Sunflower Trail Marathon – Preview

The Sunflower Trail Marathon takes place this coming Saturday (05/10/2014) in the Methow Valley in Washington State. Although the course has a net elevation loss of -475 feet, there’s still 1750 feet uphill, it is entirely on trails and it is technically up in the mountains, so it’s just like walk in the park – if you’re park looked like this.

The Methow Valley is a hidden gem of an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. In the winter it’s collection of groomed nordic ski runs is a network of a staggering 120 miles of trails. After the snow melts, the trails turn over to mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. It’s location just to the east of Rainy and Cutthroat Pass means the skies are almost always blue, the rains find solace in the mountains and the valley is flooded with warmth and sunshine from both the locals and mother nature. The Sunflower Trail Marathon takes place just after the snow melts as the weather and landscape is transitioning through spring.

My goals for this race:
1. Make it to the Start Line.
2. Even(ish) splits.
3. Make it to the Finish Line.
4. Embrace. Breathe. Smile. Look around. Experience. Remember.

  • Start line: Assuming I make it over the North Cascade pass (scheduled to be open on Thursday) and wake up on time on Saturday, this should not be an issue.
  • Pacing strategy: Running the first portion of the race with family should help to keep my pacing and heart rate fairly reasonable. Finishing time is not going to be number one priority for me at this event.
  • Finish line?: Now this is my number one priority for this event. After the last race, I’m not looking to add to my DNF trophy case, so this hopefully will get me back on track.
  • Race priorities: These could also just as easily be substituted as my first priorities – embrace the moment, breathe the fresh mountain air, smile at everyone and everything, look around at all the wildflowers and wildlife, experience and try to remember the entire day.

Without further interruption, the Sunflower Trail Marathon hosted by the Methow Valley Sports Trail Association (MVSTA).

Race Entrants:
With 500+ runners between solo runners and relay teams, this is the largest event in the Methow Valley.

Elevation Profile (From Race website):
2014 Sunflower Trail Marathon Elevation Profile

Video Preview (by Winthrop Mountain Sports):


Race Description (from Race website):
“Come celebrate the 34th annual running of the Sunflower Relay and Trail Marathon!  This is an incredible opportunity to run through some of the most spectacular fields of wildflowers in the Methow Valley. The trail run is marathon length, 26.2 miles running from the town of Mazama to Twisp on beautiful trails through carpeted meadows of sunflowers.  Run either as an individual or form a team of 2-5 members.

This unique course begins at 1900 feet elevation in Mazama and includes deer trails, cow paths, bike routes and paved roads. Stunning views of the Methow River, North Cascades and Chelan Sawtooths abound from flower carpeted meadows and fields. At two points racers climb to 2600 feet and drop quickly to the finish at about 1600 feet in Twisp. This course traverses private property that owners generously allow use for this one day only. Please do not pre-run the course prior to or after the event. Because of the presence of livestock, dogs are not allowed to accompany their humans during the race.”

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