Race: Squak Mt. Marathon – http://www.evergreentrailruns.com/squak-mtn-trail-run
Runner: Josh B
Location: Issaquah WA
Results – 7:30 or so.
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
- Vertical Gain. I signed up for this as a training race only and it squeezes 8k of gain into a marathon. They have a 50k option that has almost 10k of gain. Perfect early season training race for Mountainous summer races.
- Well supported aid stations. The aid stations were stocked well and had volunteers that were also trail runners. Great food selection for runners that don’t want to carry a ton of stuff on them.
- Location- Being only 30 minutes from Seattle makes it an easy race logistically.
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you.
This course has two loops so for people that don’t like loop courses this would not be for you. In terms of a training run, this course was perfect for me.
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular.
I used this as a test of gear and nutrition for an upcoming race. All the gear I used worked perfectly and I was able to practice eating real food as the aid station selection of food was great. Now if I could only get every aid station to have nutella quesadillas and bacon avocado quesadillas I would be set. I went into the race with the goal of finishing and feeling fresh afterwards and succeeded with this.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
If I was to race this, not as a training run, I would only carry a single handheld or small camelbak for water/nutrition. The aid stations are close together and well stocked which makes there no need to carry a bunch of stuff on you. Being a two loop course you also could leave a drop bag at the halfway point so that you could grab stuff.
Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
The single track portions are nice but there are no great views. For a race with 8k vert you would expect some nice views.
Difficulty – is it a tough course
The amount of gain makes it difficult but the trails are not technical so it is not too bad.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Evergreen Trail Runs does a good job managing these races. The races are cheap and organized well. Nice finish line atmosphere afterwards.
Competition – is there a strong field?
Seems like most of the field was using this as training for other future races. Not very competitive all together.
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 race logistically. They even have day of race registration.
5 aid stations for the marathon which was plenty. Each one had plenty of food and beverage options.
Weather and typical race conditions – The weather was sunny and in the 60s this year. I could imagine years where the weather could be rainy. Even with rain the course wouldn’t be too muddy.
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy? This race requires minimal gear as the aid stations are close together. A single handheld or small camelbak would be adequate.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends. Crews really only have access to the start/finish area which you pass through at the halfway point. I guess crews could hike up to the peak and see you come by if they wanted to. It would be a couple mile hike with 1500ft of gain or so.
Awards – No awards or medals.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it. 4 stars as a training run.