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Idaho > Priest Lake Run Skinny Half Marathon & Fun Run
Coolin, ID  •  Sunday, May 27, 2012  •  Course Map

Set for its 34th annual running here along the shoreline of Priest Lake in northern Idaho, which is nestled in a valley among the Selkirk Mountains less than an hour from the U.S.-Canada border, the Priest Lake Run Skinny Half Marathon & 3.4-Mile Fun Run is part of a weekend of festivities here in this small Idaho town on Memorial Day weekend, which also feature a parade, craft fair with about 50 vendors, food sales, quilt display and other family-friendly events.

The race is unique in that the weather may play a factor in how long the half marathon is -- if the weather is sunny and fair, organizers stick to the planned 12-mile route along the shoreline of Priest Lake -- the "Skinny Half Marathon." If the weather has been rainy and the water is too high at the point at which runners make a bridge crossing along the course, the race will be re-routed on a longer course that will stretch to 14 miles (and which will be called the "Pudgy Half Marathon.")

Runners start and finish the out-and-back course for the race at 9:15 AM at Coolin Park, which lies just off Cavanaugh Bay Road east of town. All around will be views of the tree-covered mountains that surround the lake that gives the town its name, which stretches some 19 miles from its northern to its southern end and is a popular summertime destination for swimming, boating and fishing. While runners in the half marathon will start their race at 9:15 AM, those running the 3.4-mile fun run will start at 9:30 AM.

The course begins at the town park on paved streets, wends its way through a small residential area, down past the famous Leonard Paul General Store with a fabulous view of the marina and beautiful Priest Lake. The first two miles of the race is run on pavement and beyond the marina the course follows dirt roads with a long but gradual incline and a similar descent. Runners cross a footbridge and travel further on dirt roads with periodic views of the lake and forests.

At the far end of the course it loops through a forested area then retraces the route back to the finish line. About six miles of the course is run on pavement. Should it be necessary to reroute runners because of high water, the runners will encounter one steep but short hill in a forested area. The course is scenic but not designed to accommodate wheelchairs. Most of last year's runners use words like "beautiful," "wow" or "great" to describe the course.

Priest Lake is located in northern Idaho and the weather is unpredictable. It could be warm and sunny, hot and sunny, cold and rainy and snow is even a possibility. Dress appropriately and be prepared for any/all of the above. There are no changing rooms available so runners should arrive at the start line in their running attire.

- Race description provided by Lon Southard, Director, Priest Lake Spring Festival

Race Weather & Climate

Nestled among the Selkirk Mountains in the northern Idaho panhandle, just 30 miles from the Canadian border and roughly 80 miles north of Coeur d'Alene, Coolin typically sees May temperatures that average between 67°F and 38°F, while rainfall totals average just over 2.6 inches for the month. On the day of the race (May 27), the average high is 70°F and the average low is 41°F.

Course Map

View the race route map for the Priest Lake Run Skinny Half Marathon


$20 for the half marathon, if registration form is postmarked by May 18, 2012
$30 after May 18
$30 for in-person registrations on the day before & day of the race

(We also have a family rate for four or more family members -- $80 per family if postmarked before May 18, and $110 if postmarked after May 18. We use the honor system for family member registration.)


To reserve your spot in the Memorial Day weekend 2012 running of Coolin's Priest Lake Run Skinny Half Marathon or 3.4-Mile Fun Run, visit the event website to download the event registration form.

Official Race Website


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