A hidden gem in the Pacific Northwest
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the North Olympic Discovery Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
The North Olympic Discovery Marathon is a point-to-point course on the Olympic Discovery Trail (an old rail trail) on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State from Sequim to Port Angeles. There is a 5k, 10k, half, full and relay option.
I saw the pictures of this race and immediately knew I had to sign up. I have vacationed in Washington State before, and knew that it was stunning. This race is a 2 ½ hour drive West of Seattle. The drive is amazingly green, with lots of bridge crossings and water views.
I arrived in Seattle on Friday and spent my first night at a friend’s house in the area. The next day, I made the trek over to the Olympic Peninsula. I can tell you that this area is kind of remote, but also worth the drive! They held packet pickup on Saturday from 11-6 and it was also available on race day. The expo was held at the host hotel, the Red Lion Inn, right by the waterfront. It also served as the finish line for the race.
I found a spot to do a quick shakeout run along the water, which my legs desperately needed after sitting in the car for 3 hours. The weather was around 78 degrees and humid. I then popped over to the expo. It was located on 2 different levels. You picked up your bib and bag downstairs at the hotel, then made your way upstairs to pick up your race shirt and see the vendors. There were about 12-15 local vendors at the expo. All in all, I was in and out in under 10 minutes. We received quarter zip longsleeve shirts for running the race.
Since it is a point-to-point race, they bussed runners to the start area. The half marathon that I was running didn’t start until 8:30 am, and the shuttles were running from 6:45-7:30AM. The shuttles picked up right across the street from the host hotel/finish line so everything was very conveniently located. Shuttles were very organized and on time. I had plenty of time to kill, I hung out on the beach for a little while and just took in the breeze before I had to hit the shuttle. I even found a coffee cart open near the busses. Score!
It was a short 10 minute ride to the start. The race started just outside the soccer fields in Sequim. They had water, Gatorade and porta potties ready at the start. There was also very limited parking at the start if you wanted to park there instead and be bussed back. They also brought in the local fire dept, who hoisted the American flag. Totally gave me goosebumps. The local marching band played the star spangled banner and we were off! I met up with my fellow BibRavePro Sarah. We ran down the rural road and after just one turn we were on the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Course Elevation Chart
It was 70 degrees and 53% humidity at the start of the race. The course was partially shaded through the forest but completely exposed in other areas. We started a section of rolling hills that went off and on for the whole midpoint of the race. Some hills were quite steep. The last 3 miles were flat and followed the shoreline, offering great views.
There was plenty of water and Gatorade along the course, roughly every 2 miles or so. There were little markers along the way for each mile.
Finally, the finish was in sight. I came in just a few minutes past my 2 hr goal. It was 79 degrees and 50% humidity at the finish. I was beat!
The finish area, which was rather congested, was all along the waterfront. There was fruit, chips and salsa, fig newtons, bread, the most amazing yogurt parfaits with half frozen fruit (so refreshing!), ramen noodles, popsicles and coffee, lemonade an iced tea. Your race entry also gets you a free beer in the beer garden from a local brewery. However, that was very hard to get to, you had to walk all the way around, through the hotel restaurant and back out on the lawn of the hotel.
I only have 2 suggestions for improvement – I would move the start time up if possible, it really was quite late and made it more difficult to run in the heat. Secondly, I didn’t receive any pre-race communications at all. I started to second guess if they even had me on the list.
All in all, this was a very well organized, small town race with great scenery. If you have the chance to take advantage of it in the future, I highly recommend it!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!