Location change was in the air after the 2nd year (in March) when blistering rains soaked and gale winds mightily pushed around racers on the main road after fighting with the wind running up hill to reach the main course. Organizers also lost most of their tents to gusts, which also leveled tables at the registration area near the Light Station.

A brief history of the

                   Annual Whale Run & Walk

       We’ve Come A Long Way….

Winners baskets are made up of donations from generous local businesses and many of the Coast’s photographers graciously have volunteered their ample talent over the years including: Keith Wyner, Lynn Prunty, Jerry Murphy, Lynne Weinerman Calder, KC Robinson, Roy Kornmeyer and Ron Bloomquist to name a few.

Steve Weingarten and Vicky Watts from KOZT have been among the announcers Before Rick Robinson from Sacramento took on the task of announcing the racer’s times and entertaining the crowds at the finish line

For registration and info: or Google  whale run

to see the event website and a whale of a good time.

~ Lynne Weinerman Calder

In 2013 Joyce Gilbertson moved out of the area after a masterful ten year run.  Linda Dutcher ably took over the reins. This year brings in, to head the Whale Run, Joanne Frazer owner of Fort Bragg Travel.

The yearly Whale Run has become a favorite for locals and people from afar to have family reunions and catch a glimpse of the migrating grey whales. One year eleven states were represented and even brought in a few racers from other countries to play in Fort Bragg and run in the race.

In 2012 the whale tail and head beautifully created by Edith Goble at the Start/Finish line were replaced by electronic counters from  Capital Road Race Management. Mailed in paper registrations were replaced by on-line  

2006 brought us back to Fort Bragg with registration at College of the Redwoods. Racers  traveled by Todds Point crossing the Noyo Bridge, through the Pomo Reservation to the newly vacated Georgia Pacific Mill grounds, it being the 1st time the community was allowed to view those choice parts of the coastline.

In 2008 the Whale Run was moved back to March, but the Haul Road west of Lake Cleone began to crumble.  That year the waves were so high there were fears racers might get swept out to sea. To meet that challenge the start was moved to the Skunk Train parking lot.

2000 was the first year the race was timed, offering actual results and medals, beautifully designed and created by Melissa Berman of Thompson’s PortaSeptic. Melissa has created all the medals for the Whale Run events to this day.

The Haul Road deterioration in 2004-2005 brought us to the Point Cabrillo Light Station, a gorgeous, but challenging, not easily found, venue. The initial run/walk uphill to reach the main course, pleased few of the racers. But it was a magnificent day (in June that year) and participants were treated to jumping dolphins and spouting whales under a sweet blue sky once they ended up at the Light Station.

In 1990 Soroptimists International of Fort Bragg teamed up with BBBS to sponsor the race with a Fun Walk and 5K Run with as many folks as they could muster to race up and down in front of the stores on Franklin Street. Registration for the race was held at the Lutheran Hall in Fort Bragg.

By 1993, solely sponsored by the SIFB Soroptimists, the race moved to the Haul Road with a few small booths of local businesses hawking their wares in the parking lot. 

Whale Run & Walk proceeds have always been returned to the community through high school scholarships and awards to female heads of households to further their education. Soroptimist International of Fort Bragg supports Project Sanctuary and many other non-profit organizations on the Mendocino Coast. 

35 years ago, as a small fund raiser, Big Brothers Big Sisters staged a race in the middle of Fort Bragg, down Franklin Street. Registration for the race was held at the Lutheran Hall in Fort Bragg.

This year’s NEW course on the Noyo Headlands Coastal Trail provides ocean views the entire course for both the runners and walkers. Starting on the Noyo Headlands, runners pass Soldier Point to the Coastal Trail where the 5Kers will turn around. The 10K runners dash by Glass Beach to cross the beautiful Pudding Creek Trestle to the 10K turn around. Fun Walkers trek south crossing Noyo Bridge to walk the Pomo Bluffs Park trail overlooking majestic Noyo Bay.

Neither wind nor rain or blasts of cold have stayed participants from racing in the Whale Run & Walk  over its 35 year history. Compare the start of the Whale Run & Walk  in 1984 with 25 participants, a handful of sponsors, $100 raised—to the 2018 race with 795 participants, 55 sponsors, $25,000 raised.

Yes, we’ve come a long way!