The scenery of Puget Sound has built a community of outdoor recreation over the years. Cities all over the area have been running yearly marathons throughout the years, with new runs cropping up in recent years.
From within the city of Seattle to the scenic routes on Whidbey Island and full marathons to kids’ runs, there’s an event for locals and visitors alike. This article will highlight 10 marathons in the Puget Sound, where to find them, how long they are, and more.
Location: Seattle; Lengths: Half Marathon, Marathon, 5K, 10K, Combo, Kids’ Run
Known as one of the biggest runs in the Puget Sound, the Seattle Marathon is a non-profit organization that has run both summer and fall events since 1970. Over the decades, the Seattle Marathon has grown into one of the largest mass-participation runs in the entire Pacific Northwest, resulting in it being ranked as the Runner’s Choice Best Marathon in Washington State.
The Seattle Marathon has events in multiple lengths, including half and full marathons, 5 and 10K runs, and kids’ events. They even have a marathon dedicated specifically to kids as young as kindergarteners. Participants can choose between running or walking and there are even virtual races. Additionally, the Seattle Marathon counts as a Boston Qualifier, making it a great run for both serious and casual runners alike.
Seattle Ghost Marathon
Location: Ferdinand Boat Launch, Seattle; Length: Half Marathon, Marathon, 50K
The Seattle Ghost Marathon takes runners from the Ferdinand Boat Launch in Seattle through Seward Park during the fall. The event has multiple types of runs, including a half marathon, full marathon, and a 50K. Aid stations are placed throughout the race to keep runners hydrated while the finish line is stocked with cold and hot drinks, as well as snacks, hot soup, chili, and hot dogs.
This marathon is best known for its consistent support and dedicated mission of feeding the needy. Over the years, proceeds of the Seattle Ghost Marathon have been used to feed the needy once a month at the Outdoor Meal Site in Seattle. Their partnership with NW Ultras has provided food and blankets to the needy for over 5 years.
Capital City Marathon
Location: Sylvester Park, Olympia; Half Marathon, Marathon, 5 Mile, Kids’ Run
Planned and hosted by the Capital City Marathon Association, the Capital City Marathon in Olympia is a non-profit race run entirely by volunteers with a common goal of bringing the community together in health and wellness. Their course features the gentle hills and scenic trees and is followed up by an event with music, food, massages, and things to take home.
This event hosts multiple runs, including a half marathon, a full marathon, a 5 mile run, and a kids’ run. Locals and tourists can also volunteer to help direct and cheer on races throughout the course if they want to participate in the event but do not necessarily have an interest in running as a sport.
Tacoma City Marathon
Location: Tacoma; Length: Half Marathon, Marathon, 5K
This 2 day event has 3 different races runners can participate in. Their marathon and half marathon races will take runners through Point Defiance Park’s gardens and forests, across the city’s Narrows Bridge, and eventually to the waterfront at the Dune Peninsula Park where the half marathon ends.
The marathon will then continue down the waterfront and eventually turn around near the Museum of Glass. Once the race is completed, participants can enjoy the stunning views and the recreation center at Commencement Bay. The full marathon course counts as Boston Qualifier and is USATF-Certified.
Grand Ridge Issaquah
Location: Grand Ridge Park, Issaquah; Length: Half Marathon, Marathon, 5 Mile, 50K
Issaquah hosts an end of year event that includes a half and full marathon, as well as a 5 mile and 50K runs, in the hiking trails of Grand Ridge Park. For the last 23 years, the Washington Trails Association has been developing a trail system over 7 miles long for runners to enjoy. Over time, the Grand Ridge Evergreen Trail Run has expanded to include a free kid’s race on their own separate gravel trail so local families can fully participate in the event. Additionally, the Evergreen Trail Runs are committed to reducing waste and welcoming participants of all walks of life, making it one of the most environmentally conscious races in the state.
The Grand Ridge Evergreen Trail Run is the finale event for Evergreen Trail Runs every year. Serious runners can participate in multiple Evergreen Trail Runs, eventually finishing at Grand Ridge, to potentially receive awards for racing. Runs also include race stations with water and snacks and participants can pick up handmade swag once the event is finished.
Snohomish River Run
Location: Snohomish; Length: Half Marathon, Marathon, 5K, 10K
This race is great for runners of varying ages and experience levels. All participants get a shirt and medal, with full marathon participants also getting a jacket in addition. Runners looking to challenge themselves can choose to opt-in for challenge events to receive additional swag while more casual runners can stick to shorter races while still taking in the crisp fall air.
Snohomish River Run’s half marathon and full marathon cover a stretch of land alongside the Snohomish River itself, truly keeping in theme with the race’s name. The full marathon stretches onwards to the north all the way to Everett. Meanwhile, Snohomish River Run has also updated their courses for their 5K and 10K which now passes by the Snohomish Aquatic Center.
Whidbey Island Marathon
Location: Whidbey Island; Length: Half Marathon, Marathon
Further from Seattle lies Whidbey Island, a popular weekend getaway for tourists and locals alike. The picturesque island is also home to a half and full marathon event that showcases the ocean views and peaceful countryside that Whidbey Island has become famous for.
The Whidbey Island Marathon is part of the Salish Sea Road Race Series, which also includes the Capital City Marathon mentioned previously. Runners can choose to participate in the series or to just participate in the Whidbey Island Marathon specifically. Series participants can get a hat and medal for a small fee and a discount for races in the series.