The 11th of September this year was filled with fun and laughter in the BP Highlands as over 300 runners, walkers, sprinter, strollers, dog owners, and community members joined the Whatcom Conservation District and the Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management (BBWARM) District at the 9th Annual Run with the Chums and Smolt Sprint Obstacle Course! After last year’s virtual Run with the Chums, it was fantastic to be outside celebrating healthy habitat, healthy people, and healthy water together this year!
“This is one of our favorite 5Ks and so glad it was back in 2021.” – Karen Klokkevold
Returning racers enjoyed many of their favorite aspects of Run with the Chums, including Sammy the Salmon and Wayne Drop demonstrating the Smolt Sprint Obstacle Course, interactive booths from our partners and sponsors, and raffle prizes. Participants also enjoyed new changes to the Run with the Chums event. For the first time we had three staggered start times, and a new location for the start and finish area! Each start time was preceded 15 minutes before by a Smolt Sprint Obstacle Course, and a raffle following.
“I enjoyed it although it was my first time doing a 5K I think the staggered time was perfect...... my teenage daughter really enjoyed it and I did like the costumes.” Tamara Uldrich
The new course was well received by participants, with stunning views of the Salish Sea and Whatcom County farmland. Along the course were signs featuring fun facts about salmon, orcas, water quality, and conservation tips!
“Much to enjoy at the Run with the Chums event including the volunteers and the other participants. Appreciate your work!” Bruce Johnson
The Smolt Sprint Obstacle course was salmon themed and similar to past years, featuring large woody debris, cobbles, boulders, and a culvert made out of hula hoops to challenge young racers as they made their way across the course. The obstacle course simulates the challenges smolt salmon face as they travel downstream to the ocean. Every smolt sprinter received a ribbon for their accomplishment!
This year we also featured a virtual option for participants unable to attend the main event. Virtual participants still enjoyed getting outside to celebrate healthy people, healthy water, and healthy habitat!
“We live near the black slough in Deming /Acme and we walked/ran the length of it near our house. It was about 2 miles round trip. We have a neighbor who swears she's seen baby salmon or some fish in the slough. So my kiddos were possibly running alongside the fish!” - Kristina Galbraith (virtual participant)
“This a super great event that I hope keeps happening year after year.” – Caroline Snijder van Wissenkerke
Thank you to the following businesses and organizations that supported this years Run with the Chums: Whatcom Conservation District, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, BBWARM, ModSock, HYDAWAY Collapsible Water Bottle, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Whatcom Land Trust, Garden of the Salish Sea, BP at Cherry Point, Dave Hiller eXp Realty, Blaine Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2, and Kafé 104.1.
Join us on Saturday, October 16th for the 4th annual Orca Recovery Day! Whatcom Conservation District, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, and Whatcom Land Trust are joining forces to host a work party restoring salmon habitat along California Creek on land managed by the Whatcom Land Trust. California Creek supports Coho and Chinook salmon.