Latest reviews by Bonnie Wilson

(2017)
"I used to want to write a love song... Not anymore"
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If you read my past reviews I was a big fan of this race for a very long time. This year has left me not so sure of that love.

The new course is relentless and does not give you a chance to get your groove and once you feel like you might of made a groove you got hit with another hill. The climbing starts early and often as you come through downtown. As you get through downtown you hit the trails in Sam Smith Park and this is where the race could be dangerous. The trails had been congested even in the back of the pack and they had been lined with leaves. I actually got pushed and shoved a couple times even though I was at a good clip by a couple runners which was demoralizing and dangerous. I have always loved Lake Washington and this will always be my favorite part of the course. There was a huge switch back coming out of Lake Washington that was a straight up climb.

The infamous hill at mile 8 is gone on this new course but a lot of runners actually want that back if it means this race didnt have so many more hills.

There is a up and back down up hill just as you enter the park and I have heard it called flat out demoralizing.

The last two miles of the course are basically as you remember it.

The end coming through Memorial Stadium is always well thought out and amazing but the traditional soup to warm you up was non existant. I miss that.

This years bling was unremarkable as was the shirt. A white shirt that is see through enough that the only bra that works is a white one is problematic for a lot of runners. The medal was just uninspired, they made it bigger then most years but a lot of runners felt like it was an afterthought.

There felt like a huge lack of volunteers at this race. The water stations had been great but there had been a lot of abandoned road Marshall spots. The medical crew was a highlight. Huge kudos to University of Washington Medical for all their help and constant cheers.

Not certain I am coming back to this race. I think the fact that the trail was so narrow and congested and runners had been pushing and shoving involved is making me think about moving this race off my must do list. I still will always love this race but I think the love has been tested.

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(2017)
"Continues to get better"
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I have been a pacer for this race since their first year in 2015 so I have seen how much this race has grown since day 1.

Now let me be flat out honest. If you are looking for a race with a bunch of frills, lots of swag, tons of people and flash this is not your race. This is a small, budget friendly, all-abilities race that caters to a different crowd. Your entry fee gets you your race, your choice of t-shirt color and styles (this is a rarity and the shirts are always my favorite every year) and your medal.

Packet pick up is a small affair at Dicks Sporting Goods. One thing that got my attention when I first started running this race is because this race is so small the race director greeted a lot of runners by name as they came in. His team is invested in you, and invested in your story. It was a simple and well organized process to pick up packets which consisted of your shirt, number and a couple coupons.

Race morning starts with an early start at 6am for the slower paces. This course is one of the few in the Northwest that is open for 7 plus hours for the marathon giving everyone a chance to reach for their unicorn moment. Once you arrive you can check your bag with the registration volunteers and do what you need to start.

This race is small enough there is zero need for corals. You line up by following the pacer closest to your pace and we all went out as one group.

For me, the course is one of the biggest highlights. You get to travel through Springfield from the city streets and nicer houses all away back into the Springfield backcountry. This course is extremely flat with a few gentle inclines spread out here and there.

This course is also well supported by both runners and volunteers a lot. This is the one race a year that feels like the elite runners are pulling for those of us who wish we could be faster, there had been so many high fives and nice comments out there. Also the volunteers truly had been excited even through the rain. They made it a point to share a smile with you.

The course is well marked (though the GPS had it run long) and had water stops just about the right intervals that had been well stocked with everything that you possibly could need.

Once you finished you had been met by a small party atmosphere. You collected your medal to the roar of the crowd at Crescent Village and got a chance to refuel with a home made buffet including sandwiches and burritos. The MC interviewed first time runners and runners who PR'ed on the course to share the inspiring and motivating energies.

As I write this, the perfect way to look at this race is think about running with some of your best most supportive group running friends while still getting your medal. Add to the fact that you are celebrated no matter the pace or ability. This has turned into one of my favorite races every year.

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(2016)
"Has turned into my "must do""
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This will be my third year running this race and I find myself falling more and more in love with the SF Marathon.
This year I ran the first half which gives me the full, the second and the first now.
The expo is modest but you can find everything you need as a runner and it is easy to get in and get your stuff without too much mayhem. You also get plenty of samples (some of which I am still munching on.) Go early, Saturdays tend to be a killer busy day and if you get there Friday night you can partake in Off the Grid Food Trucks. That in itself has to be seen to understood.

Your shirt is a well fitting and well designed shirt. I have been wearing my shirts since I ran my first three years ago.

The corrals are well organized and monitored. You will almost certainly be with a group of runners going your same pace which will motivate you.

The first half is incredibly scenic. You start at the Ferry Building following the water through to the Golden Gate Bridge. This is the only race that gets to take you on the road bed of the bridge, it does get a little congested through the bridge so going into this know you are not going to have the speed you want. After making the loop through Vista Point you head to the incredibly amazing Baker Beach area. Also know that it is a hilly challenging course.

Plenty of water stations and aid through out, just know that you need to be patient with the volunteers, as some of the water stations got slammed.

Post race was well organized and unlike some races, once they saw a need for something the staff was all over it. There was a line to get back to the start line area, but they called for extra busses, and made sure all runners had been cared for in the mean time.

I have come to SF for three year and have already said yes to my 4th. It is truly a must run race.

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(2016)
"From the Pacers Eye View: "
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I had the pleasure of being a pacer for this wet, rainy event.

The race itself is very well organized from expo to race day. The expo was small and very easy to get from point A to point B without feeling overwhelmed. The jackets you get are nice and I have been wearing mine everywhere (but I miss the hood)

The start line area was a tad confusing due to lane closures, but that was the one thing they could not really control. Bag check was dry, which on a wet rainy day is a huge plus.

The corrals had been perfectly marked, being towards the back of the pack it took me forever to get to the start but with the amount of runners it makes sense.

Let me be honest, this course is CHALLENGING. You have close to two miles of steady uphill between 4.5 and 6.5 but they are rewarded with good downhills.

But all this being said, its probably one of the prettier courses I have ran in Seattle you get to go through the back side of Pikes Place, get to run in the tunnel, and the aurora bridge is amazing.

The bling and the post race are well organized, and the food is amazing. It also helped that they had the monorail running early and often to get runners back into down town.

I was not sure if it was going to be worth the money but I think it is a must do race for me now. Its a great way to start the season.

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(2015)
"Keeps winning my heart every year ;)"
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Let me be honest.

The Seattle Marathon course is not for the weak of heart. The first few miles are just rolling hills, before you hit the infamous #whathill at mile 8 of the half (I think this is 18 on the full), From mile 8 on its a truley challenging course that pushes you.

But it is also a breathtaking course. There is no boring industrial parts like its counterpart in Portland. You go from running through Downtown, to the I-90 tunnels, and into the scenic Lake Washington neighborhood. You also get to see some of the best parts of the Washington State Arboretum, and its trails before coming back into downtown before finishing at the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium.

The race is always well supported with some of Seattle's best non profits helping out no matter how cold it really was.

The post race here is spectacular. After picking up your goodies, you go into the Victory Recovery area, which is inside and has EVERY single thing you might need including bathrooms and changing rooms.

The expo is small and well organized. It makes sure you walk in with all the information that you need to make the race your own. The only possible sticking point this year are the participant shirts. They are really big, and a small is actually too big for me. The medals are not big, but they stand out in your collection.

This is my third year doing Seattle events. This is a particular favorite of mine and I can't wait to come back every year just to be able to run on the course.

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