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The 11th Annual Run with the Chums was Fin-Tastic!


This year’s Run with the Chums, an annual Whatcom Water Week kickoff event, boasted a record turnout! Over 400 people made an appearance at the 11th Annual Run with the Chums 5K Fun Run on September 9. It was a beautiful day to celebrate healthy water, healthy habitat, and healthy people.

“Run with the Chums is one of my favorite 5Ks as of today! Great people, beautiful scenery, hop scotch and nobody will ever again say “I’ve never seen Senator Shewmake and Sammy the Salmon in the same room…hmmm.” – Sen. Sharon Shewmake

A group of people of all ages run and walk together. Some are wearing the same yellow Run with the Chums T-Shirt. All are wearing racing bibs.
Racers starting the 5K Fun Run.

Racers of all ages and speeds ran or walked five kilometers of scenic roads and trails with views of the Salish Sea and Whatcom farmland. Artwork and interactive activities, like hopscotch, were fun new additions to this year’s event. As always, signs along the route educated participants about how to keep our water, salmon, and orcas healthy and thriving.


Lots of children are all running bunched up together. There is a salmon mascot behind them and parents.
Smolt Sprinters begin their obstacle course!

Junior racers competed in the Smolt Sprint obstacle course. They wove, jumped, ducked, crawled and navigated obstacles reminiscent of what a smolt salmon might encounter on their way to the ocean. To guide them along their path, the beloved mascots Sammy the Salmon and Wayne Drop led the way.



A woman holds a water bottle for the camera. Behind her is someone with a microphone and a tent with an orca and the words chums visible.
A raffle winner holds their prize up in the air.

After the race concluded, prizes were awarded to the fastest runners, families and dogs, best dressed, most unique animal (we had two cats and a pig attend this year!), and for correct answers to watershed-related trivia questions.



If you would like to join in the fun next year, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and/or subscribe to our monthly E-News to be one of the first to hear about our events and programs! We are excited to continue bringing the community together for this annual celebration of our watershed. See you next year!



Looking for more ways to support salmon and orcas? Join us on Saturday, October 14th for the 6th Annual Orca Recovery Day! Whatcom Conservation District, NSEA, and Whatcom Land Trust are joining forces to host a work party restoring Chinook and Coho salmon habitat along California Creek on land managed by the Whatcom Land Trust. Restoring salmon habitat is a critical way to support our salmon and the Southern Resident Orcas that depend on them.


Three women wearing run with the chums T-Shirts and racing bibs stand with a rain drop, salmon, and plastic man mascot.
Racers pose with mascots before the race.

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