The UW Medicine Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon is Seattle’s original hometown marathon and the oldest marathon in the Pacific Northwest. Starting in the shadow of the Space Needle, the course showcases the pristine Pacific Northwest before looping back to finish on the AstroTurf at Memorial Stadium. And though avoiding …
The UW Medicine Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon is Seattle’s original hometown marathon and the oldest marathon in the Pacific Northwest. Starting in the shadow of the Space Needle, the course showcases the pristine Pacific Northwest before looping back to finish on the AstroTurf at Memorial Stadium. And though avoiding hills in Seattle is like avoiding sand in the desert, Emerald City gems like Lake Union, Lake Washington, and the University of Washington help to temper the route’s inevitable ups and downs. Finishers applaud the race as “the perfect cap to the Thanksgiving weekend.” We invite you to take part in this iconic Thanksgiving weekend tradition and see why we’ve been RUNNING SEATTLE SINCE 1970.
Would not recommend
This is one of the worst races I’ve ever ran. So many parts of the course are just out and back loops so it gets very boring. Multiple aid stations … MORE
This is one of the worst races I’ve ever ran. So many parts of the course are just out and back loops so it gets very boring. Multiple aid stations had no one present, and others ran out of supplies. The end of the race is on a trail loop, and due to the typical Seattle drizzle so many people fell in the mud. I will not be participating in this event again.
Fun City to Visit But Only An Okay Race
I choose this race for Washington since I enjoy visiting the city of Seattle and was already planning to be on the west coast the weekend of the race. I … MORE
I choose this race for Washington since I enjoy visiting the city of Seattle and was already planning to be on the west coast the weekend of the race. I had long planned to do CIM in 2022 as it fell on my birthday. I knew I wanted to take a trip to the west coast starting on Thanksgiving and decided to start at Seattle and drive down to Sacramento during the week. This race is one of those that is hard to rate due to a lot of outside factors. I will start with the weather was perfect and I got a medal so it was a lot better than my last half marathon. There were a lot of issues with the course and logistics but a lot seemed to be due to restrictions from the city and getting permits and not necessarily the race company’s fault. For instance the race was originally scheduled on Sunday and had always started in downtown Seattle where the host hotel is. But the city made them move the race to Saturday due to a Seahawks game and it sounds like the city also wouldn’t let them use downtown so the start/finish was moved to Husky Stadium at UW. I was actually happy with the date change as I was planning to go to the Seahawks game so didn’t have to rush to the game after the race and it gave me an extra rest day before the marathon. They did offer refund or deferral if you couldn’t make the new date. For the race I flew into Seattle on Thanksgiving since it is much cheaper to fly on Thanksgiving and just celebrated Thanksgiving with my family the weekend before the trip. I stayed at the host hotel the Westin in downtown Seattle which is where packet pick-up is and the race used to start. The hotel was nice and it was very cheap for race discounts but as they also charged for parking and it is more difficult to drive downtown than the UW area I would suggest looking to change host hotels to one closer to the start if they are going to continue to start at Husky stadium. The expo was kind of a pain since the area seemed too small and since it was only 1 day instead of the usual 2 day expo and it was very crowded. There were long lines to get the packet which was annoying and the lines were also pretty inefficient. You got the bib first and then went to another room for the shirt and the expo. The shirt is tech and long sleeved and pretty nice. You also got a bag with goodies. I was very grossed out beef jerky was included. I think enough people don’t eat meat especially on the west coast to not give meat to everyone. Just have it as a sample or ask if they want it. The rest of the expo was okay. I was happy they had free cans of sparkling water and energy drinks. They did not have as much race gear to purchase as most expos. For race day morning they did have a shuttle from the Westin to Husky stadium but it was only one way. I didn’t feel like driving and you also had to pay for parking at UW so I took the shuttle. It went well. I did love the start at Husky stadium. It was a good place to hang out before the race and there were real, heated bathrooms and plenty of bathrooms so no lines. The start was relatively efficient and runners lined up by pace. There was an announcer who gave clear instructions and there were multiple pace groups the slowest being 2:50 which was a bit faster than I waned to push myself today but I stuck with them the first mile or so to stop from going way too fast. While I appreciated crossing the start line quickly I do think having more spread out waves and maybe waiting 5 minutes between waves may have been a simple solution to avoid some of the issues of the course. The course was new and obviously modified due to permit issues if you compare it to the original course. It was mostly through neighborhoods or public paved trails. It was for the most part quite scenic. There was one view around the end of mile 1 that was breathtaking. The first few miles are on streets and have a few hills. There is a killer, steep hill around mile 2 but all the other hills were pretty runnable. The race was actually easier than I was expecting with about 500 feet of elevation gain which is flat for Seattle. I was taking this race easy since I had a marathon next week so did walk a lot of the hills however. Then you go through the arboretum which is pretty and fast and mostly downhill. The big issues came at 2 out and backs. The first out and back was around mile 7 or so and it was on a relatively tight path next to a busy freeway. There was a concrete wall separating runners from cars so very safe but I did not find it pleasant to run by zooming cars although the one side of the path did have beautiful views. But the real issue was the mixing of the half and full marathon. The full marathon kept taking little side tracks away from the half to make up the miles so for the out and backs us slower half marathoners were interspersed with faster marathoners which was such a mess. I especially feel for the marathoners as some may have been trying to BQ having to constantly run around half marathoners but there was not enough space to spread out properly. Then there was a bit of the course around UW and then unfortunately another out and and back around mile 10 that was even tighter (although it was a really pretty running path). At one point I was trying to run past 2 people walking side by side when I got stampeded upon by the 4:05 marathon pace group and almost bumped into the walkers I was trying to pass. Yikes this was such a poorly set up course. I do think some of the issues were city permits but you can’t have tight out and backs with runners doing different paces. If they are limited to this course next year they really need to rethink the out and backs and maybe try to have the half marathoners not do these out and backs or have the half and full start at the same time and have the out and backs early in the course so everyone is doing the same pace. Or if neither of these is possible have a slower start line with waves so the course is less congested. I will give credit that this could have been a very hard course to follow with the marathoners constantly leaving then rejoining the half marathoners and it was very well marked and there were cleae mile markers for each race. Another issue is they seemed to only have water at aid stations even though Gu and gel was advertised. I don’t know if they ran out or if it just wasn’t there. Also the aid stations were very slow. I think there were issues getting volunteers. I am not blaming the volunteers but there were not enough. Again a slower, waved start could have fixed this. The finish line at Husky stadium though was great and I think it is always fun to finish on a football field. My finishing time was as expected. And they didn’t run out of medals. The medal is nice though not extraordinary. There was decent post race snacks but I just grabbed a mango oat bar and then went to the nearby Veggie Grill in University Village for post race lunch and then I took an uber back to the hotel. There is also public transportation. Overall I have mixed feelings about this race. The race was scenic but didn’t go through downtown Seattle at all this year. I do think a lot of the issues were outside the races control and I wish the city would embrace the race more. I do think this is probably the most convenient race for Washington as it is on a holiday weekend so you can take less or even no vacation days and it is near a major airport and does not require renting a car but I have a hard time strongly recommending this race with the current course.
Aged like cheese
Pros: reasonable price, gorgeous course, a couple gnarly hills but mostly very run-able, packet pickup was smooth, schedule went basically as planned, pacers were great, volunteers were awesome, medals were … MORE
Pros: reasonable price, gorgeous course, a couple gnarly hills but mostly very run-able, packet pickup was smooth, schedule went basically as planned, pacers were great, volunteers were awesome, medals were cool, good food after.
Cons: Had to drive to Seattle twice in a row because hotel was so far from start line it wasn’t worth staying in the city (last time we ran this, we stayed in Seattle and walked to the start line)-once for packet pick up (where I had to pay $10 to park for 60 minutes to go in the hotel to get my number) and once (where I had to pay another $10-ish) to park on race day (payment was really hard to figure out and a lot of people were getting booted from the app or otherwise having trouble so were worried about cars getting towed), expo was tiny compared to previous years, dates got shifted which messed our schedule up (shortened expo by a day, had us driving to Seattle both on black Friday AND small business Saturday, overlapped my sister’s work schedule), course was pretty crowded all the way thru and no one was moving right if you were trying to pass so slowed the times down quite a bit because everyone ran abreast and there was no passing lane, only water at hydration stops (would’ve brought my own electrolytes if I’d known that), hotel was located nowhere near the start line or we would’ve just stayed in Seattle, race shirt had this weird seam right at the chest so it mushroomed out and made everyone look chunky (especially if you were busty), post race traffic home was awful made worse by construction detours.
Upshot: it’s not as much fun as it was when we first started doing it due to crowds and unfortunate logistics so we probably won’t go again.
A Exciting Course Near Seattle's City
The aid stations were excellent because each one had water and electrolytes. The most unique aspect about the race was the course and where it went such through Seattles city, … MORE
The aid stations were excellent because each one had water and electrolytes. The most unique aspect about the race was the course and where it went such through Seattles city, and Universities. The race could be improved with more food at aid stations.
Battle of Seattle
This race had some of the best and some of the worst production I've seen out there. Race starts at 6am just outside the Husky football stadium at the University … MORE
This race had some of the best and some of the worst production I’ve seen out there.
Race starts at 6am just outside the Husky football stadium at the University of Washington. It won’t get light for another hour in late November, and even if you are blessed with a dry day like today, the leaves around miles 8-11 will still be very slippery. We run across a bridge in darkness near mile 2 where you can see the Seattle skyline. From miles 3-7 we run on a closed down highway. Then, at mile 8, all hell breaks loose. The half marathon starts at 7am, and at mile 8 for marathon, we MERGE in with the half-ers who are at mile 2. Forget about trying to stay with a pacer. You will get stuck behind slower half marathoners repeatedly for the next 2-3 miles. Thankfully it shakes out by mile 10, but at mile 12, a new horror: you do an out-and-back for 3.5 miles each way, on a bridge over the bay. The bridge is ~12 feet wide and 7 runners could probably run side by side. But there are people coming back the other way too, so watch out! You will feel super claustrophobic and lose your pacer AGAIN since there is no room to run. Thankfully, the crowds cleared out by the time I turned around and headed the other way. But I’m sure there were 15-20 minutes of chaos as throngs of runners going out squeezed past the throngs returning.
Unfortunately, there were not enough volunteers at the aid stations (this is a recurring problem). You may have to grab your own cup from the table or bump into someone else. The aid stations had water and Nuun, but both cups tasted like water to me, and neither gave me energy, so I hit the wall at mile 23, slowed down to walk, missed my 4 hour goal, and flew back to Chicago defeated. But this race scored big production points for the ending, finishing inside Husky stadium. Although walking up the steps to the concourse was difficult after the marathon, there was SO much food including several energy bars, bananas, yerba mate, hot ramen, and hot apple cider.
Not Great in 2021
This year's production was really sub-par--not as many drink stations as should be and running for most of the time on the narrow Burke-Gilman was not a great idea. Especially … MORE
This year’s production was really sub-par–not as many drink stations as should be and running for most of the time on the narrow Burke-Gilman was not a great idea. Especially going out and back on the same path. While this is my home route, I was disappointed in just how poorly managed the entire race felt…capped off by the medals and just being told to grab one out of the box (still in a wrapper), and the medal itself being super weak. I give them a pass due to COVID but having run 4 other races post-COVID, I can say that the production of this one was by far the worst.
A Amazing Race in a Beautiful City
The aid stations were exciting because the volunteers had plenty of water and gatorade available for me to fill up my water bottle with. The most unique aspect of the … MORE
The aid stations were exciting because the volunteers had plenty of water and gatorade available for me to fill up my water bottle with. The most unique aspect of the race was that the hills were manageable through the mostly flat course. The race could be improved with more snacks on the race by the volunteers.
Tough race but worth it!
I've done the full marathon (2008) and the half multiple times (2017, 2018, 2019). I have to say the new course in 2019 was FAR better than previous years. In … MORE
I’ve done the full marathon (2008) and the half multiple times (2017, 2018, 2019). I have to say the new course in 2019 was FAR better than previous years. In years past, the hills were absolutely BRUTAL as they went around metro-Seattle and back up, over, and around Capitol Hill where the switchbacks of constant incline made for no one’s personal best finish. The course I ran in 2019 still had hills (Seattle is hilly…), but they were better spread out and variations of gradual to steep. The race shuts down the express lanes on I5 that will run you into Fremont. I’d say the best parts of this race are the beginning streets of downtown Seattle and the Fremont section (roughly mile 5 thru 10?). You still have a few hefty hills waiting at about mile 9/10 as you climb back out of Fremont and across the aurora bridge. However then you get some free downhill miles to bring you back home to the Space Needle. Every year I’ve ran this event there have been plenty of aid stations (pre-Covid…) and the abundance of food/drink afterwards is excellent!
I Wouldn't Recommend
I thought this race was going to be beautiful because Seattle is such an amazing city. However I was greatly disappointed. You run on a freeway for a large portion … MORE
I thought this race was going to be beautiful because Seattle is such an amazing city. However I was greatly disappointed. You run on a freeway for a large portion of the race. then on a run path with no views of the city or water very industrial. One water stop had no water so I ran the last 7 miles without water. Disappointing to say the least. Unless they change the course I won’t do again.
Was expecting more for 50 years
This race was very boring for me. Most of it was long a running trail with not much to look at. (I saw signs that said "Lake Washington" but never … MORE
This race was very boring for me. Most of it was long a running trail with not much to look at. (I saw signs that said “Lake Washington” but never saw a lake.) There were few spectators on the course and the first few miles are on a “lower” road so GPS was spotty. When the GPS recovered, every mile was off – but not consistently throughout the race. the 4th mile marker read as 4.43 for me, then mile marker 5 read 5.1 for me. The field was not dense enough to have to consider weaving in and out of people, not was the running trail winding or wide enough to think that tangents were affecting the distance. It became discouraging towards the end of the race when you encounter out-and-back parts of the course.
The race didn’t seem to have enough volunteers – I carry water with me, but it seemed like they were racing to fill cups when I approached a water stop that was about a mile after the half-marathoners split away from us. This was not too large of a race and with it being the 50th year, I was under the impression that they would have known how many volunteers to put on the course. (there were plenty at the finish line handing out medals and blankets)
The shirt was nice. The medal was nice. My favorite parts of this event were the finish line area and the expo: after we crossed the finish line, we were able to go into a heated building where we got our post-race food and drinks. The vendors at the expo and the finish line area were super nice and the areas where they were held were tidy and well-organized.
My hotel was a 6-minute walk from the start and finish line, so I was able to wake up, get breakfast, go back to my room for one last pit-stop and be on my merry way.
***oh yeah – there was a massive hill at mile 23. Don’t waste your heart rate on that. Just walk it. You’ll make up for it on the downhill – your quads can hurt tomorrow ☺ ***
WASHINGTON STATE: ✓
Strong race with room for improvement
Course: The course is about as flat as one could ask for in Seattle. There are some long gradual declines/inclines on the bike trail that you can feel more than … MORE
Course: The course is about as flat as one could ask for in Seattle. There are some long gradual declines/inclines on the bike trail that you can feel more than see, but the only real hills are in miles 23 and 24.
Expo: The expo was modest, but you can buy gels or any last minute race necessities.
Race morning: The pre-race bag check was quick and easy. The starting area lacked any organization. There were no signs guiding runners where to line up based on pace. The pacers even had trouble getting from the starting line back into reasonable positions. Coming from the bag check, I had to enter from pretty far back and gradually make my way forward to where I should be. (I finished #95 overall.)
Race: Water stops were sufficient in number, but many were small and haphazardly organized, with no consistent placement of water vs Gatorade. One early stop on the highway was placed on the far right side of the road on a long sweeping left turn. I skipped the water stop rather than run the significant extra distance.
Post-race: The stadium finish was a nice feature, with easy access to the indoor recovery area–until you realize that your checked bag is at the top level of the stadium. Runners had to walk up long and very steep bleacher steps, retrieve their bags, and then walk back down the steps before continuing into the recovery area.
Swag: I loved the 50th anniversary shirt, a long-sleeved black tech tee with a gold design. The 50th anniversary finisher’s medal was equally impressive.
Overall: I’d give the Seattle Marathon a solid B that could be made an A with a few runner-focused tweaks.
First half marathon
My cousin pushed my into this race with only a month to train. I ran a marathon 18 months prior and had spent most of the time since then sitting … MORE
My cousin pushed my into this race with only a month to train. I ran a marathon 18 months prior and had spent most of the time since then sitting around.
The run was great. Nice weather. They had decent booths at the event check-in. Free GU gels is nice. I do remember some views of the city from the highway, most of the time you are in town. Running uphill across that long bridge at the end was tough.
Best City Race I Have Done
The race production was great, easy pick up, very organized. Best City Course I have ever ran, you go all the way around the city, even on the main freeway … MORE
The race production was great, easy pick up, very organized. Best City Course I have ever ran, you go all the way around the city, even on the main freeway I5 which was really cool, over bridges, though downtown, though parks and starts at the space needle and ends in a cool stadium. Race swag was nice, lots of free gifts at the end. The medal was a little small otherwise I loved this race. It’s a must do if you want to enjoy a city run.
Nice hometown race with hills
I ran the half and did a decent time given the uphill sections. There is enough good downhill to make up for the loss of time on the uphills. Well … MORE
I ran the half and did a decent time given the uphill sections. There is enough good downhill to make up for the loss of time on the uphills. Well run and nice views. Would definitely do again.
Always a well put together race.
I am a returning runner for this event. I was there in support of my sister and her very first half-marathon finish. Plenty of water/aid stations. Plenty of strangers rooting … MORE
I am a returning runner for this event. I was there in support of my sister and her very first half-marathon finish. Plenty of water/aid stations. Plenty of strangers rooting runners on. Beautiful, fun, and challenging course. Swag could be better for what you pay but you definitely get your money’s worth on the course. 😉
A Dream Come True!!!
2016 was the final year to race across the beautiful I-90 Floating Bridge and even though I was a half marathoner, the race officials allowed me to race across the … MORE
2016 was the final year to race across the beautiful I-90 Floating Bridge and even though I was a half marathoner, the race officials allowed me to race across the floating bridge with the full marathoners! A dream come true for me!! What an amazing and beautiful course full of happy volunteers and police offers making sure that our race day was perfect! And the quality of my shiny new bling….feels like an Olympic medal!! Thank You to the Amica Seattle Marathon crew for giving this lady a happy ending to 2016!!
good running conditions
The short steep inclines and declines in the second half made the half-marathon a challenge. I was also concerned about cold and rain that late in November in Seattle, however, … MORE
The short steep inclines and declines in the second half made the half-marathon a challenge. I was also concerned about cold and rain that late in November in Seattle, however, conditions on that day proved to be good for running. Some spots were a little slippery from wet leaves or pine needles
Hilly and awesome!
I do this one every year - great organization, and great course in an AWESOME city. The weather was great this year, but is typically in the 20s and often … MORE
I do this one every year – great organization, and great course in an AWESOME city. The weather was great this year, but is typically in the 20s and often wet/icy, so do be prepared. Great crowds, good finishers’ chute and easy transportation.
Best Part of Thanksgiving Weekend
I look forward to this race every fall. It's the perfect cap to the Thanksgiving weekend. This was my 6th year running the half and it never disappoints. Well run, … MORE
I look forward to this race every fall. It’s the perfect cap to the Thanksgiving weekend. This was my 6th year running the half and it never disappoints. Well run, great volunteers, the expo is organized and convenient, if a little small for such a big race. The weather is a toss up – I’ve run in both sunny, nearly 55 degree weather and below 20 degrees! But, that’s late fall in Seattle! Really a great race and I’ve already signed up for next year!
Great goodies and organization.
Love that you run into the stadium to the finish line. Race goodies were incredible (soup!). Plenty of room to meet with family and stretch. Race course was tough and … MORE
Love that you run into the stadium to the finish line. Race goodies were incredible (soup!). Plenty of room to meet with family and stretch. Race course was tough and beautiful!