Race: Seattle Marathon
Runner: Coach Keith Laverty
Race Date: 11/26/2023
Location: Seattle, WA
Results: 3rd OA, 2:32:07
Strava Activity Link
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- Big turnout from the running community; lots of on-course cheer stations and enthusiasm!
- Despite the course change, I liked that the course returned back to starting and finishing in the Seattle center.
- I enjoyed running in a solid pack of 6 other runners! A lot of my training is solo too, so I feel like I got a good boost with the pack to help pull me along for a faster time.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Mile 22-24 got super congested with the marathon runners meeting back up with the half-marathon field. The half had about 3,000 finishers, which is amazing! But it made it tough to find flow and weave through huge crowds of runners, while also losing sight of my next competitor who came in 2nd place.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
- Certainly a few quirky parts of the course. I almost took a critical wrong turn that wasn’t super obvious/marked and the same thing happened with another one of our pack runners earlier too. Several icy and slick bits of the course too! One of those sections was on a brick uphill path near the UW campus and I literally had to side step to the sidewalk because the Nike Next% 2 was no good for traction!
- Another weird part was when we all had to awkwardly hop over a higher concrete barrier and one of the runners in my pack nearly slammed into one of those large orange traffic signs.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
- My even pacing strategy, staying even-keeled even despite many distractions/challenges from the race (aka, managing stress response!), and staying in the hunt for the podium spot.
- Not taking it too seriously and remembering to smile!
- My fast finishing kick in the final 800m to secure the last podium spot by a mere 4 seconds! It was a stressful, yet exhilarating and fun way to finish!
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
- Be aware of your footing! Many potholes, icy sections (if cold enough), wet leaves through Interlakken, other transitions between dirt/gravel and road, and other tight turns.
- There’s no day-of-race bib pick-up, it must be done on either Friday or Saturday in downtown Seattle. Nice that they offer pick-up for 2 days prior to the race though.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Not so much for the first ~6 miles with mostly running the I-5 expressway highway section but after that, not too bad! You get a taste of the UW campus, the Arb, Interlakken Park is pretty, the iconic Gas Works Park and then the classic Green Lake loops!
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
For a road marathon, certainly up there as one of the harder ones out there. Definitely not quite as fast and smooth as many other marathons. There’s about 1600′ of gain for this new course that was used for the first time this year, and several tight turns or places that change from road to gravel and visa versa.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
I think the Seattle Marathon seemed to step up their game this year based on stories I had heard from the previous two years. Mostly dialed in. However, still a couple of course logistics that could be ironed out a little better, such as the congestion of marathon runners with half-marathon runners in the final 5 miles.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
This year’s field seemed to be the strongest it has seen in the last 10 years! Including in both the marathon and the half distances. In my race, the top-10 all ran under 2:40. So pretty strong given the difficult course!
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
There were stations about every 2-2.5 miles on the course, and most gave out cups of water and Nuun Hydration.
Weather and typical race conditions
About as nice as I could’ve expected for a late November day in Seattle! Although it was pretty cold, ~34 degrees at the start and it barely warmed up at all by the end of my race!
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
For a very cold morning, I’d recommend to consider wearing gloves, arm sleeves and a cap. And those items are easy to take off or to ditch later into the race if need be.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
- Not bad! Many areas for spectators to cheer. However, driving around the city presented some challenges with many road closures too, so make sure spectators allow themselves enough time and probably only limit to 1-2 different cheer spots on the course.
- Runners go through one area twice, Mile 7ish, and again at Mile 12ish, so that’s a solid place to spectate from.
How’s the Swag?
The post-race swag bag was pretty impressive! Besides the race medal and a generic long-sleeve tech shirt, we also got a Miir insulated coffee mug, a bin of Huma hydration drink mix, a big tin of CBD/herbal recovery balm and a tall insulated hydration bottle.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
4 out of 5 stars – A few hiccups here and there on the course profile and logistics but the race has now returned to starting/finishing back at the Seattle Center and the running community really showed up!
Keith Laverty is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.