Do the Burby: Organizers get set for the run

Preparations are under way for the 32nd annual Bill Burby Inspirational Fun Run. The popular run takes place each year on the Saturday morning of the Strawberry Festival, right before the grand parade.

Vashon High School track coaches Andy Sears and Kevin Ross continue this community event, which was started more than three decades ago by other high school coaches.

This year putting on the race will be a little bit easier, as supplies are now neatly organized in a new shed built by Jefferson Douglas for his Eagle Scout project.

“He just did a great job,” Sears said. “Can a shed be beautiful?”

Douglas, a junior at VHS, gives credit to Alex DeHaven of Little Foot Structures for support with materials, design and labor. The young men used pulpwood for framing materials and recycled treetops that are usually thrown away. The shed also features a glass door, which Sears hopes will deter break-ins.

Ross will mark the race course along the Dilworth loop, a course he laid out several years ago.

On race day, Ross will also be on the starting line wearing bib No. 1, an honor he earns each year by being the very first to register online for the event. He and his high school teammate, Aaron Burby, have been running in the event since they were high schoolers. The race is named for Burby’s late father, a VHS football coach and one of the original race founders.

Ross is also hopeful that he’ll earn that No. 1 by coming in first this year.

“It gets a little harder to beat the youngsters, but you got to keep trying,” he said.

Sears will be on site hours before the start of the race with volunteers from his basketball team to set up water stations and monitor traffic. He will also be at the starting line, megaphone in hand, to count down the start. Russ Brazill, former VHS track coach and one of the race founders, will fire off the starting gun.

The event includes a 10K race, a 5K race and a 5K walk, and has become a tradition for many Island families. For the coaches, it also provides much-needed funding to their athletic programs.

Sponsorships cover race expenses so proceeds can go directly to support athletics and the annual Burby Wellness scholarship, given to a high school senior who demonstrates commitment to physical fitness.


The run will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 21, by the VYFS Playspace on Vashon Highway. Registration is $20 for adults and $15 for children and includes a T-shirt. Register online at until July 19. Same-day registration will begin at 8 a.m., for an additional $10 per adult or $5 per child. For more information, contact



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