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Who are those athletes around town? They’re ‘spawners’

Runners take off from the start of the Bellingham Traverse race on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2016 in Bellingham, Wash.
Runners take off from the start of the Bellingham Traverse race on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2016 in Bellingham, Wash. eabell@bhamherald.com

Expect extra traffic and competitive athletes downtown and on local roads and trails south of town during the annual Bellingham Traverse on Saturday.

Bellingham Traverse is a six-leg relay with events that mimic the life cycle of the salmon. Sponsor is Recreation Northwest, which promotes outdoor recreation with a variety of events and conducts volunteer stewardship activities.

Racers, called “spawners,” will start and finish at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Avenue, between Chestnut and Maple streets. Railroad Avenue will be closed there, according to Recreation Northwest’s website.

Registration is open until 7 p.m. Friday.

The race starts at noon Saturday, as runners head along the South Bay Trail and other Greenways trails toward Lake Padden for the mountain bike leg, which uses a trail on the south side of Lake Padden.

After that, the road bike portion heads east along Samish Way for a loop around Lake Samish, then heads back toward Fairhaven on Old Samish Road and Chuckanut Drive. Next, the trail run course goes along Greenways from Marine Park to Fairhaven Park and back, where kayakers head across Bellingham Bay from Marine Park to Taylor Dock and past Boulevard Park to Glass Beach at the foot of Cornwall Avenue. From there, it’s a mad dash up Wharf Street and along the South Bay Trail to the finish on Railroad Avenue.

Police officers will stop traffic intermittently between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday on both directions of Chuckanut Drive and Old Fairhaven Parkway at Old Samish Road, 30th Street and Interstate 5 exit 250, according to a state Department of Transportation notice.

Spectators are welcome along the route and at transition areas for the teams, according to the Recreation Northwest’s website. For information and map that shows best places to watch, go online, recreationnorthwest.org.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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