Sunday, July 24, 2011

An excellent day for Fat Salmon!

The weather really cooperated with the 12th Anniversary Fat Salmon Open Water Swim yesterday, which culminated at Madison Park beach.  Last year's event was cold cold cold, but substantially better conditions prevaled on the course this year. Here's the commentary from one of the swimmers, Kirk, concerning conditions on the course: "Perfect day for a race! Temps probably in the low 60s at race time. The water was a little choppier than I would have thought, but not bad. The cold water made competitors choose the wetsuit division by about a 3:1 ratio. I toughed it out and went without. Honestly, the water was cold, but it wasn't that bad. I did wear a neoprene cap and that probably helped somewhat."

Fat Salmon is actually two races, a 1.2-mile swim from Denny Blaine Park and a 3.2-mile swim from the area North of the I-90 Bridge.  We missed the Swim itself, but everyone seemed to be having a good time when we arrived for the awards ceremony featuring, naturally, several fat salmons.  This is Haleigh Werner, winner of the long-course wetsuit event, receiving hers:

[Photos by Barbara Nelson, courtesy of Kirk Nelson on Flickr.]


  1. Does Madison Park collect anything from these organizations that use us as a parking lot a few times a year?

    As we all know, parking is very limited in the neighborhood and serving as the finish line of events limits customer parking even more. I know that the thought is that the participants might come over and spend some money at a restaurant, or something, but does that really happen?

    If collecting a lump sum fee is not an option, maybe the Business Association should partner with the event and put neighborhood coupons in the entrance packets, or advertise that people participating in the events can bring their number into a store and get 10% off, or something like that. That is the only way to really measure the financial impact/benefit to the neighborhood of sacrificing the parking of known customers in favor of those who have no intention of shopping.

  2. Hello anonymous,

    As the race director, each year, I contact the "DON" as a requirement of my City of Seattle Special Event Permit and ask if they'd like me to do anything special to notify local businesses of the event. I have also approached some of the businesses near the park this year and years past and asked if they'd like to sponsor the event, as you suggested, so that I can help drive business your way. Each year the answer to both has been "no". Despite that, I do send out multiple pre-race emails to all racers AND volunteers and specifically request that they do NOT park in front of or near the businesses so that we don't cause you any problems or take away spaces from your customers.

    As I am always the last one to leave the park each year, to make sure it's clean and nothing is left behind, I usually pack up my car and wander up Madison to celebrate and treat myself to lunch (3 years ago: Bings, 2 years ago: Cactus, last year: McGilvras, this year: the bakery). As with other years, I am always noticing lots of other racers in their Fat Salmon shirts doing the same thing I am - spending time in the neighborhood after the event and enjoying the local businesses as well as the park. Hopefully others are noticing this too. I love Madison Park - thanks for having us!

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  4. I carpooled to the event and we did not park in the business section. However, as Liz noted above, upon leaving the park after the swim I notice many many people enjoying the local eateries wearing the brown Fat Salmon event tshirt. Pity that the local businesses don't want to help sponsor the event, as it looked like after finishing the swim many of the swimmers were "eating local." Great event! Thanks Liz.

    On Sunday my husband and I came back to Madison Park and enjoyed Seattle's warmest summer day with hundreds of other families. It was one of the highlights of our trip to Seattle from Juneau, Alaska.

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    Great post. The race is required to buy city permits, including parks and rec, harbor patrol, pay lifeguards, etc. Huge costs, but worth every penny to have a great, safe race.

    Regarding the parking situation. There was an issue 10 years ago, complaints made to the city. Since then the race hammers participants about making sure they either do not park there or do not park there long. I believe the limit is 2 hours. Over the years, we've actually held up the race to force people to respect the need for parking turn-over and make sure they move their cars.

    I don't know if you are a business owner, but if you did have a problem with the parking, please let the race director know.

    On the flip side, my family of three went to McGilvra's afterwards where we saw 2 other families from the race eating. While waiting was no problem at all, the staff apologized several times for how busy it was, saying "we just have been slammed for the past two hours because of some sort of race or triathlon over at the park...". "Awesome!" was my response.

    When I walked down the avenue to the bakery afterwards, I was stopped by 5 groups (3-6 people per group), who were all eating and drinking after the race at various places. And, that was 2 hours after the race ended and I wasn't even looking for people.

    Race M.C.

  6. To the first "anonymous" poster:
    I've been swimming in the Fat Salmon for three years now. Liz Rosen does an excellent job as Race Director and always reminds participants well in advance that we should never park in the business section. Participating in this race has shown me what a beautiful area Madison Park is, and has led me and many other friends to explore the businesses well after the race date. The event is wonderful and brings a lot to Madison Park!


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