Amica Seattle Marathon – Sunday November 25th 2018 – 7:30a
The thought of running in Seattle has been a ‘dream’ of mine for quite some time. Or maybe it’s my fondness for “Sleepless in Seattle.” Or maybe it’s that I’m simply a small town runner and city races are really cool! Either way, Seattle is a beautiful city and perfect for a marathon. There was a little bit of travel involved, but I luckily had a friend running with me so the drive went by like Joe Dudman running a 5k. We arrived in Seattle and checked into the wonderful “host hotel” – The Westin Seattle. It was less than a mile from the starting line, as well as the host of the race expo, so it was all around the perfect place to stay.
The expo was nice sized (but not overwhelming) and seemed very organized. We picked up our race bibs and goody bags, and picked up our long sleeved race shirts, which we carried around while enjoying the samples and photo opportunities. It was an inviting atmosphere and there were items available to purchase if you forgot to bring anything … from sunglasses to race fuel to running gear.
We appreciated the host hotel even more, as we decided to just stay on site and eat at the hotel restaurant, Relish Burger Bistro. Our 25th floor room had an amazing view of the city and really put us both in great spirits for race day.The weather was dry and calm, but would it last till morning? We were hopeful, but with the PNW, you just never know!
The marathon started at 7:30a, although there was an early start at 7a for those worried about making the cutoff time. My friend and I took an Uber to the start to ensure we got there on time (though we could have also easily used that mile as a warm up, had we wanted to). The starting line was right by the iconic Space Needle, which caused our anticipation and excitement to grow even more. I checked a bag at the stadium (lots of runners were taking advantage of this) and noted that there were plenty of port-a-potties available near the starting line.
It was a perfect morning in Seattle for racing! At the start, it was 36 degrees and no wind. I knew the sun would be out in about an hour if the weather report was correct. Fingers crossed…
We started right on time near the Seattle Center on Harrison and 5th and got things rolling with a gentle uphill. We were fresh and ready to go, so of course it felt easy. Almost exactly one mile in, I surprisingly began to feel warm. Too warm. I had felt properly dressed, but I was prepping for rain and wind – which were happily absent. We ended up shedding our tops on the side of the road for all to see and jumped back into the race, quickly catching back up with the pace group we had been running with. I guess you just never know what you are gonna get in Seattle!
We entered a tunnel, which was both fun and then disconcerting, as I wondered how my technology was going to hold up in the underground part of the race. There seemed to be some mileage discrepancies during this portion, but when we did come up and climb the Ship Canal Bridge eventually, it was worth every step. The view was spectacular, runners were spread out more now, and by shedding some layers I felt like a million bucks. Even the mile makers seemed to right themselves for the rest of the race, and all was well in the world.
A large number of miles were spent on the Burke-Gilman Trail , a beautiful paved and flat trail full of fall color. We ran by the Wall of Death, joking we may feel more like death when we run the back portion of this out-and-back section. We ran by the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium and continued on a local trail. It was fine to run on, until the inevitable doubling up with runners running both out and back. Most of the time it was okay, but there times where people were running in bunches and caused a little congestion as a result through about mile 19. At this point, we started running along the riverfront – another beautiful section of Seattle. The final two miles showcased a bit of a hill over the Aurora Bridge before heading to Memorial Stadium for our grand finish line moment!
The finish line was beautiful, and finishing on the field at Memorial Stadium was perfect. We were given a lovely medal and photographers were getting photos of every runner right after crossing. We went to the finishers area to relax and were thrilled to see it was covered, huge, and warm! Though it was perfect running weather and warmer than expected, it was really cold if you were just standing there in your post-race sweat. From the photographers milling about, to a bunch of awesome backdrops, to solid seating areas and food and beverage options, this is the best finishers area I’ve ever experienced or seen over the span of my 15 26.2’s.
Amica Seattle Marathon is a top notch marathon. It was beautiful and showcased what a world class city Seattle is (looking at you, Portland). The course was well marked and aid stations were stocked with water/hydration every two miles or less. I didn’t have to carry water, given how it was pretty much readily available whenever I needed it. I can’t guarantee perfect weather for 2019, but I would run this course in the rain too.
Some things to note:
- There is 1,165 ft gain in elevation for the full marathon, the hills were there for sure … but nobody died. Just do some hill training and you will be fine!
- The 2019 date is Sunday, December 1st. That will be Amica Seattle Marathon’s 50th year!
- Early bird pricing starts now! $95.00 for the full $85.00 for the half.
- I was impressed by the excellent race photos that were taken of me at the marathon. They captured lots of good shots of me during and after the race. I also was impressed that I received my race photo e-mail around 2p on Monday afternoon … the very next day! I’ve never received race photos that fast. If this had of been a first marathon or a PR race, I would have wanted to purchase a race photo. My only disappointment is the race photos are more on the expensive side. Check it out HERE.