Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, the Mt. Si Relay and Ultra Runs have been offering up stellar views along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail each April since 1999. Located just 25 miles east of Seattle, the relay often sells out. Fortunately, runners also have the opportunity to challenge themselves with the 50K and 50-mile distances.
The 31.5-mile Snoqualmie Valley Trail meanders past agricultural farms along the Snoqualmie River, and connects to the cross-state John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park. Runners will get the opportunity to tour along the base of 4,167-foot tall Mt. Si, as well as skirt the shoreline of Rattlesnake Lake.
As a relay and ultra that have been around for over 17 years, the Mt. Si events are a great way to kick off racing season, whether it’s in preparation for your next event or just a great reason to run in the spring. Below are the Top Five Reasons the Mt. Si Relay and Ultra Runs should be on your to-do list this coming April:
1.) It’s beginner-friendly. With just 1,000 and 1,400 feet of elevation gain for the 50K and 50-mile respectively, each distance traverses the base of Mt. Si on the packed trails of the Snoqualmie Valley. Many ultras often challenge runners with thousands of feet of elevation gain, where as the Mt. Si Ultras keep a low elevation profile with some gradual rolling hills along the route.
2.) The trail is non-technical. The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is maintained by King County which means it’s free of natural obstacles and often wide at most points. The trail is a popular thoroughfare for Falls City, Snoqualmie and North Bend, which means it’s well-known and loved by local residents.
3.) It’s fast. The 50K is on 95% trail and the 50-mile is on 88% trail with the rest of the course on road. The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is old railroad grade and offers a gentle elevation. It’s generally wide with some crushed rock, but usually is packed dirt and grass. The steepest climb is from North Bend to Rattlesnake Lake, which is 450 feet over five miles.
4.) All races are spectator-friendly and have plenty of aid stations. Because each course is an out-and-back, there are well-stocked aid stations every five miles. Given the course is close to town, access for spectators is easy, which means there are lots of options for friends and family to offer support.
5.) The views can’t be beat. Whether or not you’re a Twin Peaks fan, you’ll still appreciate the gorgeous views of Mt. Si and Snoqualmie Falls, two breathtaking landmarks that give the Mt. Si Relay and Ultra participants the true Pacific Northwest experience.
When asked why runners continue to return year after year, Mt. Si Race Director Karen Zehm said, “The #1 reason runners come back year after year to the Mt. Si Relay & Ultra Runs race is the volunteers. It takes over 120 volunteers to put on this race and we make an effort to call out runners by name on the course and make the race a great experience for all runners.”