Deception Pass Marathon Race Report – Michael Linscott

Race: Deception Pass Marathon

Runner: Michael Linscott

Race Date: 03/11/2023

Location: Deception Pass, WA


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3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  • One of the prettiest courses around.
  • Super well organized and lots of aid stations.
  • Perfect weather.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

  • At mile 16 of the marathon the course joins up with the half marathon and suddenly the course becomes very crowded.
  • Lots of the course is small out and backs along single-track trails. This causes a lot of congestion and stopping to let other runners pass.
  • The line for a burger at the finish line was super long.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

  • A lot of the course is part of an out and back, or repeated.
  • Crossing Deception Pass Bridge is no joke. Especially with a decent side-wind and cars passing by. Not for the faint of heart, but beautiful.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

Good weather, chilly to start but just right once we got into the woods. The marathoners spread out pretty quickly and for the first 16 or so miles I was running by myself for most of it. The aid stations are well placed and spaced out just right so I didn’t need to carry anything besides a hand-held.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

There are lots of short, steep climbs so be prepared. And the second half has a lot of rocky and rooty sections that are not easy.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

A 7am start meant getting up at 4am to drive to the start. Usually I’d stay the night close to the race at Lake Campbell. So waking up early, driving, and trying to get some calories in before the start didn’t work great and the first few miles of the race my body was super sluggish.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Don’t get frustrated with the stopping and starting along the out-and-backs during the second half of the race.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It is one of the prettiest courses in the PNW. You start running along the coast and then up to a beautiful vista at Goose Point. Then miles 7-14 are in a nice lush forest. You cross Deception Pass Bridge, twice, which is spectacular. Then the later miles are out to small points with views of the bays and the ocean, bald eagles, kayakers and sometimes seals.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

There are a few short, steep climbs and the rockyness makes parts of it not super runnable but none of it is difficult.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Very well organized, lots of volunteers, well communicated, well marked trails, etc.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There were a few very fast runners, but for the most part it was pretty chill as far as “competition”.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Nothing special, I don’t think it even sold out. Lots of lodging on the island as well as a few minutes further in Anacortes. Lots of parking at the start, you just need a Discovery Pass.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

There was quite a bit for everyone at the aid stations. GUs, tailwind, Coke etc as well as your standard snacks.

Weather and typical race conditions

March along the coast is going to be chilly, but the fog burned off and the sun came out later in the race. I think even if it was rainy, most of the course is pretty sheltered by trees. There were a few pretty muddy spots, but nothing horrible.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

I only carried a hand-held, the aid stations were spaced well and stocked great. The trails are rocky in spots so I’d recommend cushy shoes.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It isn’t that great for spectators, there are maybe 4 or so spots to see your runner. But on the other hand, it is a great place to go explore and enjoy the park while your runner is out there. Lots of trails to hike/run, on and off the course.

How’s the Swag?

Meh, we all got a race medal that said “Marathon and Half Marathon”. I guess I’d rather pay a bit less and not get the medal or pay a touch more and get one specifically for the distance I ran. But some people don’t mind.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

Five out of five stars. Fun trails, well run and that spectacular, coastal scenery.