Mercer Island Half Marathon Race Report – Brian S

Race: Mercer Island Half

Runner: Brian S

Race Date: 03/24/2019

Location: Mercer Island, WA

Results: 1:34:26 (CR for me)

Strava Activity Link:

mercer island half race report

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

  1. Size of the race, not too big make a pain, but enough folks to have plenty of folks to run down. About 1000 this year, typically closer to 1500.
  2. Having an indoor space to stay warm pre-race.
  3. The course. Lots of unique sections to keep engaged. It’s challenging but not over the top. Full disclosure, it’s my home course so I’m very familiar and think it’s a great place to run.

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

The long hill near the end, for me it’s a tough mental challenge to hit it late in the race and see it looming ahead of you.

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

A good weird- post race grilled cheese from a food truck.

Not much weird in race – in fact it could use some weird things to spice it up.

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

Kept the starting miles in check and was able to slowly increase the pace. I enjoyed the varied groups of spectators along the route.

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

It has several small hills along the way and never really feels too flat. And keep some in the tank for the final ~3 miles as you’ll find the longer hills in this section.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Be ready to work and connect with someone in the final 3 miles help you keep on pace.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s twisty and has enough hills to keep you working most of the course.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

You get a few lake views along the way and have plenty of twisty tree lined streets.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Overall, it’s not too difficult, but the layout seems to load the stress in the last half. See the image for my take on the stages of the course.

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

It felt well organized. The start has pace/corral markers but it seems that many jump in the front and makes the first mile pretty thick. It’s also a plus as you get a mental bonus from passing lots of people for the first few miles.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Plenty of competition at my level to keep in the mix with plenty of other runners through the full course.

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. It’s a bit of later start time and makes it a casual morning vs. rushing to make to the line on time. The P&R closes at 7:45 AM, but plenty of nearby parking is available in “downtown” area just an extra block away after 7:45.

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

Standard fare – not sure you need a water station at mile 1. Plenty of water stations and gel at mile 8.

Weather and typical race conditions

I’ve run this for the past 5 years, so far it’s been warmish and hasn’t been a washout. This year had temps in the upper 40’s to low 50’s. Felt like pretty ideal conditions.

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

Nothing special.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Spectators can hop around fairly easily using Island Crest Way.

How’s the Swag?

Pretty standard tech shirt. Some decent swag at the race expo.

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

I’d give it a 4/5. It provides a good challenge, it’s well run, has enough spectators and scenery to keep it form being boring, and has a building to stay warm pre-race. Only negative is that it’s kinda pricey and they ran out of grilled cheese this year.