Race: Teanaway Trail Marathon

Runner: Shannon P

Race Date: 06/02/2019

Location: Cle Elum, WA

Results: I finished although I seriously considered the alternative!

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2418914844

teanaway trail marathon
Photo: Jason Schniepp

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

There’s so much to love about this race, but the course, the people, and camping the night before stand out. The course is a gem, including everything from forested single track to pretty logging roads (seriously, they CAN be pretty!), views of Mt. Stuart, and a cold river to soak the legs in at the finish. It’s a shame so few opted for the full marathon. NW Trail Runs always puts on a great race with a well-marked course. Camping at Teanaway campground the night before made it easy for me and fun for the sweetie and our pup.

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

The heat. June 2 is a little early for west-siders to be ready to run 80+ degrees. You might get lucky with the weather, but then again, you might not, so be prepared.

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

Did I mention PRETTY logging roads?!

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

I managed my effort well in the first half so that once I committed to finishing I had no problem running it out.

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

I couldn’t find an elevation map for the course beforehand and hadn’t run here so I had no idea what to expect. The course rolls a lot, but no hill lasts that long. Hang in there and you’ll get a breather before you know it. The entire course seemed “runnable” to me – which is not to say that I ran the whole thing! Only that I would have if I hadn’t been fantasizing about jumping in the nearest cold stream…

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Don’t second guess myself and just keep running unless my outward appearance causes strangers to ask if I’m ok! Seriously, I had some Hamlet moments around miles 12-16 that I should have just powered on through.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s a two lap course with a fairly sun-exposed section just before running through the start/finish. If you can hang on for a few more miles, you can find the shade again. The hills are mostly rolling, but fairly constant until the last 3-4 miles of the loop. Those last 3-4 miles are almost entirely downhill to the finish.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Truly lovely, a hidden gem.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not especially. The elevation gain is fairly moderate and the trails are mostly non-technical.

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

Absolutely well-run. NW Trail Runs have a system and they know what they are doing.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s not the deepest field you’ll find and the marathon field in particular was sparse. That said, there are always a handful of super speedy folks who show up. The front runners are moving.

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.

I don’t think the marathon field filled, pretty sure you could have registered day-of. I’m not sure about the hotel situation since Cle Elum is busy on any sunny, summer weekend, but the camping was easy. We drove over the day before and found a spot around 3pm.

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

Standard fare. Given how important hydration was, make sure that you can tolerate the electrolyte drink that they stock (this year it was GNARLY hydrate).

Weather and typical race conditions

Usually sunny and warm, but can be very warm. The average high for a June day in Teanaway, WA is 68 degrees according to the nearest weather station on Wunderground, but it recorded a high of 80 on marathon day.

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

My handheld was sufficient. There is an area for drop bags at the start/finish.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Absolutely! Your friends can meet you at the end of loop 1 and the finish, and still go for a pretty hike or read a book by the Teanaway River in between.

How’s the Swag?

Swag was fine. NW Trail Runs does a fun raffle at the end of all their races.

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

I feel oddly inadequate to respond to this question since I’m not sure how many stars are available, but what the heck, give it all the stars! A fun race and great weekend.