Redmond Harvest Half Marathon Race Report – Brian Comer

Photo: Seattle United Runners

Race: Redmond Harvest Half Marathon

Runner: Coach Brian Comer

Race Date: 09/04/2023

Location: Redmond, WA


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

  1. This is a great course for those looking to PR, a flat out and back along the Sammamish River Trail with really good competition considering it was the USATF PNW Half Marathon Championship.
  2. With it serving as the championship, there was also a team competition with cross country style scoring which is always fun.
  3. For being its inaugural year, the race was really well run. Good venues for the start/finish area as well as the post-race party. Accurate mile markers and given the trail wasn’t closed off for the race, there was plenty of spectator and volunteer support all along the course.

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

Nothing really to put here, the turnaround was a bit of a hairpin turn but there isn’t really much that can be done to address that other than not taking the turn too tightly. With the trail being open, you might also have to prepare yourself to dodge other foot traffic and bikes but for the most part, everyone was understanding and accommodating as they were aware of the race, allowing runners to follow the tangents and often cheering runners on as well.

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

Nothing necessarily weird per se but some opt to really lean into the race’s harvest theme.

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

This wound up being a breakthrough race in a way for me. I ran nearly a 3 minute PR, which doesn’t happen often with experienced level runners. Weather was perfect, felt smooth the first half as well even when my stomach was feeling less than ideal. Legs started falling off around mile 8 plus there was a brutal headwind on the way back. I was still able to rally well and come back strong for the last couple miles.

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

If at all possible, I’d recommend picking up your race bib prior to race morning. There’s two opportunities to do so (Saturday in Seattle and Sunday in Redmond) leaving you with options no matter what your Labor Day holiday weekend might look like. Also have fun with it, being an out and back course you’ll tend to be surrounded by people throughout the race. That extra energy and excitement will help put a little pep in your step.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I definitely ate too much too close to race time. I kept telling myself the extra piece of toast would come in handy the second half of the race but all it brought was stomach discomfort.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s a paved out and back course. It starts and finishes in Marymoor Park in a paved lot west of the Velodrome and follows the Marymoor Commuter trail out of the park before joining up with the Sammamish River Trail. Aside from the hairpin at the turnaround and some natural turns to stay on the trail, there is a pedestrian bridge at Leary Street you cross with a spiral path on each side.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I’d say the course is pretty, very urban but you get a lot of nice views of the river throughout. Marymoor is also quite nice as well, not to mention running by Sixty Acres Park brought back all the nostalgia from my days of playing peewee soccer.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not all that difficult, flat and fast. Definitely a good course for a PR.

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

Very well oiled machine despite this year being the inaugural year for the race. Accurate mile markers, ample volunteers, good course markings and all around support/energy.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Absolutely with it being the USATF PNW Half Marathon Championship with prize money for the top 3 USATF finishers and top 3 teams. I ran 1:09:49 which was good for 5th place overall. Top 15 were all under 1:15, 31 (including the top woman) under 1:20.

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.

No special handshake but there are discount codes passed around amongst the local clubs. For those coming from out of town, the Redmond Inn (which is really close to the start/finish and one of the race sponsors) provides a good lodging option.

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

Four aid stations (two that you hit twice each, miles 4, 6, 7, and 9)all with water and GU Tropical Citrus hydration drink. Miles 4 and 9 have GU Blueberry Pomegranate Energy Chews and Miles 6 and 7 have GU Vanilla Orange Roctane Energy Gels.

Weather and typical race conditions

Really perfect running conditions, cloudy and low 60s. Rain did eventually come but it was more of a refreshing drizzle if anything.

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

No extra gear was really needed.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Absolutely, with it being an out and back course, you can stay in one spot on the trail and see runners twice. Hanging out at Marymoor provides viewing of the start/finish while there’s also a foot bridge over the trail (between miles 2 and 3/ 10 and 11) that’s accessible and good for viewing. With the race entirely on a paved run/bike trail, there aren’t any road closures, meaning you could drive freely to various spots on the course if you desire.

How’s the Swag?

Good, finisher medals are nice, top 3 in addition to prize money also got gift baskets. 4th-6th place overall as well as age group winners also got gift cards to Super Jock n’ Jill. Nice race shirts too. In order to guarantee a shirt, there is a registration deadline, which this year was August 10th.

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

5 stars I definitely recommend others run it.

Photo: Seattle United Runners

Brian Comer is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.