Last Saturday, I participated in the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. It was great weather for a marathon: overcast and cool at the start (approx 60F). In the end, I clocked 5 hours 46 minutes and walked the last nine miles.
This race starts in Tukwila, Washington and then runs past Lake Washington, up to downtown Seattle, further North, and then back downtown. This presents some issues. The first is where to park. Tukwila is about 12 miles from downtown. The organizers had free shuttles from 4am – 6am running from downtown to the start at Tukwila. This meant the most logical thing to do would be to get up very early, drive to downtown (with heavy traffic), and park in a garage for $10-$30. I hate getting up so early just to be shuttle around, so I tried to find another solution. As it was, I was staying in Tukwila about 3 miles from the start line. I managed to find out that there are buses that run (Rt. 150) from downtown near the finish line to the Southcenter Westfield mall in Tukwila (two blocks from my hotel). In the end, I decided to walk the 3 miles to the start and take the bus back from $2. So, there I am walking at 5:30 am to the start line. Nobody around save a few cars. One car stops in from of me and the driver asks “Do you know where the start line is?”. I guess the marathon bib and race outfit gave it away. I explained to this guy where it was and he asked me about walking there, but not once did he offer to give me a ride. I laughed. A few blocks later and an RV pulls up and after the door opens a woman’s voice asks “Do you want to ride with us to the start?”. Yes! The very nice 10 women and the male driver were nice enough to give me a ride to the runner dropoff zone, though I think I could have walked quicker as there was a LOT of traffic there too. After the race, it was like a cruel joke, when I had to walk up about 50 stairs to the street level in order to get to the bus station, but the $2 ride was well worth it.
As for the course itself, it’s mostly up hill. There were some steep down hills in downtown, but really I would see a hill and then find that there were more after that. There were also tunnels, and banked roadways (read on-ramps). The banked roads are killer on my bad ankle and knee. Around mile 19 I decided that I couldn’t jog anymore on my swollen parts, and walked the last nine miles. Most of it was concrete and/or exposed aggregate, and that made it hurt that much more.
The bands and music along the way is pretty much what I’ve come to expect from the Rock ‘n Roll series, having also done Nashville and New Orleans. In other words, it was no great addition. I think Bloomsday in Spokane has better and more (based on mileage) bands.
Overall, the race route, organization, aid stations, etc. were all great, but as I’m a flatlander, I don’t think I’ll be doing this one again.