Lakewood coach Murray wins Seafair 8k

From a field of an estimated 6,000 runners, Lakewood cross country coach Jon Murray proved to be the fastest, winning the Seattle Seafair 8k on July 25.

The 33-year-old coach and Arlington High School teacher finished the course, nearly equivalent to five miles, in a time of 25:15. It was his first race of that distance in some time and 10 years since running in that particular contest.

“I didn’t think I was fit enough to run an 8k for the longest time. Then over the last three or four years, the kids I coach in Lakewood and the kids I coach at the college level really inspired me,” he said. “I was surprised with winning it. I wasn’t surprised necessarily with the time.”

Murray, who often runs with his wife Sara or fellow cross country coach Jeff Sowards, has run year-round to varying extents since he was a standout at Washington State University. But after three years in Boulder, Colo., where he trained and competed, Murray returned to the Lakewood area to teach and coach, often running shorter 3k or 5k races.

Currently, Murray and Sowards are running together wherever they can find races, including the USA cross country championships in Spokane and indoor meets at the University of Washington.

Naturally, Sowards was supportive of his friend after winning the contest.

“You know how he is, he likes to celebrate this. He sent an e-mail to the alumni kids. The next day I immediately had tons of e-mail congratulating me,” Murray said. “Kids were saying, ‘That inspired me.’ That’s why I do it, they inspire me and I inspire them.

“The kids on the team have been putting in amazing training this summer and I have no excuse not to do that with them,” he added.

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