middlefork half marathon
Photo: Taryn Graham

Race: Middle Fork Half Marathon

Runner: Rodney B

Race Date: 09/08/2018

Location: Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Campground

Results: 2:55

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

As a mountain bike racer who was forced off the bike by a heart operation in April, I liked everything about this race because it was my first one. I have not run for decades, and Coach Mark Cliggett has been getting me into running shape gradually over the last few months. I was happy to finish while having fun the whole way. I am on a heart rate limit, so the slow time is not Mark’s fault. And it allowed me to enjoy the beautiful trail, the friendly runners, and the flawless operation of the race organizer.

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

All good, especially for a race that had to be re-routed at the last minute after the usual course was destroyed by a large landslide.

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

Everything about running is weird to me — in a good way.

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

Having never run a half marathon, I just wanted to finish. Also, despite my heart rate limit, I wanted not to finish last. I was careful to run just hard enough to beat a few other people. Silly, but real.

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

I carried too much stuff. There were plenty of aid stations to allow you to run without much stuff.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I like going downhill fast, presumably from my mountain biking background and also because it’s the only way I can gain on someone while I have a heart rate limit.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

I don’t think they’ll use this course again after they fix the landslide on the original course.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Gorgeous.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Medium?

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

Superb organization.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I can’t see them from my place in the back of the pack.

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.

Easy.

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

Seemed good to me.

Weather and typical race conditions

Cool and misty, but in some years early September could be sunny and warm.

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

Less of it.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, but only because the alternate course used this year did three out-and-back loops that crossed the main campground each time.

How’s the Swag?

I didn’t order anything or get anything free. Maybe I should have finished last and gotten the “red lantern” that cyclists get.

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

Five stars, based on my total racing sample size of 1.