About the Marathon
Both USATF certified races start at 9:00 a.m. at NF-540 and Highway 12, near the Dog Lake, Washington, campground two miles east of the White Pass Ski Area. Race cutoff times are 3 hours for the half and 6 hours for the full. The course loops around Clear Lake and the half marathoners finish at Silver Beach Resort and the west end of Rimrock Lake. The marathoners continue along Rimrock Lake down toward Trout Lodge. The first 5.75 miles downhill are steep and fast (-200 ft/mi). If you train for it, you can expect to run the first six miles 20-40 seconds/mile faster than race pace. However, if you aren't careful, you'll run too fast and end up with an elevated heart rate and with lactic acidosis.
The middle 13 miles around Clear Lake and past Rimrock Lake are slightly hilly with a few surprises, notably a 180-foot hill (+8.5% grade) just after mile 12. Walking that hill is recommended. The last 7 miles through the Rimrock tunnel and along the Tieton River are gently sloping downhill (-100 ft/mi) but are a refreshing finish to a great run. Most of the race is on asphalt but miles 10-12 around the east side of Clear Lake are on a gravel or dirt forest road. (See map and profile.)
With a net elevation loss of approximately 2,075 feet, from 4,325 feet to 2,250 feet, the race compares to the Top of Utah Marathon (5,636 ft to 4,542 ft, net loss 1,094 ft) and the St. George Marathon (5,240 ft to 2,680 ft, net loss 2,560 ft), only it's more scenic.
The course is open to traffic with flaggers at the Rimrock tunnel, although Saturday morning eastbound traffic is very light. Everyone must run on the eastbound shoulder (south side) of Highway 12. Safety is paramount, so be sure to wear bright clothing. Race shirts are usually bright orange to notify both drivers and hunters. As race day approaches, be sure to monitor the traffic cam at White Pass.
The average low at White Pass for race day is 32 degrees. The average high is 47. Average temperatures near Trout Lodge are a couple of degrees warmer than White Pass. Remember to dress in layers.