This has got to be, by far, my favorite marathon I’ve ever run. It was so unassumingly simple. No pomp and circumstance. No special swag. Just outrageously gorgeous trails.
I’ve never run on such beautiful trails in my life.
Oregon, you’ve won me over in those 4+ hours in the Silver Falls State Park. SFSP is only about an hour south of Portland, known for it’s many large waterfalls. ~600 runners ran the half, and ~300 runners ran the full.
Lots of great energy at the start; trail runners are such a kind group of people. Relaxed, happy, encouraging, chill. The gun went off at 8:30 on the dot. I carried my Nathan hydration belt with 20 oz. of water and 2 chocolate GUs.
The weather was chilly, 40s and steady rain, but the rolling climbs kept my muscles warm. It’s hard to say what the total elevation gain was, but I’d guess somewhere over 3000 ft.
I was literally blown away by the beauty of the trails: giant trees with 5′ diameters that tower hundreds of feet high, overgrown ferns, luscious green moss draping over trees. Some single tracks were slick with huge fallen leaves. Others, ankle-deep in sloppy, thick mud. Nothing was dry :) All this before the first of the waterfalls.
Weez and Cabo were my support crew and able to meet me at 2 of the aid stations. Which I loved so much. I would grab a GU from them and keep running along. I wished they could have seen the course I saw.
Somewhere on the back loop (btwn miles 6-19), I had to cross a ~10′ river, knee-deep. I plowed into the water with reckless abandon and a huge smile on my face. Other times, I’d literally gasp because of how beautiful the trails were. I swore t-rex was about to emerge from the dense forest. Or that I was on the set of Twilight. It was like a dream.
The following pictures are from the official race photographer, Nine 22 Photography. I want you all to see some of the ridiculous beauty I got to run on, even though none of these pictures are of me.
We ran behind, in front of, and around so many stunning falls, tall and short. I lost count of how many by after the 6th or 7th one. Raging waters than drowned out the sound of my breathing and kept my mind off the brutal climbs, hundreds of stairs, and narrow trails with steep drop-offs to the valleys below.
I was soaked to the bone but happier than a calm. I was on cloud 9 the entire time.
I drank HEED every aid station (6 total) and water from my belt and ate 4 GUs but I was still pretty dang hungry by mile 20. By mile 23, I was cashed and of course the course took another turn up up up. The last 5k gained 400ft+ which was, well, ouch.
Finishing strong. Sad to leave those gorgeous trails, but so happy to be done!
Silver Falls Marathon
Finish = 4:21:24
1st (of 13) in F25-29 // 43rd (of 250) overall
Major thanks to my #1 support crew and favorite running buddy in the world. Thanks for being there for me, Weez! You’re the best!
From the excellent race directors/on-time start/friendly volunteers, to the ridiculously cheap race entry (I think I only paid $50), to the 99% single track stunning trails… I will absolutely be running Silver Falls Marathon again next year!
Who’s with me!?