I ran this marathon a year and a half ago. There probably is not a lot to be gleaned from my spotty recollection of it at this point…but I figured I should fill in some blanks.
My understanding of the origins of this particular race are quite entertaining and dovetail nicely with my multi-year effort to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It seems the race director created this race so that he could qualify for Boston. There are rules regarding certification and minimum participation for a race to be a “Boston Qualifier” so he made sure to cover all of his bases. Ultimately he qualified and the race had grown to a point that it made sense to keep it going.
“What’s up with the tunnel?” you may ask. Excellent question! This race is on an old converted railbed (a la Eisenbahn) just east of Seattle. The race starts normally enough but after 3/4 of a mile you enter a tunnel about 20 feet wide and 30 feet tall. You remain in said tunnel for a little over two miles. The entire time you’re in there (besides the fact that it is cold and wet) you see a tiny pinprick of light way out in the distance. That light is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
The tunnel jacked my Garmin up good. I thought these things were supposed to triangulate when they lost a signal and give you credit for the ground covered from when it lost the signal to when it found it again. Not the case. It behaved as though I turned the watch off once inside and turned it back on upon reaching the other end. Later in the race one of the pins that holds the band on worked itself loose and the watch went careening down the trail. I had to carry it the rest of the way in (roughly nine miles). Not the Garmin’s finest hour (or four).
Ultimately, I finished the race in 4:06:24. That isn’t horrible but Sandy hung over 16 minutes on me. Even though it’s been well over a year since the race, she still reminds me of that fact frequently. What are friends for??
The best thing, by far, about this race is the course. It is like nothing I’ve ever run before. It has a nice, smooth downhill angle of roughly 80 feet per mile for the entire 26.2 miles. A lot of race directors will tell you that their race is flat/fast, etc… This one really is.
The weather was relatively nice as well. There was actually some snow on the ground (in July) at the starting line. It warmed a little towards the end but wasn’t horrible.
Tunnel was my 26th marathon and my 15th state.
I will be back in July of 2013 to attempt to qualify for Boston.