- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
I ran the 1/2 Marathon at the Seattle Marathon in 2013 (along with my dad). I thought that overall this is a GREAT race, and I am signed up for the full this coming fall. The fact that the event is held the first Sunday after Thanksgiving every year can present a logistical challenge (if you are coordinating family obligations, travel, the desire to get rip-roaring wine-drunk on thanksgiving day). However, the race was a great experience overall, and mashed potatoes make for a perfect carbo-loading fuel.
The pre-race expo for the Seattle Marathon is absolutely enormous. The expo was held at the Westin hotel near the conference center downtown. It was easy to get in, pick up my packet, buy a new pair of running gloves at a deep discount, and get out to have dinner at Dahlia Lounge.
The race begins and ends at Seattle Center. My dad and I took a bus from Wallingford to the starting line. Getting to the race is easy on public transportation (and we struck up a friendly conversation with several spandex-clad runners who were going to the same place we were). However, leaving the race afterwards is a nightmare. The bus schedules and traffic go totally to hell around Seattle Center any time there is a large event the forces street closures. I've run into this problem with the Rock 'n' Roll races as well. There doesn't seem to be any way to avoid the giant cluster-fudge of transportation issues, so I can only recommend bringing a change of clothes with you in your gear check bag, and being prepared to camp out in a coffee shop in Queen Anne for a little bit after the race to wait for the craziness to die-down.
Seattle Center is deceptively large, and strangely laid out. I recommend picking a landmark to meet-up at after the race (like the Chihuly Garden, or the Eagle statues next to the armory). The finish line area was EXTREMELY confusing (especially in my glycogen-depleted state) so I was glad that my dad and I had thought ahead to identify a meet-up spot. The gear check was easy to navigate, and there were plenty of bathrooms available in memorial stadium.
The course is BREATHTAKING. Seattle is a beautiful city, and this course highlights some of our most scenic spots. The race begins by taking runners right through downtown, then onto the I-90 express lanes. It's a little strange to run on the freeway, but always fun to pretend you are a racecar. The best part of the course is miles 5-7, which are right along the shore of Lake Washington. After running alongside the lake, the course ambles up through the arboretum. This section is incredibly beautiful, and also EXTREMELY hilly. After conquering some challenging hills runners travel through Montlake (to get a chance to ogle some amazingly nice houses) and along lakeside boulevard before traversing South Lake Union, and finishing Seattle Center's. Overall the course feels very "green" for an urban marathon. You see some of the city's best sights, however there are long, serene, tree-lined sessions throughout the run. I loved the chance to run along the lake and through the arboretum. Seeing the Space Needle in the distance always provides powerful motivation at the end of a run.
The weather in Seattle after Thanksgiving is fairly predictable: 55 degrees, gray, and drizzly. Definitely plan to wear a hat to keep your face dry. I struggled to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the race. I opted for a lightweight running rain shell- which was great at the beginning and during the stretch along the shore of Lake Washington. However, I started overheating during the section that ran through the I-90 express lanes, and tied it around my waist. The last few miles I kept zipping and unzipping it as I got too hot or too cold. I think that this year I need to plan my layering a little bit better.
The technical shirt is high quality, well fitted, and classy-looking (I like the minimalist logo). Last year the shirts were orange. I wear mine all the time, it's one of my favorite pieces of gear. The medal is a cool looking teal and silver toroid--minimalist and refined-looking.
I'm looking forward to running the full marathon this coming fall. The course alone is worth the price of admission. I'd highly recommend this race to any Seattle-ite (or out-of-towner) looking for a fall marathon.