A few years ago I wrote a love letter to the Seattle Marathon. Those words at the time had been true. This year…. Well I will let the letter explain it.
Dear Seattle Marathon:
This weekend did me in.
You actually got me to question my love for running.
This year you announced a new course change and the words keep hearing are brutal, awful and relentless. From the second you make the turn off fifth avenue it feels like either you are dealing with a constant uphill climb or a violent sharp up hill. There had been a few downhills but there was no way to find your pace or your stride. The old course would give you chances to recover and get into a stride.
The time on the trails in Sam Smith had been heart breaking. So many runners on a wet path, it was congested and dangerous. I was going at a pretty good clip but got a couple shoves from behind because the path was so crowded. It was heartbreaking and frustrating all at the same time
I never thought I would say this. I miss #whathill. You could pace yourself and be ready for that beast.
I am glad you had such a dedicated crew of volunteers and medical crew. They made that race. They had been encouraging when it seemed like it was time to throw the race away.
I am really proud of how hard I fought through it and finished strong even though mentally I was just shot. But I left the race not excited. I left it flat and not loving running so much.
Your bling left me feeling uninspired and the white shirt is just not something that I would wear on a normal basis. The expo seemed smaller this year as well.
I love you Seattle but this is the first time I have come out of a race wanting to rethink my love of running. I still kept within my goal time frame but it was because of the first three and the last two miles and I was on the super slower end of my window.
I don’t know if I am coming back to you next year. We will see. It will take a lot of rethinking of training and running to convince me to come back in 2018.
– Its not you.. Its me.
Post Script: I really do love the Seattle Marathon and will always consider it a major part of my journey. this year was rough. I know this race is capable of being an amazing crown jewel of the city of Seattle. I was just very disappointment this year and am rethinking my next year plan.
Three years ago, I jumped into the world of being a race pacer with no clue of what I was doing or for that matter how much it would change me as a runner. But I will go into that more shortly. The race was the Pacific Northwest Marathon for their half marathon event. It is kind of ironic that my 30th half marathon and my pacing birthday.
I returned this year as a third year pacer. Being with them since day 1 has let me see how much this race has grown since the beginning.
If you read any of my previous reviews, you will understand this is not the typical race you will see in Oregon. This is more like a super supportive group running event that gives you a medal. It leads to this being an affordable more all abilities friendly race. Packet pick up was a small affair at Dicks Sporting Goods, allowing you to pick up your shirt where you got a choice of color and style and your packet. One thing that I will always love with this race is it is small enough the race directing team gets to know you and know what motivated you to be at this race.
My Saturday started super early. I was the pace team leader so I needed to be at the race in time for the early starters which gave people who had been slower then 12:00 miles a chance to be on the course. This is a rarity for any Oregon based race. Its a 7:00 hour course limit, which makes it one of the most inclusive races you will see.
I was pacing the 3:00 half but I was going out with the main start group. After Hot Chocolate in March I learned that the 1:1 interval was always going to be my best answer when pacing because it was the easiest intervals to adjust on the fly.
This is one of my favorite courses every year. You take to the streets and back country of Springfield. The only big challenge with this course is the race is small enough the streets are not closed and you need to be careful to watch out for traffic. That being said its a small downside.
I passed a small group I think it was at mile four and at this point I was on my own. One lady decided to tell her friends “I want to see if I can keep up.” I explained to her what I was doing for intervals and she was honest with me, she did not think she could make that pace but was going to stay with me as long as she could.
This is a well supported all volunteer effort for this race. All the water stations had been fully stocked with anything that you could of needed. And this is one of the few races I have ever seen where the elites take the time to cheer for the back of the pack as they pass (its an out and back.)
My favorite part of the course is through Armitage Park getting to run so close to the water is breathtaking. After the park you get back into the urban part of Springfield before making the half way turn.
My new friend, Kari was doing excellent. She was in pain but she wanted to keep pushing so I kept talking her through it. She explained to me she just wanted to prove to herself that she could do it.
The course started getting really wet after we made the turn but for me this was turning into the best effort I had pacing since I started this. I was running just a few seconds early all away through.
Now the one thing is going back some of the water stations had been left unmanned. Most of this was probably due to the weather. But there was enough stuff laid out at each that you had nothing to worry about.
When we got to the last mile I realized I did have a couple mins I could burn off and still be close to I told Kari to walk a little more and save her energy for the last push at the end. She was a little worried about the 5K’ers coming in so fast around us, but I told her just focus on what we are working on and she will be fine. She was almost in tears at this point. She was hurting but wanted her daughter to see her finish strong. I think we made the right call in the long run because just at the last quarter mile she felt like she was ready so I told her to go and I was screaming for dear life. She finished in 2:59.
The finish line was amazing. You get your medal and treated to a spread of community offered up food. And unlike a lot of races people will stay to support you. I stayed to collect signs and cheering for my fellow pacers.
Then the race director asked me to add a few miles on to my race.
We had some marathoners out on the course at mile 18. And this was close to 6 hours in from the early start. They drove me out and I walked with them for about three miles. It was inspiring see some of the dedication out there.
This race teaches me so much every year. This year it reminded me why I love running. It is about the people, the stories and the community that can encourage each other.
Note: As an ambassador I was able to get my entry for my 2016 event for free in trade for my work in 2015.
It has never been a secret that I love the Seattle Marathon event. It is one of my favorite courses every year. It is beautiful, challenging and a great example of how races should be ran in terms of organization.
And this year was no exception.
I knew going in and if you read my training blog about this, it was not going to be about making a fast strong time kind of thing, life was just to complicated this fall and not feeling 100 percent until the end of September had cost me a huge chunk of training time.
This weekend was going to be all about fun.
The expo this year actually seemed smaller then it had in previous years, which I don’t mind. The entire event is well organized and you go from getting your bib to getting your stacked goody bag rather quickly, which to me is always a key to a good expo.
Sunday morning started well.
I started on my intervals as I have been doing and I stuck to them. I was actually getting some great times in the first 4-5 miles and not feeling really bad at all.
The first couple miles of the course start in Downtown Seattle taking you through down to the International District. There are a couple climbs here, but you are rewarded with some nice downhills. Again I was trying to get some speed and work on my skills.
Then you hit the 1-90 stretch which is a batch of freeway on ramps which are small hills that take you past Safeco Field and gives you great views of Downtown Seattle. But and I think I said this before that if you are not careful and you don’t pace yourself through the early part you are going to regret it later.
I have said this a lot, my favorite part of the course is the stretch after I-90, the Lake Washington area The views are stunning and it is so peaceful and quiet. There are some minor rolling hills but nothing over taxing, is is a great place to settle into your pace.
Then you reach #whathill.
I have had a love hate relationship with that hill every year. You turn a corner and all of a sudden it hits you like a wall. The one real goal I had made for myself this year was to take that hill at a run and see what happens.
And I did it. I got all away up to the point before the turn before I knew I was going to be in serious trouble if I kept running up that hill. I paid for it later, taking it at a dead run spent my legs but I was happy.
I decided at this point I was going to take the rest as a true fun run, and I did. I enjoyed the views through Washington Arboretum,but I was indeed feeling the lack of full training and I was feeling that sprint up the hill.
The last of the race was about enjoying the ride. I literally just relaxed and enjoyed the run. I took my coaches advice and didnt stress about the pace.
This will always be my favorite race every year for so many reasons. But this year as it has seemed to do before, it reminded my that my first goal is to have fun when I race.
If you have been a follower of my blog for any length of time, you know that the San Francisco Marathon means the absolute world to me. It is no secret when I decided to start taking my social media and running and making them work for me that they had been the first ones to see the power in my story and given me this amazing platform to be able to share my story. This is also the first time in over three years that my focus was not tied up other places and that I got to focus on my running.
The training cycle had been interesting for this. I dumped a lot of races that I would do just to do during the spring and early summer in Portland due to both personal reasons and I wanted to focus my energy on this race. I think this was a smart move, but towards the end of the cycle I was dealing with a super tight IT band.
So I was literally walking into this not knowing what would happen.
My adventure started at the expo. If you have ever been to a SF Marathon expo, this by far is one of the easiest most runner friendly expos ever. You start with the shopping area to have a chance to get any TSFM goodies that suit your fancy. Then you can head to the back to pick up your number and gear bag. Your shirt is located at the next table and I had zero wait.
The shirts are my favorite shirts every year and I am still wearing my first one pretty constantly. Long sleeve green layers and they fit so well.
Anyhow. Friday I worked the app both to tell runners about the runner tracking application. It was a mix of technical support and being an ear to some of the runners who came in a little nervous. I always have a blast working the expo as an ambassador because I get to talk to so many runners from all over the word and see some of the most inspiring people I have met, my fellow ambassadors.
Sunday’s race morning started with the very short walk from The Green Tortise which has played host to me for two of my three years. It is so simple to get to the start line from about half a mile up the road. I checked in at the ambassador tent and found one of my favorite people on the planet and got a long overdue hug. Then I made my way to drop my bag which was super easy; as all you have to do is look for the truck that corresponds to your bib number.
I found my wave rather quickly but was starting towards the back. It felt like it took forever to get to the start. But being back at the main start line this year is amazing. I ran the second half last year and the energy isn’t the same.
The first few miles went almost perfectly according to plan. Your first few miles are in the waterfront section; from the Ferry Building, past Pier 39 to Marine Park and into Crissy Fields. This is truly breathtaking as you can see the Golden Gate Bridge breaking through the fog.
The first major hill is leaving Crissy Field and I knew going in I was going to need to conserve energy so I took it slower, but I could tell that my having to pull back on training because of my IT band was going to hurt. But I did not loose that much time here.
Now, one of the landmarks of running this race is being on The Golden Gate Bridge. Please note, if you are looking to PR, sometimes the congestion is going to get to you. It did for me here. But it is worth seeing it. Even in the fog, it will truly be something you will never forget. I did end up getting my pace killed at this point but I was ready for it.
You can check out a video here:
After making the tour of the bridge you have to head to the part of the course I compare to almost all other courses, Baker Beach. The fog was pretty thick but being able to see the ocean from that angle is always something that sticks with me.
The course is very well supported and you barley have to look before you make a water stop. You do need to be patient at the water stops; some of the water stops got overwhelmed by runners. Just be patient, and you will still get your water.
I was struggling at this point of the course because of how my training got fouled up so I decided just to do what I could and peel back to enjoy the race more.
After Baker Beach you head into Sunset which is an up and down part of the course and pretty residential. I enjoy seeing the true nature of SF.
The finish line is in Golden Gate Park and it is stunning. I was 49 seconds off of where I had hoped to be on this course and I am perfectly okay with it. I was more emotionally tired then anything because this is the first time in a long time that I got to push myself and run for me. I pushed hard, I tried to fight back from loosing the time I had banked (and I had a good chunk of it)
I have tried for the last three years to sum up how much The SF Marathon means to me, but I have truly as they say left my heart in San Francisco. This race truly reminds me what I am capable of when I set my mind to it.
I have made it no secret, that Seattle Marathon is one of those events that I love, and I hate all at the same time. It has always been one of those races that has challenged me, but also helped me find how strong I really am.
This year was no exception.
Let’s start with the expo. The expo was actually smaller then previous years, but I really liked it being smaller because it made it easier to move around and get through. You start in one room to pick up your number, and then you head into the expo to enjoy the fun and get your shirt and goodie bag. The shirt was a bit of a challenge this year as they had been considerably bigger then last year. The goodie bags are always awesome and chalked full of runner friendly goodies.
As an ambassador for the Seattle Marathon, I actually had the pleasure of volunteering at the Kids Race registration pick up Friday night. This was a complete thrill because I spent a lot of time talking to young runners who had been so excited, and parents both. I would love to help out with that again next year just because the kids are so worth it.
As for the race.
If you remember the recap from last year, it was seriously cold last year. This year improved a tad bit, maybe by 5 degrees.
But I was smarter this year and I was well dressed for the weather.
The race itself is beautiful. It starts at the Experience Music Project and takes you right through the center of downtown Seattle. I was actually running really well in this strech and nailed my run walk perfectly. Its fun to run through downtown Seattle when it is still sleepy. You notice little things a lot more, you notice the bright and pretty window displays more. You notice the skyline more.
After downtown you hit I-90. You actually get to run in the freeway. They close down the express lanes and you get to run through the tunnel. The full marathoners get to run the floating bridge, but the half marathoners turn off after the tunnel. Last year I don’t remember ice being an issue, but there was enough moisture in the air that it was. That slowed me down quite a bit.
Once you head through the tunnel you head out towards Lake Washington which by far is the best part of the run. It does have a few little rolling hills, but there is a peaceful feeling as you run by the lake and there is a layer of fog on the lake. I started to rebuild my speed and I was pretty happy.
We all know what hill I am talking about. We don’t need the description. Its the hill that goes straight up. Then turns, and goes straight up again, with one more up before you head straight down to the arboretum.
Knowing it better then ever. I made sure my walking intervals had been right on the money. The hills are beautiful but they push you and challenge you. I kept the slower but steady pace I was planning for.
The Arboretum is many peoples favorite part of the race. Scenically its mine. But the up and down hills make you focus in on what your body is doing and pushing through. And honestly, not falling on your head on a crack in the road way. I got sidelined in here somewhere because of the fact I really had to go to the porta-potty.
Speaking of. I always have to laugh. Mile markers are also porta-potties. Every one of them.
The last three miles take you back into the downtown part of Seattle including a wicked downhill and around the Seattle Center before you get to come down into Memorial Stadium to finish in the 50 yard line.
I am a huge fan of the post race area. You get your medal, and get a space blanket before heading into the bowels of the stadium where they have all the food you need, a place to change into warm clothes, a chance to pick up any more Seattle Marathon Souvenirs. It is the perfect place to warm up and get your wits about you before heading back to the cold.
I love how well supported this race is. One thing that is never in short supply is fully stocked water stations with amazing volunteers. It has always been near the top of my “must-do” list. The event is ran truly with runners in mind.
And I love the fact that it continues to challenge me. The last five miles remind you how tough you are, and how beautiful of a town Seattle is. Time wise it was the best race I have done this year and I am so much closer to my “bigger goals” for 2016.
I will be back. It is my yearly reunion with my strength.
Note: The Race Director gave me the opportunity to do this event comp. I offered up the blog space as a thank you. The thoughts here are my own and no other compensation was offered
The Vancouver USA Marathon is known as the hidden gem of the NW and earns that title every year by always getting better. I ran this event in their first two years, the second one being my personal worst time ever on the half marathon distance. (So I had a little bit of a mission here)
The packet pick up for this event is amazing. If you read any of my blogs you know one of my favorite things about packet pick up is a streamlined process where I can do a little shopping and then get in and out. This was perfect. You picked up your number, you picked up your loaded goodie bag and pretty t-shirt. You had the option to go to Summer Brew Fest, but with the weekend being as insane as it was. I did not want to drink until it was over.
The morning of the event was smooth. Thanks to C-Tran (Vancouver transit) there was a shuttle at Delta Park to pick people up going into downtown Vancouver right near the race start. Without having all the extra stops I actually had time to get some water, spend some time with my amazing running friends, get to bag check ect without being rushed.
The start of this race is amazing, its three starts and with Bart Yasso on the mic, it makes for an amazing energy.
Most of my running friends had been running towards the back but with some of my future goals being what they are, I wanted to use this as a good training run, test run. I also wanted to shake off the 3 hour plus thing from two years ago. So I went with the 4 run/2 walk break down that I did at the last two halfs.
This race is pretty amazing scenic wise. You go through the main part of downtown Vancouver, you head over into the
Fort Vancouver neighborhood before heading down to the amazing water front. This is one of my favorite races when it comes to being a scenic option. There is only one industrial stretch (read any of my blogs you know its a pet peeve of mine) This race is challenging when it comes to elevation but those moments come in bunches, you have a set of hills just past mile 7 and then again right around 10 that will push you, but the rest are rolling hills that are doable.
The volunteers had been amazing and they really wanted to add to the spirit of the event. All of the water stops had been awesome. One water station ran out of water, which coming right before one of the biggest hills
About mile 5 I think, I ran into one of my Team RWB teammates Allison, who was running her first half and was having a hard time finding her stride. My plan was to run with her for awhile and then possibly drop back because I was feeling a little tight, but she kept fighting. We took walk breaks together and just watched out for each other. It was such an honor to be there by her side for her first.
I got what I needed out of this race. Getting that insane monkey off my back was just what the doctor ordered. The post race was amazing, you picked up your medal and could get some food before enjoying the Summer Brew Fest, which gave me a chance to try a couple beers I never have before.
Vancouver USA is an amazing event. It truly earns its wings as the Hidden Gem of the NW and it is my favorite by far of the Portland Vancouver area races.
I want to thank Brian Davis, the event director at Energy for inviting me back to my home race and supporting my running when things have gotten tight.
I used to think the Rock’N Roll Marathon series was just the big Walmart of races.
No more. I get it. They are the standard of runner friendly races.
I got the chance due to good friends to run Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon in Portland. (Thank you Steve and Gregg) I went into this race with some trepidation as I ran a half two weeks before. But I was excited to finally see why those who really love the event series see in it.
The weekend in Portland started at the expo. The expo takes place at the Oregon Convention Center and the one thing I really like it the flow of the expo. You pick up your number, walk through and pick up your shirt and then continue through the shopping areas. It flowed and you never had to wait for anything.
I visited with my friends at Nunn and picked up a new bottle for my ever growing collection of bottles and enjoyed chatting with a lot of vendors.
The shirt was a topic of a lot of conversation. Some loved the design, some didn’t quite get it. It was a dark blue Brooks shirt with the saw cutting (like you would see at The Timbers game) runners and trees. I get it, and I get its relationship to Portland, though it didn’t really have a relationship to Rock N’ Roll or any music whatsoever
I figured going into race morning it was going to be chaos, but it was not really. I got to the race about an hour before the start and had zero line for my bag check and I found my corral quite quickly. Because I was back in 15, and that was one of the biggest openings for people to get to the start at times it got really crowded around me. The race itself was delayed due to mass transit (Okay, is there a race that is not delayed in downtown Portland thanks to Tri-Met?) But they kept people entertained and honestly it was a great time to take selfies.
The course is beautiful but the first part is pretty challenging. You head through downtown and across the Broadway bridge and into the Irvington area, the tricky part of this course is right after the 3 mile mark when you start climbing, according to the Runstastic you literally climb upwards 100 feet in elevation in a little less then a mile.
I really wish I would of gotten more photos of the course, as it is really an amazing course and one of the few races that run the east side. Its challenging and scenic all at the same time as you are going into one of the older parts of Portland.
The course is also well supported, I have never seen water stations so well manned and so spirited other then maybe OKC. You had gel at 7.8 which was a perfect point to have one.
The course has a great downhill stretch going down the crazy Hawthorne district, I really felt like I was hitting my stride on those downhills. And it makes for a great view of Portland.
The finish took you across the Hawthorne Bridge with a quick around the block before you finish. Now I have to admit,the finish line is awesome. They had laid out the infamous PDX Airport Carpet to greet you. Then you collected your finisher medal and flowed through the finishers area which had plenty of post race goodies.
And then so you didn’t have to cause a bottle neck at the finisher line you had the option to stop by the information booth which had another swatch of the PDX carpet to get photos.
The post race expo area had no log jams, and you got your beer and a chance to enjoy the post race concert. Though this is the one thing I wish they would change, with the late start, those of us who are towards the back of the pack did not get to partake in the headliner. But I love Hit Machine and have seen them several times at races, so I was happy.
The race itself was not my best or my worst. To me it was a measuring stick as to where I was for my future goals. I for one enjoyed how into the race everyone was and how runner friendly the entire event is. I get it, and I will be back to RnR next year.
Sorry for the play on words, it just rolled out there.
When the opportunity came from Beast Pacing to jump into the water for the first time as a pacer, I was nervous but I decided it would be a good new half marathon challenge for me. The Pacific NW Marathon is a brand new event for the Eugene area. It would be a smaller event that advertised itself as an all abilities friendly event. So I had figured that it would be a good one to see if pacing was something I could actually do. (I freely admit, I have had a track record of having miserable pacing instincts) I was put at the 2:55 pace, which I knew was totally doable so I did a lot of work to try and make sure doing.
Packet pick up for this event was at Valley River Center at the Sport Authority. It was well organized and I was in and out very quickly. The team at packet pickup was very friendly and very excited that I had made the trip from Portland.
Now, let me emphasize something. The Pacific NW Marathon is a no frills event,which is not a bad thing, I think it leads to the fact its more of affordable race. The packet consisted of your number, your really pretty event shirt, and a few coupons from local sponsors. The race was to raise funds for Girls on the Run of Lane County.
Race morning was Saturday morning which was a first for me in Eugene. The race started at 7, and I managed to get to the race early for the first time in a long.
They had a vacant shop opened up for day of race packet pick up. Which allowed everyone to stay warm and cozy inside until the race started. They also allowed you to leave your warm up clothes inside.
The start of the race was well organized. Beast Pacing only had three pacers for the half, myself, someone at 2:25 and someone at 3:25 who took an early start. So we made sure to spread ourselves out with me being parked at the back.
I met three ladies as we had prepped for the start who all had goals of running sub 3’s on their half. One of the ladies had been running with her son who was a first timer out to support his mom and two girls who are best of friends one running her first.
We took off at an agreed upon 4 min running, 2 min walking cadence which banked us enough time for walking the water stations.
The course was a different course then I have done in Eugene, it was closer to running Springfield. Each turn was marked with chalk, even when they did not have the volunteers to man the station (I think with this being such a small event and being the weekend before the Eugene Marathon made it harder to get volunteers) it was easy for us to figure out where we had been going though we literally had been running as a group by ourselves. The course itself was quite beautiful with some scenic views of the rivers, some of the farm land that I had never seen.
The water stations had been small and manned by one or two people. The first one was near mile 3, which is probably my only real complaint about this race. Also, I think the GPS was way off, but I had this measured at 13.3 miles. It happens a lot so its not a big thing for me, but I know for some it is.
Our group was AMAZING. We spent a lot of time talking about our individual running journeys and we also may of may of not been the Proclaimers a few time on the course, which caused the marshals to start dancing with us.
Our group got separated around mile 7 as the mom had been having blister issues and the girls ran ahead a bit. I caught up to the girls, one of which was running her first half. And we ran together, I tried to do everything I could to motivate and encourage the girls because at this point we had all been feeling it.
As we came back around, I encouraged the girls to get ahead of me, because I had a few seconds to burn on my pace.
We got our finishers medals, and fluids and enjoyed a really well organized stretching area from Oakway Fitness. Again the post race was no frills, but I am okay with that if it makes for a more affordable event. The mom and son finished just a few mins behind us.
All four people told me that they might not of been able to do it without me, which was very humbling. And for the fact that I was freaking out about the pace, my official time was 2:54:47, which was almost perfect.
The race director found me, and asked me what I thought about the race. The one thing that kept getting to me with this race was how inclusive it was. I have never seen a race where the elite runners actually took a couple seconds of energy to tell the BOP (back of packers) that we had been doing a nice job. And the volunteers had been so energetic and on top of their game. This race defiantly had its growing pains, but for the first year it defiantly found a way to differentiate itself from the rest.
I want to defaintly thank Vanessa at Beast Pacing for giving this first timer a shot. And the race director for taking the time to come talk to me just to see what I thought. I will be back.
And I have a discount on this one.
You can use TSFM2015Bonnie to save 25.00 on the any of the events.
2- The Seattle Marathon (November 29th): I am not an ambassador for them. (But I wish I was) And honestly, this is the race I love to grumble about. Some of this course is really tough and the two years I have ran this it has been so cold. But it holds a special place in my heart as this is where my marathon PR is. This is a stunning course to run as it takes you through Lake Washington, you get to run on the floating bridge, and you really get to see some of Seattle’s best scenery. One of my faviorte parts other then Lake Washington is getting to go in the Freeway Tunnel. You get some of the best echo’s as people love to scream. What I have always loved about this race as it has always stayed affordable, I would really put near or the top of the list when it comes to being a well supported course. Every where you turn you have people cheering for you, people wanting to see you do good. On top of this, the Seattle Marathon staff is super when it comes to communication and customer service to their runners. This course is also one of the best when it comes to being slower runner/walker friendly and they even allow walkers to start together earlier to ease a bit of the congestion.
3- The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (April 26th): Three of my 5 marathons are from this event. And being it is my first marathon it will always hold a special place in my heart. I have said this before, I can’t explain this marathon until you are there and you run it. This supports the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum and is the biggest fundraiser that the memorial has every year. This is a race you are truly running for a reason. This race starts with 168 seconds of silence to commemorate the victims of the bombing (which leaves runners in tears) , and as you go through out what is a surprisingly scenic, beautiful course you see names of all of the victims. This one also BY FAR has the best water stops. (Gorilla Hill?). The only draw back on this one is the corrals get congested. But I think a lot of this comes from everyone wanting to be so close to the action at the start. The course is beautiful, and not as challenging in comparison to Seattle and San Fransisco, but the weather can push you hard. I can never recommend this race enough to all abilities, all ages and someone who really wants to run for a reason. I promise you OKC, I will be back.
4- Vancouver USA Marathon (June 21st) : The last two years the universe has thrown me curve balls that have kept me from running this one. But I have ran the half twice, and it is always one of my favorite events. And if you ask any of my local running friends, its near the top of their must do list. The half course is scenic (other then a small trek through Vancouver industrial district) as it takes you on the Columbia River and through Fort Vancouver. I also like how the community comes out to support the event, and if you can’t tell this is a common thread in races I have listed. The course has a couple rather challenging spots, but this is a good race for anyone just starting our on the half marathon trail because so many people will be out there doing this for their first one. One of the major post race benefits of this race is you also get the chance to attend the Summer Brew Fest that share the space with the finish line area that weekend for free. I mean FREE BEER? What is better then that? This one is brought to you by Energy Events, and it is a company that really does a lot to help in their local running community. In terms of local Portland races, I can’t put anyone at the list higher then Energy Events.
5- Run to Stay Warm (November 22nd) : : When I am talking to friends in Eugene, this one is my favorite to talk about. Run to Stay Warm is a very small race that takes place in the heart of University of Oregon territory. This is a half-marathon/10K/5K option that takes you through Eugene’s big trail system. You spend time on the water, you go by Autzen Stadium, in some of the best parts of Eugene. The thing that always gets me about this race is every penny out of this races goes to raise funds to help people pay their heating bills in Eugene who might have challenges paying the bill. I run this race every other year (this is one weekend away from Seattle). This is another race that is very all abilities, all ages friendly. This is also a great way to break into the half marathon scene without breaking the budget as the half marathon is 35.00. This is another one where the volunteers are part of what makes it special.
Those are my five. I know I can’t make running all five work this year because of the wierd financial things going on, but they are five that are special to me for all different reasons and the five I will always talk about and recommend.