Location: Snohomish, WA
Results: 4:39:19, PR!
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most –
- I vastly prefer small races like this one: 175 marathoners and 1500 runners across 3 distances with staggered starts, so it was not crowded. (Though this can get lonely.) Parking was not too much of a hassle.
- Course was well laid out: While the out and back is less exciting than a loop or point-to-point; I think they did well what they had. It was completely flat; I was expecting a couple of small hills, but I barely even noticed them. Definitely good for a PR.
- Aid stations: For the marathon, there was an aid station every 2 miles or so, which was great. They had Nuun, water and some had gel shots. There were plenty of bathrooms along the course as well, which was a big help.
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
These are nitpicks, but:
- The aid stations could have been a bit better if they had clearly noted where the Nuun was and where the water was. I had to ask each time, which probably cost me 1 second per stop.
- The 5 hour cut-off had me worried for a while. Looking at the results, there were some finishing times well past 6 hours, so it seems like they didn’t enforce the cut-off time (?), which was confusing. So also, there was a 1:45 cut-off for 9.25 miles, though the website made it seem like it was for 10 miles, which had me worried and I ran faster than I should have for the first 7-8 miles.
- There were no instructions for spectators and support.
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
The 15 mile timing belt didn’t work properly, so my spectator didn’t get an update from that milestone.
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
I was happy that I ran at a pretty consistent pace through about 23 miles, and then slowed down only slightly. I didn’t hit much of a wall, and managed to pick off a number of people who significantly slowed down in the last 10 miles or so.
Lessons Learned – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around
Can’t really think of any “gotchas”. It was a great race and went smoothly. There’s no solid food at the aid stations (eg: bagels or Clif bars), so you should carry those with you if you need them.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
The course is two outs and backs; from the start-finish area, you do about 4.75 to the NNE and back, and then 8.5 to the NW and back. For much of both of these sections, it’s pretty difficult for a spectator or support person to access the trail or road, either due to lack of roads close-by, or due to roads that are closed.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
It was well run. The surplus of aid stations, sufficient portable toilets, small number of runners, easy parking all made the race a pleasant experience.
Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?
Can’t think of anything.
Weather and typical race conditions
Given that this is mid-October in Seattle, I’d say it’s about 50-50 between a cool and dry race like it was this time around (perfect, in other words), and rain. So check the weather a few times before the race.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends and family?
So-so. There were relatively few points on the surrounding roads that had easy access to the course. But where there was access; it was easy to find parking and make the short walks to the course.
How’s the swag?
Very large, heavy medal. I appreciate that they gave people virtual swag; because the race bag is usually rubbish that sits around on the counter for a few weeks until I throw it out. I’d prefer a tech t-shirt to the cotton ones; so that was slightly disappointing.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
No complaints; 5 stars.