Capital City Half Marathon Race Report – Coach Keith Laverty

Photo: Jen Kelly

Race: Capital City Half Marathon

Runner: Coach Keith Laverty

Race Date: 05/21/2023

Location: Olympia, WA

Results: 1st Overall, 1:13:46

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/9114235125

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

  1. The fanfare and lively spectators around town, and from their driveways in some residential areas toward the end.
  2. Easy, straightforward logistics and parking
  3. The course!

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

At one water station, I seemed to grab the small water cup a little too aggressively from a volunteer teenager and I basically smashed the cup too much, spilling water everywhere! But still got enough water for what I wanted. I remember this happened during a half marathon in 2019 too, so I seem to have a problem in grabbing water cups gracefully : )

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

Overall pace management over the hilly terrain and race execution. Started fairly comfortable and smooth, then gradually floated away into the lead later in the 1st mile. Then started to work harder heading into the 2nd half including letting it fly for the final downhill mile with ~5:00-5:05 split. Hilly, road courses plays into my strengths as an experienced trail runner and my track/speed background, so I didn’t mind the hills!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Be prepared for a few good hills and not exactly the best course if you’re seeking a PR! The last mile is a consistent, steady downhill which is an absolute blast!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Not bad! A nice mix of some city running but also more rural, countryside streets too. Toward the end, you run through some residential streets and it seemed like everyone came out to cheer (and party!) from their front yards and driveways!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I’d say fairly harder than the average half-marathon course with 500′ of elevation gain. I felt that the toughest section is a constant uphill from about Mile 9.0-10.5.

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

All good here! Very well-organized, no snafus. They have a bag check fairly close to the start too, which was very convenient.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not particularly but you never know who could show up!

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.

All pretty simple and straightforward. You can register up until the week of the race. I stayed with a friend, so not sure on booking lodging. There were nearly 1,000 entrants for the half alone though, so you may want to secure lodging at least a few weeks in advance if you can!

Weather and typical race conditions

Mid-50’s and overcast… pretty ideal! The day before was very hot though too, so probably lucked out a bit this year!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

I’d say so! The half is one big loop, so perhaps opportunity to see your runner somewhere in the middle before they reach the finish; however several roads closed off too. Spectating by bike could be a good option too.

How’s the Swag?

Pretty standard swag. A gray long-sleeve with thumbholes and a medal. For winning the race, I received a plaque in a fancy box and a dinner for two at the local Anthony’s restaurant.

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

4 out of 5 stars – Well-organized, great community event!

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

Sun Mountain 20 Mile Race Report – Shannon Payne

Race: Sun Mountain 20 Mile

Runner: Shannon Payne

Race Date: 05/13/2023

Location: Winthrop, WA

Results: https://chronokeep.com/results/sun-mountain-50m#50Mile

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/9065833201

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

Balsamroot! 360 views of the North Cascades! Pizza party and private beach on Patterson Lake at the finish line!

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

On an early season warm day one more aid station would have been nice.

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

Dogs can run at Sun Mt now and I got beat by one this year!

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

I dialed my effort back a notch on the first 8 mile climb and was able to give a steady effort through to the finish line.

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

Don’t go too hard on the intro climb because there are a couple more 1-2 mile climbs, one of them at mile 15.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Pay attention! I got turned around and lost the trail – lucky for me another runner came up behind me and we parsed it out together.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

A fair amount of exposure on the big climb, luckily you’ll hit this early in the day – unless you’re running the 50 mile!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Gorgeous, especially in May, nothing beats balsamroot blooming in the peaks of the Methow.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Well, it wasn’t easy, but I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder?

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

Rainshadow Running has trail races down. They’re a little old school in that the race length is more a suggestion of minimum distance and there may be a few trees down on the course, but it’s all in the spirit of a good time on the trails – as it should be!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Some fast folks as always, but it’s reasonable, i.e. don’t be afraid to show up.

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.

This was the first year for the 20 mile and it didn’t sell out (104 registered), but I expect this distance might become as popular as the Sun Mountain 25k which requires a lottery.

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

Standard fare, fruit at the Woodpecker aid station was a welcome treat.

Weather and typical race conditions

Last year was cold and rainy, this year was sunny and 80 degrees – it’s spring in the Methow!

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

I used a handheld, but also saw a lot of folks wearing vests. Given the paucity of aid stations and the heat, I was glad I carried my own fluids.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Maybe? Cheer squads can access the Woodpecker aid station and there are other places you could connect with your runner on the course if you wanted. The party at the finish was very family friendly – dogs, kids, and a lake!

How’s the Swag?

A high five from James Varner as you cross the finish line!

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

Is this a 5 star system? If so, I’ll give it 5 stars. Rainshadow Running knows how to throw a party and you can’t beat spring in the Methow.

Bloomsday 12k Race Report – Sarah Garza

Race: Bloomsday 12K

Runner: Sarah Garza

Race Date: 05/07/2023

Location: Spokane, Washington

Results: 1:05:22

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

  1. The energy of the runners – most of the participants, such as myself, are frequent flyers of this particular race, and it’s always a great way to kick off summer!
  2. The race is well orchestrated, and everything flows nicely, even with thousands of participants of all skill levels.
  3. The supportive spectators/race entertainment along the course – such a fun experience for a tough race!

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

The one thing I don’t love is the way the first part of the race is very crowded while individuals are getting their paces in check.

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

I really enjoyed running the course with my coach, Jodi O’Shea! She pushed me through the race to do way better than I would have done on my own. Since I’m still in a recovery of sorts from a muscle injury in my leg, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to go through with the race at all! I was able to complete the run in my second-best time, so I very much exceeded my goal for the race.

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

The first mile or so can take some maneuvering skills because it is very congested in the beginning of the race. Although start times are staggered based on estimated finish times to prevent a lot of crowding, it doesn’t work out that way. I’ve tripped on people in my early days of this race, and wound up with scrapes and bruises.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Don’t let yourself think the end is close when you see mile mark 7! You still have further to go than you want to imagine.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Be ready for some hills – this course is well-known to be tough, particularly Doomsday Hill between mile 5 and 6.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s moderately hard, yes. Hilly, although elevation changes are nothing extreme.

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

I believe this was the 47th Bloomsday – it’s well-organized and I hope it stays that way in years to come!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Very strong – this year there were nearly 26,000 participants.

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.

It’s great to get everything booked in advance as you get better prices, but last minute registrations still take place! Since the race takes place in downtown Spokane there is a lot of lodging available in walking/jogging distance to the race start. The race entry costs are a lot less than so many races out there, even small local races.

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

There are a lot of aid stations available along the course. When you sign up they provide a map of all water/medical stations along the course.

Weather and typical race conditions

Since it’s springtime in Eastern Washington State, it’s a tossup of what weather you may come across. Some years are hot and sunny, others are mild and overcast… once in a while you get a bit of rain. This year was perfect, about 64 degrees with some clouds

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

No special gear. I’ve seen people dressed as bananas and I’ve seen people without shoes on. Just depends what your race goals are I suppose.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Definitely! Find a great band to park near for a fun experience.

How’s the Swag?

Minimal swag – you can purchase extra gear when you sign up for the race, and there’s a great expo when you pick up your race packet. But it’s only a cotton T-shirt at the end of the finish line.

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

5/5

Run the Green Race Report – Sean Celli

Race: Run The Green

Runner: Sean Celli

Race Date: 03/11/2023

Location: Kent, WA

Results: 1:25:24

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/ayzn6awQlyb

Reppin’ the TRR singlet and hat!

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

  • Super well organized like all Orca races, REI sponsored and even a massage 🙂
  • Good course support with timing mats at 3&10
  • Flat, fast, great scenery

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

  • GRT is still having work done so there’s a few bypasses with 6 bridges and extra underpasses. These make for a few sharp turns
  • Out and backs are not so fun, particularly when you get a little congested with 10k participants

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

100m on InterUrban Trail to get the distance, and a very abrupt turn around a cone. The support crew was 1 meter behind cone and you had to run between the cone and them. I was sure I’d knock her over!

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

I ran with a friend and we paced it perfectly. It was cool and sunny. Singlet and gloves. This course was ideal for my training and I could hear coach telling me that the stoke is on. I channeled it.

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

Be comfortable with turns, and like fast and flat. 200’ overall elevation.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I did not need to carry liquids as they had support with cups which was unexpected for Orca!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s gorgeous on the Green with loads of trees

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No, but the 200’ ups are primarily in the back half.

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

They have it down. Happy, nice, quick results on QR code and AG awards within minutes.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

This was inaugural run, so less than their will be, less than Lake Sam, but a good group of competitors nonetheless

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.

If you’re travelling, there’s places in Tukwila or Kent to stay. Easy logistics and free parking at race start, with a 3 minute walk to start line. And lots of porta potties than were brand new. Win!

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

Nuun and Clif gels. Cups and self fill. They were easy and friendly!

Weather and typical race conditions

It was ideal. 45-55, sun. I wouldn’t expect that for a Seattle March, usually drizzle and 40’s.

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

Check course support on cups. You might need to carry if you require liquids in a 1-2.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

For sure. Loads of places to view, bridge spots are great!

How’s the Swag?

Excellent. Shirts are unique and match great medal. AG awards for top 3 (gun time) in each AG, plus too 3 overall by gender

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

5

Deception Pass Marathon Race Report – Michael Linscott

Race: Deception Pass Marathon

Runner: Michael Linscott

Race Date: 03/11/2023

Location: Deception Pass, WA

Results: https://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=97667

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8698364345/overview

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

  • One of the prettiest courses around.
  • Super well organized and lots of aid stations.
  • Perfect weather.

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

  • At mile 16 of the marathon the course joins up with the half marathon and suddenly the course becomes very crowded.
  • Lots of the course is small out and backs along single-track trails. This causes a lot of congestion and stopping to let other runners pass.
  • The line for a burger at the finish line was super long.

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

  • A lot of the course is part of an out and back, or repeated.
  • Crossing Deception Pass Bridge is no joke. Especially with a decent side-wind and cars passing by. Not for the faint of heart, but beautiful.

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

Good weather, chilly to start but just right once we got into the woods. The marathoners spread out pretty quickly and for the first 16 or so miles I was running by myself for most of it. The aid stations are well placed and spaced out just right so I didn’t need to carry anything besides a hand-held.

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

There are lots of short, steep climbs so be prepared. And the second half has a lot of rocky and rooty sections that are not easy.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

A 7am start meant getting up at 4am to drive to the start. Usually I’d stay the night close to the race at Lake Campbell. So waking up early, driving, and trying to get some calories in before the start didn’t work great and the first few miles of the race my body was super sluggish.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Don’t get frustrated with the stopping and starting along the out-and-backs during the second half of the race.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It is one of the prettiest courses in the PNW. You start running along the coast and then up to a beautiful vista at Goose Point. Then miles 7-14 are in a nice lush forest. You cross Deception Pass Bridge, twice, which is spectacular. Then the later miles are out to small points with views of the bays and the ocean, bald eagles, kayakers and sometimes seals.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

There are a few short, steep climbs and the rockyness makes parts of it not super runnable but none of it is difficult.

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

Very well organized, lots of volunteers, well communicated, well marked trails, etc.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There were a few very fast runners, but for the most part it was pretty chill as far as “competition”.

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.

Nothing special, I don’t think it even sold out. Lots of lodging on the island as well as a few minutes further in Anacortes. Lots of parking at the start, you just need a Discovery Pass.

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

There was quite a bit for everyone at the aid stations. GUs, tailwind, Coke etc as well as your standard snacks.

Weather and typical race conditions

March along the coast is going to be chilly, but the fog burned off and the sun came out later in the race. I think even if it was rainy, most of the course is pretty sheltered by trees. There were a few pretty muddy spots, but nothing horrible.

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

I only carried a hand-held, the aid stations were spaced well and stocked great. The trails are rocky in spots so I’d recommend cushy shoes.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It isn’t that great for spectators, there are maybe 4 or so spots to see your runner. But on the other hand, it is a great place to go explore and enjoy the park while your runner is out there. Lots of trails to hike/run, on and off the course.

How’s the Swag?

Meh, we all got a race medal that said “Marathon and Half Marathon”. I guess I’d rather pay a bit less and not get the medal or pay a touch more and get one specifically for the distance I ran. But some people don’t mind.

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

Five out of five stars. Fun trails, well run and that spectacular, coastal scenery.

Sequalitchew Trail Marathon Race Report – Derek Siebert

Race: Sequalitchew Trail Marathon

Runner: Derek Siebert

Race Date: 03/04/2023

Location: DuPont, WA

Results: 3:55 4th of 37

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8660130876

Photo: Takao Suzuki

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

Well organized and well marked course. Lots of intersections so you do have to pay attention. Really supportive runners, volunteers and race staff. It’s a lollipop course so you get to see full, half and 10k runners multiple times. Great scenery in several parts of the course and nearly all of it is very runnable. Hot soup at the end was awesome on a dreary day.

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

Smaller field meant lots of time running alone.

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

When you run on the beach, the rocks are very difficult to run on. Fortunately it’s only for a couple hundred yards. Enjoy the view while you’re down there!

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

I jumped in last minute as a training race with the goal of negative splitting. I missed this by a couple minutes, but still happy with the even effort. Wasn’t wrecked at end so that’s always a bonus.

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

The first couple miles and the tunnel miles you can run pretty freely. The uphill switchbacks are steep, but only take a couple minutes. No reason to kill yourself here. Power hike and have something to eat and get back at it.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Not much I would have done differently. Make sure you wear trail shoes to have any confidence on the single track and downhill portions. It wasn’t muddy, but road shoes would have been dicey.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Course is marked with ribbons and flour with directional arrows and X’s. Pay attention. It’s well marked, but if you don’t see a flag for awhile, you went the wrong way. Look for the X’s on the ground and don’t cross over them!

Photo: Takao Suzuki

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Both on the beach, on top in the neighborhoods and through the tree tunnel were all enjoyable to run. A few neighborhood crossings that aren’t monitored, but no traffic to deal with.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

If you’re trained for a road marathon, it can be a tough course. If you’ve done some trail prep, then it’s not technical or steep with only 2000′ in the full marathon.

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

Organized by Run Super on the old DuPont Marathon route. First time they’ve been the race organizer for this course and it was very well organized, as usual. One aid station on course and one at start/finish line so much more of an ultra type spacing vs. a road marathon. Great photos for free, good food/drink, nice medal and t-shirt included.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

A lot more people registered for the half, but with only 37 for the full it was pretty spread out. Most of the racing was done in the first half as people settled into their paces.

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.

Very easy to get into. Just register. Local race and plenty of free parking. Can get out of your vehicle 10 minutes before race.

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

Pretty standard fare, but nice to have warm soup at the end!

Weather and typical race conditions

At race start it was 35 degrees with a rain/snow mix. Precipitation stopped after about an hour. Plan for a long, wet day.

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

Trail shoes and dress to stay warm.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

The full is 2 loops so there is some opportunity. But I don’t think I saw a single spectator on course or at end. You’ll be sharing trails with walkers, runners etc.

How’s the Swag?

Standard T-Shirt and nice medal.

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

4/5 stars. It’s a great way to not have to run alone for a long run. I think the half would be fun to race.

Lake Sammamish Half Marathon Race Report – Matt Hall

Race: Lake Sammamish Half

Runner: Matt Hall

Race Date: 03/04/2023

Location: Redmond, WA

Results: https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/87210

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8660451360

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

  • Great Trail
  • Great Communication
  • Great Race Swag/Free Photos

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

First mile is narrow trail; got stuck behind slower people.

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

Part of route was under construction and detoured onto road (won’t be the case next year). In the last 2 miles there was a very sharp left hand turn through a puddle and mud.

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

Maintained target pace for full first half of race.
Was well rested/hydrated/fueled.

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

Start at the front of the pack if you plan on finishing sub 1:30.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Start a bit faster; I was running with a group for the first 4-5 miles but then they slowed down and I ended up in a big gap between runners

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

First mile is crowded but the rest of the course is very wide and open.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very Pretty. Most of it is an old rail corridor and winding through parks

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Normally no, but the trail construction detour added a stupid big hill at mile 8.

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

Very well run. Orca puts on a good race.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Very Competitive; Multiple people finished sub 1:10. Too competitive for my taste 😆

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.

Race sold out so make sure you register at least a month in advance.

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

Aid Stations are cupless; basically useless. They had a few goos and snacks but I stuck with my hand waterbottle

Weather and typical race conditions

Weather was way worse than normal; 35 and raining 😭

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Lots of good spectating spots along the course but it is a point to point so you have to drive.

How’s the Swag?

Swag is great. Super comfortable t-shirts. Nice handcrafted medals.

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

9/10. Definitely plan on doing every year. If they can figure out the first mile clog with some heats or something I’d give it a 10/10..

Richland Run Fest Half Marathon Race Report – Sarah Garza

Race: Richland Run Fest Half Marathon

Runner: Sarah Garza

Race Date: 02/25/2023

Location: Richland, Washington

Results: 1:56:10

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

No cars to worry about on the race path.

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

Too many out-and-backs (3 of them). Additionally, Richland has a lot of walking/bike paths that they could have chosen to keep the racecourse on, but I really didn’t like that they kept the course along the roads instead of the paths along the river. My suspicion is they wanted to add hills to the race, so they did what they did for that reason. But it didn’t make for great scenery.

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

Although I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, I still did a PR for my half marathon time.

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

Mile 8 was brutal. It got me! Keep your head in the race the whole time!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Fuel and hydrate better for the cold weather.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

All of mile 8 is uphill.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Could have been better.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

The course itself is not overly difficult, however there are head games involved because it is a low-grade hilly course with 3 parts with out and backs on some of the steeper parts of the course. Plus, it was 19 degrees out!

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

Seemed pretty organized aside from the start of the race where they just counted down and shouted “GO!”

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Moderately competitive, but I’d say there were a number of strong runners in the bunch!

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.

The more the merrier!

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

Water, Gatorade, and gels.

Weather and typical race conditions

  • 19 Degrees F; no wind or snow though.
  • We had a cold snap this year, so normally I think it’s around 35-40 degrees out in Richland in February.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

My friends didn’t want to be in the cold!

How’s the Swag?

It’s OK – a medal and a long-sleeved hooded shirt for the 13.1 mile.

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

4/10. In the future I might do the 5k – unless they re-route the course along the Columbia River then I’ll reconsider!

Frost Eagle Trail Run 5 Mile Race Report – Brandon Tower

Race: Frost Eagle Trail Run – 5 Miles

Runner: Brandon Tower

Race Date: 01/21/2023

Location: Soaring Eagle Regional Park, Sammamish, WA

Results: 33:15 – 3rd Place

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

  • For a trail course, its a good mix of flats and rollers. Nothing so steep that you had to walk, but it had enough variety to keep it interesting and true to trail racing. It was very technical (roots and rocks) but I think that made the course more fun, not less
  • Very well marked course. Even though it’s got a lot of twists and turns, following the course was really easy (although I almost made a wrong turn at the very end before I was saved by some kind spectators!)
  • Easy logistics. Not much more than driving to the park, grabbing a bib, and running. The porter-potty to runner ratio was also great

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

Limited parking. For those running the 5 mile race (which starts later) the only parking is along the road. I was one of the first there for the 5 mile race, and I was about a quarter mile away from the start line. Many others looked like they were parked more than half a mile away from the start. Not a huge deal, but if you need things pre-race that you want locked in your car before the race starts, your trip to the car could be something you have to build into the warm up

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

The podium prize is a coffee mug

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

The technical nature of the course creates a different athletic challenge than you’d get running a classic road race. I think this made it a lot of fun! While there were a number of tripping hazards, if you enjoy trail running, I think this is a great course

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

There’s a lot of tight singletrack. If you need to pass another runner, it might require some tactical maneuvering to do so safely and efficiently.

If the course is dry, the ground pretty well packed. I saw at least one runner using the Nike Vaporflys, and they didn’t seem to have any issues with traction. I used a heavy tread shoe myself though

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Should have paced myself better. I tried to hang with the eventual winner for too long, and I paid for it in the back-half of the race.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Keep an eye out for roots and rocks.

Also, the tree cover definitely messes with the GPS watch. The Strava posts I saw all had different distances for the 5 mile course, so the distance/pace monitor isn’t going to be reliable. This became tricky at the end. I had to make a turn towards the end, where one direction went to the finish, and the other took you back out. I thought I still had another quarter-mile to go, so I almost took the wrong direction. Fortunately, some spectators got me going the right way!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Classic forest/wood trail run. The trail is well-kept and scenic

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not especially. The course has some short rollers, but it feels mostly flat by trail standards.

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

This group knew what they were doing. Course was well marked, things ran on time, and the experience was smooth.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s a smaller race, probably only 200-300 for both the 5 mile and half marathon. There were some strong runners out there, but its not as deep as other marquee events.

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.

About as easy as it gets. Sign up online, show up on race day, and run. If you’re local, this is a simple one.

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

Aid stations were available out on the course. The course is a figure 8, done twice for the half marathon. The aid station is at the 8’s intersection, so you have plenty of opportunities to get aid if you’re looking for it.

Weather and typical race conditions

It’s a late January race, so it’s colder. I missed any rain, but if it had been wet, the course would have been a lot slower.

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

Nothing special. There’s a tent where you can keep a bag of dry clothes for when the race is done.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

There’s a few places you could post up near the beginning/end of the course.

How’s the Swag?

T-shirts are an additional cost.

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

Pretty close to 5 out of 5. Not many areas they could improve on. Race is a lot of fun and very well organized.

Seattle Ghost Marathon HM Race Report – Brandon Tower

Race: Seattle Ghost (Half Marathon Distance)

Runner: Brandon Tower

Race Date: 11/26/2022

Location: Seward Park, Seattle

Results: 1st Place

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

  1. Beautiful course run almost entirely along Lake Washington
  2. Smaller race without any of the logistical challenges that come from larger events
  3. Pancake flat throughout

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

The course is run mostly on sidewalks without restricting any access to the general public. This made for narrow running lanes at points. Also, a stretch of the sidewalk is very uneven, with large cracks/roots making it difficult to get sure footing. It doesn’t rise to the level of being hazardous, but it slows you down slightly.

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

The prize for the winners was a stuffed Husky dog with a bib around it’s neck.

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

The course views are incredible throughout. Very scenic and enjoyable place to run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s a smaller and less competitive field. The winning times for these races would not be good enough to podium larger events, the Seattle Marathon that took place the same day.

Wild Moose Chase 10k Race Report – Coach Jodi O’Shea

Race: Wild Moose Chase 10k Trail Run

Runner: Coach Jodi O’Shea

Race Date: 10/16/2022

Location: Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Washington

Results: 1st Age group 1:00:56 (tried to get under one hour but a bit too cautious on the descents!)

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

I really liked the local feel of this race. It was just the right mix of fun and professionalism. Funds from the race benefited Eastern Washington University physical therapy students. The race was located in Riverside State Park and was beautiful, weather was perfect .

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

They should start the runners in 2-3 waves. One for faster runners and the other for slower runners, then walkers. Since the course starts mostly single track this was difficult as many slower runners were at the front and difficult to pass. Also some people walking the hills did not move over to the right so course etiquitte would be a good reminder at the start. (Walkers on left, Runners on right.) I did not worry too much about this since I wasn’t really worried about running for a fast time.

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

The athlete briefing at the start was memorable. They let us know there was active military exercises on the course but not to worry about hearing “machine gun” fire as they would be blanks. Also apparently there was a coyote den on the far side of the course and they let us know to try to veer away from that! When we got to that part, I surely decided to run faster.

Running into Lindsey was a highlight!

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

One of my athletes, Lindsey Duhamel was running the 25 K. The highlight of my race was running into her where the 25 K / 10 K course merged . What were the chances of that kind of timing? I checked on how she was doing and she had cold fingers/ hands and I happened to have gloves which I had just removed so I was able to give them to her. I laughed about that all the way to the finish.

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

Start in the front if you are a faster runner, If you are slower or walking start in the back. I consider myself mid-pack but got stuck for the first mile behind slower runners/ walkers.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Gloves were nice to have at the start of the race. Temp was 48 degrees.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

One loop for the 10 K, 2 larger loops for the 25 K.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I would classify this as “moderate,” not difficult but not easy due to some elevation and loose rock footing. Some sections are slightly technical.

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

This was done well. Each year a different PT class takes over the race so it was run well.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I was 1st in my age group (female 50-59). There were 23 women in my age group so I am not sure how to gauge. I wouldn’t have otherwise considered my run very competitive so I was surprised by my results.

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.

Signed up online. No issues. Stayed at Centennial hotel. I booked a couple weeks in advance but on the night before the race most hotels were booked out due to other events in the area.

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

Water at 3 miles.

Weather and typical race conditions

Cool, crisp 48 degrees at start , warmed up as the day went on to about 70 degrees.

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

Shoes with good traction. Typical trail shoes work well. Some of the footing was pretty rocky.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Start/ finish easy to spectate.

How’s the Swag?

Shirt, wood medal. The Age group winner’s medal is really nice.

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

I would give this 4/5 stars.

Jodi O’Shea is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with her, check out her coach profile.

The Spokane Marathon 10k Race Report – Sarah Garza

Race: The Spokane Marathon 10k

Runner: Sarah Garza

Race Date: 10/09/2022

Location: Spokane Washington

Results: 54:21

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

  1. The weather was perfect!
  2. There was the right amount of ups and downs in the terrain.
  3. Not too crowded!

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

I didn’t love that the end was uphill.

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

My highlight was that I beat my personal goal, and even got 4th in my age group!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The crux of the course is between the 4th and 5th mile along the Centennial Trail.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s a pretty course in the city, and runs along the centennial trail and through some residential areas.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Moderately difficult – it’s mainly paved, but hilly. Some trail and some cobblestone road as well.

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

It’s a well oiled machine.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

About 200 runners in the 10k option. 400 for the half marathon, and 150 for the full marathon. Runners of all ages!

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 I think it’s a pretty open race for all!

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

Water and Gatorade offered every 2 miles.

Weather and typical race conditions

Early October in the Inland Northwest…cool in the early morning and warm by the early afternoon.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes!

How’s the Swag?

Nothing too extreme, a medal and a tech shirt.

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

I give it 5 stars and would definitely run it again!

Need some first-timer tips for race day? We’ve got you covered.

Orca Half Marathon Race Report – Chanelle Lansley

Race: The Orca Half Marathon

Runner: Chanelle Lansley

Race Date: 09/17/2022

Location: Seattle, WA

Results: 1:36:26.69

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

  1. The scenery! The run had beautiful views of the Puget Sound and Downtown throughout much of the race
  2. The organizers! The team managing the race was fantastic and very well organized.
  3. The celebration at the finish line! They had good snacks, live music, and positive vibes at the finish line

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

A few out and backs that were awkwardly placed but unavoidable in order to maintain the view/course.

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

It’s a cup-less race

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

I enjoyed the people who organized the race, the people who ran the race, and the people who were cheering us on on the street!

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

If you need to hydrate often, bring water or a reusable cup

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The first part of the race is a trail at Lincoln park.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

After the first 2-3 miles, it’s almost entirely flat.

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

Yes

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I thought so!

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 registration process

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

Bring your own cups. They have gu available every 2 miles

Weather and typical race conditions

Beautiful weather

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

Hydration vest if you need extra water

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes

How’s the Swag?

Great! Shirt and medal

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

5 stars

Running your first race and need some first-timer tips? We’ve got you covered.

Rock n’ Roll Washington Half Marathon Race Report – Brian Comer

Race: Rock ‘N’ Roll Washington Half Marathon

Runner: Coach Brian Comer

Race Date: 09/04/2022

Location: Bellevue, Washington

Results: https://www.runrocknroll.com/washington-results?mkt_tok=MTI0LVFWRy03MzgAAAGGs0FKVlGGbTJexoRgRFjk8EDfDNRz5X2Q4tZRCAjPMlnctNb2PLih4RYw_kZRTKsKhafCx7-SIggF_EFgtnXVtJqb9HWxtaA5YJ_C490L-dEwCGvR

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7753992061/overview

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

  1. Very well run event from expo to race day.
  2. Lots of positive energy and vibes in addition to course support (ample number of volunteers).
  3. Live music on course with various local bands covering a wide spectrum of genres performing during the race.

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

Nothing that necessarily falls into this category but the cone layout was often confusing as far as determining what side of the road you were supposed to run on. However, this was remedied by volunteers and police at critical intersections along the course directing traffic.

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

Again, nothing that really falls into this category but the live bands on the course is a aspect unique to races in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series. Also at around mile 9, we had a well-timed “sasquatch crossing” that helped lift spirits as we got into the latter portion of the race and things started to hurt a little more. That was a fun little thing that helped boost overall morale. It was also along a section of the course that had a lot more surrounding trees as well, which I thought was appropriate.

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

For the first time in 3 years, Rock ‘N’ Roll was back in the PNW! It was cancelled for the pandemic in 2020, then again in 2021 when it was determined that Seattle didn’t have the police force necessary to host the event. Luckily, Bellevue was able to step up and host this year, re-branding the race as the inaugural Rock ‘N’ Roll Washington. It was nice to come back home and run in such a marquee event.

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

The course gives you plenty of variety, lots of ups and downs. You may not get the impression looking at the course map, but the course can be deceptively hilly and can be hard to find a rhythm on. This is because while there are a couple fairly major uphill segments, there are also some fairly significant downhill segments that you can really fly on. My advice would be to just take what the course gives you, trying to keep even effort on the uphills then cruising on the downhills.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I felt that having a conservative start was particularly beneficial, however there were definitely sections of the course where I could have pushed it a little more than I did. It was really easy to commit early on when starting in Corral 1, I was passing runners who started in the Elite Corral in the first couple miles (there was a minute gap between the corrals, via a wave start) but for much of the middle miles, I found myself in no man’s land. It wasn’t until around mile 10 where I found another Elite Corral runner to latch onto and pack up with for the last 5K of the race.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course is essentially one big loop though you’ll be making an ample amount of turns in both directions. The start and finish are both adjacent to Bellevue Downtown Park on opposite ends of the park. Don’t let the uphill along Bel-Red Road get in your head too much as you’ll get a significant downhill to catch your legs a couple miles later as you approach the 10 mile mark.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I’d say it’s a decently pretty course, we had really nice weather, sunny and clear plus not too warm, which helped this cause. Some of the residential sections and the aforementioned tree tunnel at the sasquatch crossing I’d say are pretty. The rest of the course is very indicative of what you’d find in a big city, but on the other hand it’s in those sections of the course where more spectators tend to congregate and cheer runners on.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I’d probably give the course a medium difficulty rating, nothing too crazy. While the uphills can be a little deceptive, there is more than enough downhill to make up for it. As I said, I think the most difficult thing is that you can’t rely on rhythm running when it comes to this course.

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

Absolutely, I’d say that all the Rock ‘N’ Roll events are very well run. They have been going on for a long time in various locations around the globe and despite this being the first edition of Rock ‘N’ Roll Washington, it would definitely qualify as a well-oiled machine.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I’d say there is pretty good competition. The winner snuck in just under 1:10 and top 10 were all mid-1:16 or under. I wound up finishing 5th overall, 1st in my age group and among non-elites. All 4 runners ahead of me in addition to the 6th place finisher were in the Elite Division (starting in the Elite Corral). I ran a time of 1:12:42, which was a 42 second PR. The field had some pretty decent depth as well as 15 runners broke 1:20 and 74 runners broke 1:30 in a field of 7904.

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.

If your coming from out of town, definitely book a hotel sooner rather than later. I didn’t have this problem technically being a local who grew up in the area but definitely plan accordingly if planning to travel in from out of town. Likewise, I’d register sooner rather than later as well, even just to try and lock down the best price. I feel a lot of entries this year (myself included) were entries that rolled over from 2020 and/or 2021 and when word gets out, it’ll fill up even quicker.

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

Pretty standard fare, water at all aid stations and Gatorade Endurance at every other aid station (8 total aid stations for the half marathon).

Weather and typical race conditions

Usually your in for pretty nice weather. It didn’t rain this year and there were cooler temps at the start given the start time is 6:30 AM but nothing cooler than mid-50s, getting into the mid-60s as you creep later into the morning (which is the listed average temperature listed on the website). Given the course time limit of 4 hours, you can reasonably expect to avoid the heat of the day.

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

Nothing overly specific or out of the ordinary.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Definitely a spectator friendly course, you can catch both the start and finish without straying very far from the Downtown Park. In addition, there are plenty of good viewpoints elsewhere in the downtown sections and in the residential areas if you either have local know-how or did your homework in reviewing the course and road closures.

How’s the Swag?

The swag is great and the medals are very cool (both individual race medals in addition to the heavy medals and remix medals). Not to mention at the expo, there is plenty of swag available for purchase both from various vendor booths in addition to the more official looking race swag like shirts, hats, sweatshirts, and finisher jackets.

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

I’d definitely give it 5 stars without a doubt. I’d recommend the race to others, whether your a beginner or advanced runner. The atmosphere and vibes at these events is pretty special and unmatched in many ways.

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

Tiger Mountain Trail 12k Race Report – Chanelle Lansley

Race: Tiger Mountain Trail Run, 12k

Runner: Chanelle Lansley

Race Date: 08/20/2022

Location: Tiger Mountain State Forest, Issaquah, WA

Results: 1:16:44 Elapsed Time, 1st place Female, 9th place overall

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7671456506

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

  1. The organizers and volunteers were great! There was a community-feel from the beginning until the end.
  2. The trail! This was my first trail race and I thought it was perfect for beginners and likely those with a lot more experience as well. It wasn’t too technical.
  3. Post-race snacks. There was a good amount of fuel and hydration available.

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

The trail had a lot of mountain bikers, who were all very considerate and friendly towards the runners, but made for some crowded trails at times.

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

There was a baby bear spotting!

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

I enjoyed the mentally “fun” part of the race. It was a nice change of pace from my usual road running.

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

I tried the 12k instead of the half-marathon for my first trail race. I’m glad I started here because the elevation was tougher than I anticipated.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I wish I would have taken my hydration pack or belt. There was one aid station, but I could have been more self-sufficient.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very pretty!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not technically difficult, but maybe ~2k of elevation gain.

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

Yes

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.

Runners can register the morning of!

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

Standard

Weather and typical race conditions

It was a perfect day

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

At the start and finish, yes. Outside of that, no.

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

5

Volcanic 50k Race Report – Nate Orf

Race: Volcanic 50k

Runner: Nate Orf

Race Date: 08/06/2022

Location: Mt. St. Helens, WA

Results: https://ultrasignup.com/m_results_event.aspx?did=88715#id2013626

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/dref5oFcvsb

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

Well organized, great volunteers, and incredible scenery

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

Some light rappelling and lots of bouldering over lava fields, plus an aid station where all of the water is straight out of a glacier fed spring staffed by astronauts (a play on the moonscape of the blast zone you’re running through at the time)

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

Great first 20 miles, but made a hydration mistake (skimped on electrolytes) and had to fend off some fairly bad muscle cramping for the last 12+ miles.

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

Time on course beforehand is helpful to practice orienteering over sections where you navigate through boulder fields with no trail.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Switching to 100% electrolyte hydration, especially on hotter days

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

There is no good place to drop given remote location, which is good and bad.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Awe inspiring.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes. It has a prerequisite of a prior 50k or previously having run the 25k.

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

GoBeyond is fantastic and did a great job—well organized.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes, field is fairly deep considering smaller size (200ish runners, necessitated by USFS permit requirements)

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 options for hotels are limited near race. Drivable morning of from Portland area. Also regularly sells out, so always good to get in early (February), though waitlist is also usually an option.

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

They have to hike everything in for 5 miles to each aid station, but considering, good standard ultra fare (if no frills). Gu gels and drinks, plus pickles, chips, pb&j, etc.

Weather and typical race conditions

Wide variety—everything from mid 80s like this year to snow and cold, and sometimes both.

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

There are minim gear requirements (jacket, emergency blanket, whistle, and ability to carry water). Beyond that, if particular on nutrition plan on carrying it with you as there aren’t really any good places for crew to meet.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really.

How’s the Swag?

Minimal included in registration, but nice Nike and Territory Run swag available.

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

It kicked my butt and think that’s a pretty common sentiment (though was also my first ultra). Not another course like it and definitely an experience. 4.5/5 stars.

Need help prepping for your next 50k race? We’ve got you covered.

Vashon 50k Race Report – Nick Keenan

Photo: Kati Otto

Race: Vashon 50k

Runner: Nick Keenan

Race Date: 06/04/2022

Location: Vashon WA

Results: 4:47:11

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7255657546/overview

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

  • Beautiful trails, challenging but not overly technical.
  • Well supported and great community feel.
  • Three-loop course, so great for pushing the pace and finishing strong.

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

Small field, can get stretched out, and with many turns on the course, you can’t see runners close to you.

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

Not weird, but there’s an unofficial aid station that’s there every year with watermelon, water and other goodies.

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

Knowing the course, you can push the pace to the right level. Varying terrain and short climbs make for constant challenges.

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

  • Three ~ten-mile loops, use a drop-bag at the start for quick aid-station times. It’s spectator friendly, with a kid-friendly spot halfway through the loop, and about 1.5 miles by car or bike from the start.
  • There’s a 10 mile race the same day, starting an hour after the 50k. Very little overlap of runners.
  • Generally easy to pass runners, so don’t go out too fast.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

On the flatter and straight spots on the course — keep your effort level under control, especially the last two miles going into the start/finish area.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s three ~ten mile loops.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Pretty course, tall pines, forested pond, no views of water or mountains though.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Some roots and rocks in spots, can be muddy depending on recent rainfall. A little road running, and two (x3) road crossings.

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

Well organized. Aid station volunteers are veteran ultra runners who take good care of you. RD is super nice and an active ultra runner.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not usually.

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.

Ferry boat from Tacoma, Southworth or Fauntleroy West Seattle. Camping available, some small lodging options.

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

Standard stuff.

Weather and typical race conditions

Early June in the coastal PNW – usually cool at the start and getting warmer later in the day.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, see earlier comment.

How’s the Swag?

Unique finisher award, shirts available for purchase.

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

Four stars, always fun.

Thinking about running your first ultra? Check out our 7 steps to get started.

Sri Chinmoy 7 hour Race Report – Jonny Granby

Race: Sri Chinmoy 7 Hour Race

Runner: Jonathan Granby

Race Date: 05/28/2022

Location: Seattle, WA

Results: Stone dead last

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

  1. Simple but effective. This is a no-bells-and-whistles type of event, it has everything you could want or need and nothing extra.
  2. Mix of terrain. In a 1.54 mile loop it was remarkable to be on tarmac, gravel and single track, but the variety was immensely helpful in staving off boredom.
  3. Ties to Sri Chinmoy. The connection to this community provided a warmth and cheerfulness that is rarely seen.

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

  1. The lap tracking was a little, um, different. It was sweet in its simplicity but it didn’t always afford the runner accurate, timely information.
  2. The loop itself has a minor lollipop section where all the runners had to squeeze past each other going in opposite directions, not a major gripe but became tiresome

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

This race was entered in pursuit of a larger goal, to walk around Lake Washington (all 63 miles of it) in one day, we’re calling it WALWOD (Walk Around Lake Washington in One Day). This ultra event provided a great training opportunity to spend 7 hours walking on a flat terrain, largely mimicking the lakeside paths that’ll be used. Good testing for shoes, equipment and really just walking for so flipping long.

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

Not much to it. There’s no secret handshake required. Some legit runners show up, with at least one on their way to Western States later this year. You can park right on the side of the course, which is fabulous for easy access to gear changes and saving you tent set up or anything like that.

Tiger Claw Race Report – Samantha Goldklang

Race: Tiger Claw

Runner: Samantha Goldklang

Race Date: 05/14/2022

Location: Tiger Mountain, Issaquah, Washington

Results: 7 hour 15 minutes

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

  1. The atmosphere – it was hard but FUN! everyone was smiling cheering you on as you run through a beautiful PNW forest setting
  2. The challenge – physically and mentally. I am strong.
  3. The layout – 5 loops, choose your own order and adventure with a central start/end

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

This was my third trail race and my longest one by 10 miles. Also a 25 mile race that actually was 27/28, so an ultra. The vertical gain was also intense: 7500 ft. It started with a flat-ish loop that everyone does together. Then people spread out then to choose 1/4 first loops and complete all of them in any order. It was awesome because during a majority of the race you were alone, minus some smiling faces you passed. You didn’t know where anyone else was. It made the race super personal. It was my home mountain, I hiked or ran here every week, at least month. It was hard. It was long. It had some lows and some highs but after crawling up a short steep section for the last loop (1500 ft in just over a mile), I somehow ran down the last 2.5 miles the fastest all day with a giant smile on my face. I did it. I really did it.

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

Smile and have fun, breathe, and keep moving forward

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Test and dial in your nutrition! The longest run I did prior was 16 miles and I was able to get down my regular hiking snacks. This one, I didn’t have much of an appetite for the norm. I got down some dried mango, a protein bar, then tried my first GU after a steep uphill while on the move and got a cramp!!! It scared me into sticking to what I knew but I think before the next race I will probably test out some gels and different quick fuels to have on the go.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

I don’t know if any order is better but I would study the different loops elevation/mileage so you can pick an order

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Beautiful PNW forest

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

YES! SO MUCH VERT

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

YES! Everything was well marked. Volunteers were friendly

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes! There is also a double (50 miler) and I would see people crushing the hills I was going down uphill (after the first of each loops they have to do them in reverse)

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.

Sells out?

Weather and typical race conditions

PNW in the spring- 50s with some rain some sun, be prepared for anything

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes! Great place at the main loop start point to cheer you on!

How’s the Swag?

The medals are SO RAD

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

10/10, yes but be up for the mental and physical challenge. Would recommend training for the format of multiple loops

Interested in running an ultra? Check out our 7 steps to get started!

Badger Mountain Challenge 100 Race Report – David Greenwood

Race: Badger Mountain Challenge – 100 miler

Runner: David Greenwood

Race Date: 03/25/2022

Location: Richland, Washington

Results: 11th overall – 23:01

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6885456007

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

  1. Chill, but very well run event: This race is super laid back, very chill, but not at the expense of being well run. The race director was organized and good-humored, and it feels like there’s an awesome, tight-knit community rallying together to put the race on.
  2. Chunky: the race is broken up into distinct sections which I found helpful mentally. You could easily just focus on getting through one section at a time. You start with two mild climbs and descents (Badger + Candy), then a long flat section (road and endless vineyards), then a short chunky, dusty section (jeep trails), before arriving at all the McBee stuff – which entails a short steep climb up onto the ridge, a rolling 5 mile out and back on the ridge, and then returning down to the McBee aid station a different way than you come up, via a flowy 2-3 mile single track descent. And then you repeat everything in reverse order on your way back (to complete 50 miles). Because you see everything 4 times, you get to know the course super well and learn what sections you like and don’t like/what to expect.
  3. Flowy: The course offers a great mix of climbing, descending, and flats. Whenever you get tired of moving in one way, you get new terrain to run.

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

I have essentially no complaints about the race. During the race, I kind of hated the jeep trails because they were sufficiently choppy that it was hard to maintain any sort of rhythm. And they were also dusty and hot in the middle of the day, which was unpleasant. But I think every course needs a couple of sections that you hate.

If I had to come up with another complaint, I guess I’d say there wasn’t a ton of singletrack. Badger and Candy are great (smooth, manicured hiking trails) and the descent off McBee ridge is nice, but otherwise, it’s a lot of dirt roads and some pavement. Those roads put you next to the highway for a few miles and on pavement for a few miles as well. But it’s fine. Those sections go quick. And despite that, I was surprised by how pretty the course was overall.

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

The whole course is generally kind of weird. It’s desert + vineyards + dusty jeep trails + ridge running. But I think that makes it pretty unique.

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

I loved the whole experience (probably because I’m writing this a couple of weeks removed and have subconsciously blocked out all the pain and suffering). But two things in particular:

  • I think picking up my pacer at mile 50 and running off into the setting sun in the desert was pretty cool. Having a close buddy to run with was a huge pick-me-up. We watched the sunset right as we crested Candy. Then moon and residual sunlight allowed us to run for almost an hour after sunset without headlamps.
  • And secondly, on the home stretch, when my second pacer and I realized sub-24 was on the table, it was pretty cool to throw some headphones in and rally through the flat sections – the point where you start to smell the finish. This was my first 100 and so my family had recorded some touching motivational voice memos for me to use when things got tough. I thought it was cheesy at first but when I listened to them at about 90 miles in, I was choking up with emotion. They left me with a deep sense of gratitude for my support system and the ridiculously fun/bizarre/beautiful experience of running a race like this. Some combo of the voice memos, good fueling, and smelling the end helped us push pretty hard in the final 10 miles. And the trails down Candy and Badger are so flowy and gentle that you can really open it up if you have energy and finish strong. Finally, while bombing down Badger, a half-mile from the finish, it was pretty cool to pass by and give a quick hug to my sister, who was heading off on her first ultra (55k), which she finished later that afternoon.

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

I had a pretty straightforward experience with minimal issues – a large part of that was probably the awesome weather. I ran about 80 of 100 miles in a tee-shirt (and probably could have run the whole thing in a tee-shirt). From what I hear, that is very much not normal for Badger weather – where hypothermia at night is a semi-common occurrence.
One thing that I think was really helpful was lightweight gaiters. The race is pretty sandy and dusty, so I think gaiters are a really good way to mitigate the risk of blistering.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

For me, I felt like you just can’t start conservatively enough on a 100. For this race, Badger Mountain is super tempting to run up at the very beginning. I run-walked it, which felt very conservative at the time. But by 50 miles in, I was wishing I started even slower.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Gaiters for the dust, have super warm clothes ready for the night, and be conservative going up Badger at the beginning.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, it is. There are a few parts that aren’t – specifically the road section next to the highway. But Badger/Candy/vineyards/jeep trails/and McBee all offer pretty, expansive views of rolling desert hills, expansive farmland, and beautiful vineyards.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s 100 miles, so yes. BUT, with that qualifier out of the way, I would say not really. There’s nothing particularly scary.

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 but still casual and laid back.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I don’t think it’s particularly strong, but as the results show, there were a couple of ridiculously fast times.

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.

Very straightforward. I don’t think it reached capacity but there were still over 100 runners that started the 100. The race is very inexpensive for the experience (and swag) you get.

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

Aid stations were wonderful and were progressively well-stocked as the night went on (at Chandler Butte at 74 miles, I basically wolfed down a full hot meal in like 5 minutes – half a grilled cheese, a cup of chicken noodle soup, half a quesadilla and a cookie).

Weather and typical race conditions

The weather was ridiculously nice for us. Probably 50-65 degrees throughout with very mild wind. This is not normal, I am told. Don’t rely on this.

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

Gaiters for the dust. And I normally really like using poles, but the only time they’re really relevant is the 1-mile climb up McBee Ridge (which you do twice). I was surprised at how little I used them.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It’s great. I think our system worked well – I had my family/crew meet me at McBee at 19 and 31, then the start/finish at 50, and then back at McBee at 69 and 81. It was probably overkill to see them that many times, but I loved it and they were all happy to support. The timing can work great for crews who want to meet you at McBee for both 19 and 31 – in the 2-3 hours in between seeing you, they can hop over to Anelare winery and do a tasting and eat pizza.

How’s the Swag?

Solid, given the price of the race.

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

It was awesome. It’s not necessarily the most picturesque, but it’s just a fun, well-organized event with good vibes and a flowy course. Probably a perfect first 100 too. I give it 10/10.

Running your first 100 miler and looking for help? We got you covered.