 in 2014 and have grown to more than 9,000 in 2017.
While the Snohomish Running Company is a for-profit company, the company donates to different charities, such as Girls on the Run, Snohomish County Boys and Girls Club and the Kamiak High School cross country program (Mukilteo Turkey Trot).
For Harrington and Maxwell, the company is more than just a business.
“Running has become a passion of mine,” Maxwell said. “I’m very thankful now that we get to turn it into a profession. It’s awesome to see people cross the finish line and be a part of it.”
Maxwell describes herself as more of a solo runner, but she loves racing.
“You can have the group energy and just cheer for people,” she said. “Other people are cheering you on. There’s good vibes happening.”
Having a goal kept Harrington motivated when he first started running.
“If there wasn’t a Run-A-Muk or a Super Jock ‘n Jill, I don’t know if I would still be running,” Harrington said. “You’ve got to have that end goal, that end thing to be able to set your sights to.”
Harrington enjoys helping other people accomplish their goals.
“We give them the opportunity to go out and do something that nobody can take away from them,” he said, “And they can take that on into their daily life that confidence and that success. . We stand there at the finish line and we get to see the faces and the experiences these people have. It’s truly amazing to us.”