The 17th Annual Whidbey Island Marathon on April 22, 2018 promises to be an ideal Pacific Northwest destination adventure. Nestled in the Puget Sound approximately 35 miles north of Seattle, this 26.2-mile, Boston-qualifying course takes runners along the island’s most scenic landscapes including views of snow-capped mountains in Olympic National Park and the Cascade Mountains. If you’re looking for a marathon that’s far from the city streets and provides a breath of fresh air, check out this challenging yet breath-taking race.
Runners start the full marathon by crossing Deception Pass Bridge, a steel bridge built in 1935 that stands 180 feet above the ocean water below. Views span wide including the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the west, a waterway which separates the U.S. from Canada. Upon crossing the bridge, the first of seven moderate hills await as runners make their way across the island to the eastern shores, where coastal views of Skagit Bay await. Along the way, community members and local support create a fun and festive experience for runners as they race their way across the island.
As runners approach Dugualla Bay at approximately mile 8, they’ll begin another ascent and then make their way inland toward the city of Oak Harbor. As a vibrant coastal community, Oak Harbor celebrates its Dutch heritage every year in the spring, and runners will notice the Holland-inspired windmills along with other cultural symbols so prevalent throughout the island. Winding through the countryside during miles 10 – 15, runners may get a glimpse of the aircrafts that frequent Ault Field, the Naval Air Station located on Whidbey Island which dates back to 1942.
For the final 10 miles of the marathon, runners will make their way back to the coast, cruising from Strawberry Point towards Crescent Harbor, and then finally to the finish line along the bayfront in downtown Oak Harbor. Whether it’s the full marathon, half marathon, 10K or 5K, there is something for everyone (even a 1K for the kids), including finisher’s medals for all runners, and a running shirt and/or running hoodie and goody bag.
The Whidbey Island Marathon is also part of The Salish Road Race Series which was created to reward participants who finish three of the following events: Whidbey Island Marathon, Capital City Marathon, North Olympic Discovery Marathon and Bellingham Bay Marathon. Not only will entrants receive discounts when registering for more than one of these races, but participants who cross the finish line of three out the four events will receive a commemorative medal, as well as Salish Sea Road Race Series apparel (previous years have included hats and beanies). Runners who finish three of these events will automatically be entered.
Runners can expect aid stations every 2 miles stocked with Nuun (electrolyte drink), visible course markings, and a festive post-race spread with food and drinks. Time to start training now, because this is a perfect spring marathon and Pacific Northwest weekend getaway all wrapped into one.
To register, visit runwhidbey.com.