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Race Dates

2018: Sunday, September 16, 2018
2017: Sunday, September 17, 2017

Course Information

Profile: Downhill
Type: Point to Point
Surface: Trail
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 60°F (15°C)
Average High: 69°F (20°C)
Average Low: 52° F (11°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 102.88
Course Score: 104.37

Race Size

2017: 427 Finishers
2016: 504 Finishers
2015: 439 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: N/A
2017: 32.8%
2016: 34.3%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: No

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Course Description

The downhill Tunnel Light Marathon course is very fast. However, running just over two miles through a tunnel and the trail surface (hard-packed gravel) may slow some runners.

From race website - The course starts at Hyak, 50 miles east of Seattle Washington, and runs down to North Bend on gravel rail-trails. It is a Boston qualifier and has the best profile in the country for a fast time due to the consistent gentle downhill grade and the low starting elevation. The first three miles are flat, cold, foggy and damp inside an unlit tunnel. Flashlights are strongly recommended. Once out of the Tunnel the gravel trail starts down the hill and keeps on going down, 2050 feet in the next 23 miles. It's never steep enough to be uncomfortable; you just feel like you're having a good day.

Marathon Rankings

The Tunnel Light Marathon was the 149th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 142nd largest in 2016.

Last year 32.8% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 34.3% of runners qualified for Boston in 2016.

This gives the Tunnel Light Marathon the 15th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 6th highest percentage in 2016.

Its Course Score of 104.37 ranks it as the 10th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 4th fastest course in Washington.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are above the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Tunnel Light Marathon a PR Score of 102.88. This PR Score ranks it as the 11th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 4th fastest in Washington.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 2563 feet (781m)
Min Elevation: 515 feet (157m)


Recent Tunnel Light Marathon Reviews

5 Stars from 3 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2016 Tunnel Light Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Well-organized marathon, with detailed descriptions and instructions on their website. Fabulous people (crew, volunteers, and spectators). Ideal course profile - I got 18 minute PR and BQ-ed by almost 6 minutes.

If you're lucky (like us in 2016), you'll get a perfect weather and amazing scenery as bonus.

Race Tips

Remember to turn off Auto-Pause on your GPS (I didn't), trees and mountains block the signal and that pauses the watch. Train your legs for long (but gradual) downhills. Get used to running on gravels.

Watch for other trail users.

Prepare for a wet or dry or in-between weather.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Just follow the instructions on their website

review of 2016 Tunnel Light Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


The tunnel was fun! The surface in the tunnel was a bit uneven, but wasn't really too much of an issue.

The rail to trail conversion kept a nice 1.5% downhill grade for the last 23 miles. Made it easy on the quads compared to other downhill courses. Running on the north side of the mountain made the GPS not work well. I had to rely on manual mile marker splits and heart rate to maintain my target pace.

The aid stations for the last 10k seemed to be farther apart than other marathons.

I'm doing it again this year. ;)

Race Tips

The last 10k had leaves on the trail, which could be slippery, but it wasn't too much of an issue.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)
Good food just down the road in Issaquah.

review of 2015 Tunnel Light Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


The weather was great! Low 50s with a hint of mist here and there. Kept us nice and cool. The tunnel was a hair foggy and cold which created for even more visibility issues, but it only lasts 2.25 miles. Hard to complain really when you take 3 minutes off your PR and qualify! I will be doing this one again

Race Tips

I bombed my way down the first half when I knew it was more downhill. I knew I would come back down to Earth eventually pace wise, but it worked for me. The trail is more compact dirt with rocks. I had shoes on that weren't too cushy and pretty light and they worked well for me. The scenery is gorgeous. A few pretty high bridges on the course, but if you are afraid of heights, just crank up the pace

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

We stayed at the Roaring River B&B. They were great there! About 12 minutes from the drop off point for the buses. Owners were great, walked out to a view of the river, really hard to complain about that

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Tunnel Light Marathon in 3:40:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.