Kick off race season with this local half marathon on March 3, 2018

If you’ve worked hard all winter to stay in running shape, and you’re looking to start your season of road races, look no farther than the Palouse. Every first weekend in March the Palouse Road Runners host the Snake River Half Marathon just outside of Pullman, WA.

The race is run with big-race perks at an economic price: for just $40 in registration fees, you’ll have access to free finisher photos, large aid stations, personalized race bibs, great race shirts, custom finisher medals (last year they doubled as bottle openers), and post-race snacks. Despite the cool start-of-season weather, the Palouse Road Runners and local volunteers bring outstanding energy to the start line.

Runners are set to start the 2017 Snake River Canyon Half Marathon (Photo by Cecil Williams)

Runners are set to start the 2017 Snake River Canyon Half Marathon (Photo by Cecil Williams)

The course is a flat out-and-back along the scenic Snake River. It’s paved and USATF certified, running on the Wawawai River Road at an elevation of about 720 feet. This makes for great PR conditions, or opportunity for a graceful time if you’re just brushing off the winter cobwebs from your running shoes.

“We pride ourselves in putting on a quality race at an economical price,” says race director Lance Gallagher. “Because of the size of the race, we have pulled in more help from local volunteer organizations. [They] help with everything from parking to handing out finisher medals.”

Runners settle into their pace as they round the first bend during the Snake River Canyon Half Marathon (Photo: Cecil Williams)

Runners settle into their pace as they round the first bend during the Snake River Canyon Half Marathon (Photo: Cecil Williams)

The race supports local organizations, as well as middle and high school track and cross-country programs throughout the area. Over the years, the Snake River Half has been able to add big-race features like personalized bibs and chip timing.

“Because of all these things, runners return year after year,” says Gallagher.

The race is capped at 800 runners, so the road will be competitive, but uncrowded. There are currently around 200 spots still available, and the registration deadline is February 10.

Since the race takes place down in the Snake River Canyon, you can bank on temperatures about 10-degrees warmer than temperatures on the Palouse. Finish line temperatures are typically close to 50-degrees. Find more race info here, and register here.

Runners cross the picturesque starting line of the 2016 Snake River Canyon Half Marathon (Photo by Dave Wilder)

Runners cross the picturesque starting line of the 2016 Snake River Canyon Half Marathon (Photo by Dave Wilder)

Lisa Laughlin is a contributor and digital editor for Out There Outdoors.