Runners are preparing for the 47th annual Birch Bay Marathon on Sunday, February 15.
The 26.2-mile race is a popular local qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
In the past, the race featured marathon and half-marathon courses, as well as a 25k run. This year, the race will only be a marathon, which organizers say will improve course safety and allow procedures to be developed for future half-marathons.
The race begins and ends in Birch Bay State Park. The route runs north on Birch Bay Drive to Harborview Road to Drayton Harbor Road, then west on Semiahmoo Drive, loops twice around Birch Point before heading back to the start. Most of the course is smooth and flat, with the exceptions of a short hill at Harborview Drive and a 100-meter climb up Semiahmoo Parkway. Much of the course runs along the water, providing excellent views of both Birch Bay and the islands. The roads remain open to traffic, so runners will have to exercise caution at some intersections.
Entrants must register for the event by Monday, February 10 by registering online at birchbaymarathon.com, or in person at Sandcastle Resort, 7854 Birch Bay Drive. The race expo will take place on February 10 at the Sandcastle, where runners can pick up their race packets. The race costs $75 for anyone who registers before February 10, and $100 to register in person at the expo.
The marathon starts at 9 a.m. An awards ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the start/finish line to honor the top five overall runners for both men and women.