Poulsbo runner breaks marathon record


Photos by Denny Brooks/

POULSBO — As she reflected back on previous events, Kirsten Casey said she believes the Oct. 13 Poulsbo Marathon was the fastest marathon she ever ran.

However, the 1997 North Kitsap High School graduate doesn't concern herself too much with records, and didn't even wear a watch to keep track of her time Sunday. She also didn't know just how fast she finished the Poulsbo Marathon.

“I could tell I was running well,” the 34-year-old said. “I was feeling good, and never felt like I was going super slow.”

As Casey crossed the finish line on the North Kitsap track, she quickly learned just how fast she ran the 26.2-mile course.

Casey finished the marathon in 3 hours 28 minutes 38 seconds, earning the fastest time for a female runner in the Poulsbo Marathon. The marathon is in its fourth year.

Crossing the finish line on the North Kitsap track wasn't unfamiliar to her. Casey ran cross country and competed in track as a student at North Kitsap under Bruce Swanson, and at Central Washington University. She stopped running after her sophomore year in college due to a knee injury.

That knee injury has subsided, and the Poulsbo mother has conquered multiple events, which included a few races over the summer, such as run on Mount Spokane. She also does trail marathons through the Pope Resources forest near Port Gamble, which is hosted by Poulsbo Running.

Speaking of trail runs, Casey said the only marathons she has competed in more difficult than the Poulsbo event are those on trails.

“This is the hardest road marathon,” Casey said of the Poulsbo run.

Though the Poulsbo Marathon isn’t too difficult in the beginning, Casey said the course elevation is grueling.

The Poulsbo Marathon has an elevation gain of 883 feet. Near the 10-mile mark, the elevation increases from nearly sea level, to 350 feet above. After declining, the elevation once again rises near the 20-mile mark as runners leave Suquamish.

It’s the final elevation gain, Casey said, that is the most difficult.

“They route a lot of hills right at the end,” she said. “The climb out of Suquamish.”

It may have been tough, but Casey finished the marathon about six minutes faster than second-place finisher Amanda Hoskins of Puyallup. Hoskins finish in 3:34:52.

She’s unsure how long the record will hold up, but Casey hopes to break her marathon record soon. Her goal is to finish a race in 3:20:00.

Casey wasn’t the only Poulsbo resident to earn a top spot in the marathon. Joshua Corbin finished first with the fastest time in the men’s category and fastest time overall (3:02:57). Gilbert Ondusko, also of Poulsbo, took second in the race (3:05:53).


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