Sunday, February 14, 2016 • Birch Bay, WA • Course Map
Marked by stunning views of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains as well as the waters of Birch Bay and the nearby Canadian Gulf islands, Washington’s Birch Bay also is home to a marathon that celebrates its 48th annual running this winter.
Added for the first time in 2011, the Birch Bay Half Marathon follows much of the same route as the full, 26.2-mile marathon.
Both races follow an out-and-back route that starts and finishes in Birch Bay State Park, a small 194-acre park that lies along the southern shore of the bay and looks out onto both the saltwater of the bay as well as the freshwater running through Terrell Creek, which cuts through the park.
From there, runners follow the route northward all along the shoreline, running north along Birch Bay Drive as it curves around with the shore up to the first turn, where runners turn right onto Harborview Road.
There, runners head north for the next mile or so along Harborview until they reach Drayton Harbor Road, where they turn left and head toward the water, up to the intersection with Shintaffer Road, where they turn left and head south.
There’s a brief turn off Shintaffer for an out-and-back stretch to an aid station (along Semiahmoo Parkway), and here they experience the only significant hill of the race, which they climb and then descend again during the out-and-back.
Next, runners head back onto Shintaffer and then back toward the Bay, where they turn left onto Birch Bay Drive and then follow the shoreline in the opposite direction, back down to the race finish line in Birch Bay State Park once again.
Along the race route, runners will get to see gorgeous views of Birch, Drayton and Semiahmoo Bays, and the stretches for most of these miles will be all flat. There’s also the Peace Arch in nearby Blaine, which runners will see during the stretch near the small border city.
Race Weather & Climate
Located in the northeastern corner of Washington State, just miles from the Canadian border and roughly 110 miles north of Seattle, Birch Bay weather is much like that of neighboring Blaine, which usually sees moderately cool to cold weather in the late winter.
In February, temperatures average between 32°F and 48°F — on the day of the race (Feb. 14), the average low is 32°F and the average high is 47°F — while precipitation amounts average just over 4.2 inches for the month.
See race website
To reserve your spot in the 2016 running of the Birch Bay Marathon, Half Marathon or 10K race, register online at the event website here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Birch Bay Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.