Monday, June 7, 2021

North Olympic Discovery Marathon Half Marathon race report

The bright morning streaming into our great VRBO woke us up plenty early, which meant we had time for a leisurely breakfast before walking down the ZigZag to get on the shuttle to the half marathon start. This race -- like the marathon -- would be a point-to-point race, so participants were bussed out to their respective starting spots and would all run toward the same finish line. 

We had been to the race expo the afternoon before -- a nice little affair, very well laid out and organized. We bought some RTP swag -- I mean, how could I resist these silicon pint glasses???

We also showed our vaccination card to receive a VACCINATED wristband, which meant we could board one of the vaccinated-only buses, so we didn't have to wait as long. We also picked up a wristband for the EAGLE CHALLENGE, so that we could pick up our handsome challenge medal at the finish. 

Finally, we picked up our nice, long-sleeved shirts and our race bibs. I'm gonna say it again -- these Run The Peninsula races are great!

We got on the shuttle -- which was admittedly weird because we were on a bus with a bunch of people. I mean, we had all been vaccinated and had to prove it, so it was as safe as possible... but it still felt weird. 

The start was next to some soccer fields that were near the trail, leaving room for a water station, a bunch of porta-potties, and plenty of room to space out in corrals. 

Of course we visited the porta-potties. Nice organization with the flags to create spaced-out mini lines!

We got in our corrals and, of course, took the obligatory pre-race photo. Ahh, I'd missed this all so much!

Again, small waves were started about a minute apart, and we never felt crowded.

Classic starting line photo -- both of us looking at our watches!

I'll be honest, I didn't take many photos of the course, which followed the lovely North Olympic Discovery Trail from Sequim to Port Angeles. Lots of lush green woods and fields, and only a handful of street crossings. And the occasional funny sign like this: 

Or this useful, soothing sign: 

(I mean, I would be happy to know that any gunfire I heard was at a gun club rather than lunatics picking off runners on the trail!)

The race was pretty small, which I loved, which also meant we were stretched out along the course. Every so often we would pass someone, or someone would pass us. Eventually the lead marathoner -- who did have a one-hour head start! -- passed us by, running strong and led by a bike escort to keep his path clear. Exciting!

Just past our halfway mark the course split temporarily, with the half marathoners doing a little out-and-back on a quiet road to pick up some distance. It was the first time we really had much of a view of the rest of the pack, and I was reassured that there were still a lot of folks behind us. Always makes me feel a bit better!

Soon we were headed down a long gradual descent and back to the shoreline for the final very very pretty 3 miles. Full disclosure: I didn't take this picture on race day; I took it when we were in Port Angeles for the Elwha Bridge 5K in January and walked this stretch. 

Eventually we neared the finish -- again, how great to have a small crowd of spectators at the finish line! To hear applause, and to have our names called out by an announcer!

And, of course, we held hands as we crossed the finish. :)

After the race we got out handsome challenge medal for completing the Eagle Challenge, having run the 5K the day before. You know I can't resist a challenge, right?

There's so much to love about this race, and this series in general. Always quality swag, and it's great that it's different and useful for each race in the series. Excellent communication from the race organizers, a well-marked course, plenty of volunteers, well-stocked aid stations, and nice post-race food. I'm already considering the series again in 2022 (perhaps?), and looking forward to the next race in the series. 

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