An exclusive interview with Cove to Clover Creator/Organizer John Nelson

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Photo by Scott Schaefer.

by Scott Schaefer

Area resident John Nelson first created the now-iconic ‘Cove to Clover‘ 5k fundraiser race in 2009, and this year the 6th annual race will be held on Sunday, March 16, with a Pub Crawl on Friday night, March 14.

NOTE: To save $5 on registration, be sure to click here. All those registered before Friday, March 1 will be entered in a drawing to win a pair of 2014 Seattle Mariners tickets!

The B-Town Blog has been the Media Sponsor of this event since the beginning (see our extensive previous coverage here), and we’re proud to be involved again.

We managed to catch up with John for an exclusive interview about the event:

Q: What’s different about Cove to Clover this year?
A: We have returned to our roots as a St. Patrick’s day 5K. We won’t be doing the 10K or Half Marathon because they were not well attended and did not help raise money for charity (one of our primary aims).

Q: Any new features?
A: I’m excited about changing the 5K start line location to the Normandy Park Cove’s beach. We’ll have bonfires going for runners arriving on the free shuttles for a pre-race community party. Runners arriving early can expect some surprises at the start line. Also, we’ll have 3 beer gardens at the finish line in Olde Burien. The Tin Room, Mark and 913 have each sponsored the race and will be hosting their own beer gardens. We’ll also have kids activities near the stage.

Q: Why?
A: The start line on the beach will give an opportunity for the hardiest runners to take a dip in the Puget Sound before the race.

John Nelson, gives the ‘Cove to Clover’ Snake the thumbs down.

Q: You’re calling this year’s a “classic” – what do you mean?
A: This year is a throwback to when we launched the race in 2009 as a way for the community coming together to suffer for a charitable cause. The artwork pays homage to the first year’s shirts and was produced by the original artist, Scott Dombrowski (DAD Creative).

Q: Is the course the same?
A: Because the new start line adds significant distance, we’ve also moved the finish line to be in Olde Burien. Since the course will no longer be crossing Ambaum, we can avoid creating massive traffic backups for motorists.

Q: Where’s the snake?
A: Snake Hill hasn’t moved; runners can still look forward to experiencing the local test piece in the first mile. If your new to the race, don’t fee bad if you end up walking the “Snake”…most do. However if you are referring to “the Snake” mascot, look for him at the Snake Pub Crawl on Friday, March 14 (along with the Ole Smoky Moonshine gals).

Q: Why did you make these changes?
A: We want to maintain the character of the event while maximizing the impact we can make in the community as a charity.

Q: Are you still involved?
A: Yes, I’m still the race director and direct all aspects of the event.

Q: What’s the plan for future C2Cs?
A: The Cove to Clover is here to stay though I’m looking for a way to package it up for someone else to organize in coming years. We continue to brainstorm on creative ways to engage the community for social causes. The pie joust, b-townies, tour-de-friends, yeti club are all programs and events we’ve spawned. I can’t tell you what we’ll do next but it will be a lot of fun!

Cove to Clover is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and disburses all proceeds to other local charities.

The Cove to Clover event has evolved and is a truly grass-roots production. The race was originally organized by a group of friends with the mission of producing a professional and fun event that showcases the Highline community at its best. What’s evolved has been an exercise in positive cooperation among many entities: government, businesses, non-profits, schools and neighbors.

“We expect the event to continue to grow and become an proud institution of our communities. Thanks for participating!  We will do our best to keep the goodness and fun flowing.”

Please contact [email protected] for more info.

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