Half Marathon Description
The USATF certified half marathon starts at 9:00 a.m. at either the White Pass Lodge or NF-540 (DOT turnaround, south side of the road) and Highway 12, near the Dog Lake, Washington, campground two miles east of the White Pass Ski Area. Look for DOG LAKE HALF MARATHON signs marking the entrance of the start location. Race cutoff time is 3 hours for the half. The main course heads east for about a half mile before turning around and heading down the mountain toward Rimrock Lake. The optional course diverges around Clear Lake and the half marathoners finish near Silver Beach Resort and the west end of Rimrock. The downhill miles are steep and fast (-200 ft/mi). If you train for it, you can expect to run them 20-40 seconds/mile faster than race pace. However, if you aren’t careful, you’ll run too fast and end up with an elevated heart rate and with lactic acidosis.
The miles around Clear Lake and past Rimrock Lake are slightly hilly with a few surprises, notably a 180-foot hill (+8.5% grade) just after mile 12. Walking that hill is recommended. Most of the race is on asphalt but miles 10-12 around the east side of Clear Lake are on a gravel or dirt forest road. (See map and profile.)
Current course (all road and a little more downhill)
Pre-2017 course (less downhill, more scenic, some dirt)
With a net elevation loss of approximately 1,540 feet, from 4,479 feet to 2,939 feet, the race compares to the Top of Utah Half Marathon, only ours is more scenic.
The course is open to traffic with flaggers, although Saturday morning eastbound traffic is very light. Everyone must run on the eastbound shoulder (south side) of Highway 12. Safety is paramount, so be sure to wear bright clothing. Race shirts are usually bright orange to notify both drivers and hunters. As race day approaches, be sure to monitor the traffic cam at White Pass.
The average low at White Pass for race day is 32 degrees. The average high is 47. Average temperatures near Trout Lodge are a couple of degrees warmer than White Pass. Remember to dress in layers.