- Half Marathon
Mount Rainier Half Marathon
Start: 6:00 am in Ashford, WA
End: 11:00 am
Run through the peaceful community of Ashford, Washington at the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. This course will take you through beautiful pacific northwest landscapes. You’ll run through peaceful forests, among wildflowers, ferns and lush undergrowth, over streams and rivers all the while catching glimpses of Mount Rainier as the trees part to reveal her in all her majesty towering over the course.
The first mile has runners heading west with Rainier at their back on Hwy 706 (National Park Hwy). This section is on road. Shortly after Mile 1, runners turn onto a dirt trail through some private property to tie into some dirt roads through the trees. Runners will be on dirt roads until just past Mile 8. Around Mile 3 runners will cross Nisqually River for the first time and hit the first aid station.
Runners will continue south on the dirt roads, hitting the first of two good climbs near Mile 4. The second aid station will be near Mile 5. At about Mile 6 runners will hit the second (and more significant of the two) hills, climbing around 300ft in a mile (it gets steeper at about 6.5). It can be harder going up a mountain than down, but the views are better at the top. From about mile 7 to 8 is a pretty good downhill, then the course is pretty level from there to the finish. The third aid station will be waiting for you at the top of the hill near Mile 7.
The course will change from dirt road back to pavement just past Mile 8. Runners will hit the fourth aid station just before crossing the Nisqually River for the second time near Mile 9. The course hops back onto Hwy 706 briefly before taking some side roads up to Ashford County Park where the finish line is.
All runners will have 4 hours to finish the race (chip time). That is an 18 minute mile - plenty of time for walkers! If at anytime we deem it unsafe and need to pull a runner off the course, we would hope for understanding and immediate cooperation. Failure to comply will result in being banned from future events.
Because this is the first (and likely only) time we will be running this course, we do not have any course records. The overall winners and masters winners will set the course record for this course.
Expect about 6 aid stations on the course at around mile 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 12. A medic will be stationed at the aid station at or near mile 7. Keep in mind, the exact location of each aid station may vary from race to race. Aid stations include toilets, water, Gnarly Hydrate, Honey Stinger gels, basic first aid supplies, and sometimes more.
All stations are cup-free so plan to bring your own hydration solution or request a free HydraPouch when you register.
Bib & Packet Pickup
When you register, we'll ask you to indicate when you plan to pick up your bib. If your plans change, don’t worry about it. We only ask to help us plan in terms of numbers.
Your choices to pick up your packet are:
Option #1: Drive-thru bib pickup (recommended)
We’ll have our bib pickup on Friday, July 16th in Ashford, WA in the same location as the start of the race. You may pick up your bib, beginning at 12pm until 7pm.
Due to COVID compliance, we likely will not have an expo. Instead, runners will be able to drive up and get their bib race shirt, hydrapouch and more...without getting out of their car! This will help us minimize groups from congregating and make the event safer.
There will still be a parking area where you can park and shop around with some of our vendors, and merchandise tent, so be sure to stop by and say hi!
Option #2: Race Morning
We will provide limited race morning packet pickup. The race starts very early, so having to worry about getting your bib on race morning will only add unneeded stress to your life. But we know sometimes it just can't be avoided. If it can be avoided, please do not pick your packet up the morning of the race.
Bib pickup on race morning will be right next to the starting line. Be sure to pick up your bib before 5:00am. The race starts promptly at 6:00 am.
Option #3: Shipped To You (US residents only)
There is a cost of $20 if you want to have your bib and race shirt mailed to you. We do this as a convenience for runners not able to get into town before the close of bib pickup on Friday. This option is only available BEFORE the final price jump.
Refunds: Once your package is shipped, you are officially checked in to the race and no longer qualify for our refund, deferment, or transfer options.
Bring Your Own Bag
In our ongoing effort to eliminate waste during our races, our expos are bagless events. We encourage you to #BYOBag to hold your bib, race shirt, and any goodies you pick up from the race expo!
If you're unhappy with the fit of your race shirt, or were unable to order the size you wanted, we will have a shirt exchange available at the finish line on race day. Please note that sizes and quantity will be limited.
We want to help you make the most out of your vacation. Below we will post links to some of our sponsors as well as general information.
Visit the NPS website before you visit to find lodging, dining, and activities near Mount Rainier and the greater Ashford area. They are a comprehensive resource to help you make your travel plans.
There are lots of different ways to get to the race, so we’ve listed some general directions for driving and flying.
There are two main options when flying: Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and Yakima Air Terminal (YKM). Both airports are a little over a two hour drive to Ashford itself.
Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA): This is the closest airport and the most convenient, but depending on traffic isn’t necessarily the shortest drive. Seattle is serviced by most major airlines (Delta, American, Southwest, Alaska, etc.).
Portland Airport (PDX): This is the next closest airport at only about 2h15m drive away from Ashford.
A third option would be to fly into Spokane, WA. Spokane International Airport (GEG) is serviced by most major airlines. While you might be able to find good flights, it is about 5h30m drive to Ashford.
From Seattle to Ashford:
Take I-5 S to Exit 127 off I-5 to SR 512 E
Take SR 512 E to SR 7
Head South on 7 to Elbe and SR 706
Take SR 706 E to Ashford
From Tacoma/Olympia to Ashford:
Take Exit 127 off I-5 to SR 512 E
Take SR 512 E to SR 7
Head South on 7 to Elbe and SR 706
Take SR 706 E to Ashford
From Portland to Ashford:
- Take I-5 North to US 12, Exit 68
- Take 12 E to Morton and SR 7
- Take SR 7 North to Elbe and SR 706
- Take SR 706 E to Ashford
Travel times do not account for traffic. You should expect lots of traffic on race morning, so please leave early!
Lodging in Ashford is very limited. You will find some more lodging options just outside of Ashford in Eatonville and Morton which are both about 25 minutes from Ashford. Options greatly increase as you get further from Ashford towards Tacoma. Tacoma is about a one hour drive to Ashford.
There are options inside the National Park (National Park Inn and Cougar Rock Campground are closer options). Be careful when selecting lodging, there are some great options for visiting the park (Paradise Inn and Ohanapecosh Campground!), but they are very far from the race.
Visit Travel Tacoma for a great resource on lodging and dining in Ashford and the surrounding Tacoma/Mount Rainier area. There are lots of camping options in the area as well!
Parking & Shuttles
More information coming soon!
There will be runner drop-off in the same area as parking near our start line.
Friday - Bib Pickup
Bib pickup will be held in Ashford, WA. This is the same location as the race start in the morning.
Saturday - Race Day
4:30 am – Start line parking lot opens
4:45 am – Last-minute bib pickup opens (at start line)
5:40 am – Start line parking lot closes
5:50 am – Runners line up & last call for gear check
5:55 am – National Anthem
6:00 am – RACE STARTS!
When you finish the race, you may grab a food box, a banana, and a chocolate milk. Feel free to hang out at the finish line, make friends, and cheer on other finishers for a while. Then we encourage you to go explore Mount Rainier National Park!
Staggered Start Schedule
Please check your wave color before arriving to ensure you understand when to arrive and begin your race!
We are discouraging spectators from congregating at the finish line for everyone's safety.
However, if you do choose to head to the finish line we ask that you do the following:
- Always wear you mask at all times!
- Please use our RaceJoy app to track your runner's progress. Only go to the finish line when they are close by.
Explorer Club (new!)
If you've run any of our National Park half marathons before, you may be familiar with our "club hikes" and "trifecta" programs. The "Explorer Club" series is our new iteration of this idea! We want you to have as broad or as deep of an experience of our National Parks and their surrounding areas as oissible. We have created a scavenger hunt made up of all kinds of adventures and experiences you can have at each National Park.
The challenge consists of activities that fit into 6 categories: History, Hiking, Explore, Food/Dining, Education, and Stewardship.
Each activity is worth points towards a Mount Rainier Explorer badge! They are worth a different number of points based on difficulty and you can choose which to tackle based on your interests. Whether you have an afternoon or a week in Mount Rainier, you should be able to plan an amazing itinerary with these suggestions!
Here's how to become a Mount Rainier Explorer:
- Install the free Spark Challenges app
- Sign-up using the same email address you used to register for the race
- Join the Explorer Club challenge and start completing activities
- Earn at least 1,500 points within 7-days of the race and you’ll earn a special in-app achievement with a coupon code to claim your free Mount Rainier Explorer badge
Other Things to Do
This popular 5.5mi. trail is challenging but well worth the effort. The loop boasts incredible mountain vistas and a waterfall. You can cut down on the challenge and still enjoy the park by hiking to Myrtle Falls and returning.
Nisqually Vista Trail
Not looking for a big trek? This trail on paved ground is a great way to see views from the base of the mountain during a short 1mi. hike that's great for families and stroller-friendly.
Race photos are available the Friday following the week of the race. We will send out an email when they're posted to the album as well as place the link below. This year we are offering race photos FREE to all our runners!
Award Ceremony Photos
Award ceremony photos are posted within a week of the race. You can find a link to the award ceremony photos below:
Share your experiences with us!
Be sure to use #RainHalf in any photos you post from the race or your adventures exploring the park so we can share in the fun with you!
Exclusive Mount Rainier Half Marathon merchandise is available in our online store.