Just over a year ago, I got to experience one of my most memorable events of the year – the Timberline Marathon and Half Marathon. I signed up on a whim, expecting great views and a unique experience, but ended up with a top-notch race and running memories to last a lifetime. Here are some highlights from my 2016 recap:
The course was magical with a combination of terrains. We started off downhill on some dirt trails before a very brief mini-scrambling section over larger rocks. After that, the rest of the race was completed on a very gently rolling, well-manicured, and superbly marked trail. We got to run in forest settings, over wooden bridges, along the lakeside beaches of Timothy Lake, and even across the dam itself.
There were opportunities where I just wanted to stop and take some pictures – yet somehow resisted.
Now that I know what the Timberline Marathon and Half are all about, I have absolutely zero issues with recommending it to those looking for a challenge in the forested beauty of the Mt. Hood Wilderness. They could make the “half marathon” 17 miles next year and I’d be even more ecstatic to join!
The full is listed as the correct distance, but expect a little extra for the half (don’t blame your GPS – the course is long – enjoy it). Check out the course map and elevation chart for details. I must say that, for a trail race this thing is pretty flat, all things considered. There will be a bit of a short and quick just before mile 2 and a more extended 2-mile gradual climb back the finish. There will be 3 aid stations, but I recommend bringing your own refillable bottle, as both distances won’t reach the first one until after mile 6. There will be water in jugs (for refilling) and Gatorade as well.
I do recommend giving yourself some extra time to get there. It’s not super far away from the valley or Portland, but roads do get windy and some portions are gravel or shoddily-paved as you get closer, effectively slowing your MPH on the way. There is a lot of road parking, but you can be destined for a trek to the start if you cut it too close.
Obviously, space is limited on the course and the race has gotten to a point where it sells out quick. As of this writing, both distances on Saturday, June 10th are sold out and there are very limited spots remaining for the half on Sunday, June 11th. If this is your kind of race, I suggest you register NOW (stop reading and register) and figure out the logistics later!
Timberline Marathon and Half Marathon
When: Saturday, June 10 (Full at 830a & Half Marathon at 10a) and Sunday, June 11 (Half Marathon at 930a)
Where: Timothy Lake, Cascade Ranger Station
Registration: Online here; $80 for Marathon (SOLD OUT) & $75 for Half Marathon (SATURDAY SOLD OUT)