Background and context:
I love running. Running is a fantastic way to stay in shape, to get out breathe fresh air, to feel the sun, and to push yourself to new limits. I’m not very good, and am pretty slow for my age group, but it’s a blast and I’m getting better.
That said - I love races even more. Races are a way to get out with a mass of others who similarly nuts about running. You get to cheer people on, encourage them and high five them. The crowds are there to cheer you along and be as excited about what you’re doing as you are. You get to go out and play on top of an already great run.
This was my third1 1/2 - the other two being OKC and Dallas.
So that’s what I enjoy and look for in a race….
And on to the race.
Pre-game festivities seemed pretty standard. Sponsor booths, lines and the port-a-poties, and lots of people stretching.
The race start: They did this much differently than the other two races I’ve been to, and I’m not sure if I liked it or not. There were a ton of corrals, up to at least 37. In between the start of each corral, they had a break ranging from 30 seconds to 3-5 minutes. That meant those of us further back (corral #29) were waiting a very long time. It took 35 minutes after the gun to hit the opening gate, and once I got there I had to wait another 3 minutes. It was tough to stay “up” during such a long delay. The up side, however, was there were much less bob and weave necessary through the first couple miles. I was leading the pack for the first bit, and that was pretty nice. OKC was a free-for-all. The gun went off and everyone started moving. Dallas had less than 10 corrals and moved through them more quickly. Of the three methods, I think the Dallas was best.
The Race: I feel for the course designers. Plotting a course through Seattle has to be a very tough job - trying to balance hills and scenery. The best scenery would be found on the hillier parts, which everyone would complain about. Instead, they took us through light commercial for several miles after the downtown portion. I found that to be incredibly boring. No crowds, no monuments, no scenery…just graffiti and run-down businesses. This went on through miles 6 or 7 and was a let down for one of the more expensive races. After that, we made it to a park, and back through downtown to the Viaduct that overlooks the sounds. Views don’t get more picturesque than that. http://www.deater.net/weave/pictures/seattle_2008/1040_sound.jpg . The downside is that you’re back on highway pavement that is very unforgiving. Toss in a couple tough hills to finish out the race, and it was on to the beer garden…or the first water station I could find.
Overall Opinions: This was my least favorite of the races, mostly because of the lack of crowds over the majority of the course and limited scenic views. The highway miles were tough, and running through tunnels got pretty warm. I don’t think I’d pay to do this one again.