Weather is perfect in late April. Low 40's to high 50's consistently. City of Tacoma is surrounded by some amazing scenery and the race incorporates a few really neat views of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Point Defiance Park, Commencement Bay, and Mount Rainier. Gorgeous race and well run.
Big hill in Point Defiance park from mile 16-18. 200 feet of elevation gain over these two miles. Race start can be extra chilly, especially when windy but you warm up quickly on the run.
Gear check and shuttle available from downtown Tacoma is free. Shuttle picks people up in downtown and takes you to the Tacoma Marathon start point at the airport. Free coffee, bagels, and snacks at the start.
By Jim T. about 2014
The cool drizzly weather and net elevation downhill make this course very friendly to making your PR and the elevation profile isn't accurate for the first few miles because it mistakenly records the route into the channel instead of on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge which is similar to running over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco where I live. This route has a lot of similarities to the San Francisco Marathon though it isn't a loop and is definitely easier being net downhill. In fact, the level changes really act to break up the monotony of the run and helped build pace for me. I PR'd here though I didn't qualify for Boston.
Hopefully, this is corrected for next time, but the elevation profile on their website is wrong and needs to be corrected around the bridge. You lose about a third of the listed uphill elevation when this is corrected. Also, the expo is very small and underwhelming but don't let that keep you from taking advantage of a relatively small event that has a great route and location for the price imo.
Parking is easy and free near the finish of the race in downtown Tacoma so no need to use hotel parking and the shuttle to the start is fine. If you come from out of town, having a rental car is great to checkout the area, including Seattle.