Gradual downhill the whole race. Tunnel is crowded at first but spaces out, poor to no service in the tunnel, so you will need to feel comfortable with your pace. Gravel was fairly smooth but at times you need to watch your footing when passing runners. Run over trussels are beautiful but very high. Can be a cooler start due to elevation and wooded areas but you will be warm/hot at the last few miles. Limited crowd support due to access to trail but when you see them it gives you a great energy boost.
Great for PRs: must uphill and downhill training and good strengthening quads program. I brought my own water pack just to make sure I had water when needed, since first aide station was too busy and would have to stop to pour my water. Flash light and headlamp a must for tunnel, they let you toss them at end of tunnel with name and pick up at end of race, as well as a light jacket. Gaiters are helpful for preventing gravel in your shoes.
We got an Airbnb near the finish line, which was 7 mins from shuttle buses on race morning. There is no expo or packet pick up day before, just morning of so be sure to arrive early.
By AV about 2016
The race is well organized, not gimmicky, a runner's race. The scenery was unbeatable, and of course the overall downhill was a plus. I loved it. Definitely in my top 5 favorite marathons!
I ended up not using, or needing, the gaiters they recommend. I was definitely happy to have my headlamp during the tunnel, and it was not a big deal to bag it and send it to the finish when the tunnel was done.
Edgewick Inn in North Bend is cheap, clean and walking distance to the pick up point to bus you to the start line.
By Tim Clukey about 2013
One of the coolest courses I've ever run on, this was my first full but I have run several races at other distances, it was fun, fast and beautiful.
**headlamp** was a big help, utilize drop bags at end of the tunnel to shed everything you don't want to lug down the mountain. MAKE SURE YOU TRAIN ON SOME LONG DOWNHILL RUNS, your quads will thank you