August 21st, 2022

about the Iron Horse Half Marathon

Voted Best Half Marathon in Washington 2019

The Iron Horse Half Marathon is a point to point half marathon taking place in Washington state on the Palouse to Cascade Trail (part of Washington State Parks) and Snoqualmie Valley Trail (part of the King County Parks system).  Both trails are the remains of old railroad tracks, hence the ‘Iron Horse’ moniker.  The course is nearly all downhill at a steady, gentle grade, except for some very short flat sections.

Orca Running acknowledges that the Iron Horse Half Marathon takes place on the Indigenous Land of Coast Salish peoples who have reserved treaty rights to this land, specifically the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (sdukʷalbixʷ). We thank these caretakers of this land who have lived and continue to live here since time immemorial.

Environmentally Responsible Racing

Save a Tee Plant a Tree

Trees not Tees help events reduce their environmental impact with one simple strategy – offering participants the choice of turning down a free race tee and planting a tree instead.

Orca Running is partnering with Trees not Tees to help reduce the huge number of unwanted and unworn finisher’s tees produced each year and destined to become landfill.

After the event, participants who selected the option to have a tree planted receive a photo and GPS coordinates of their tree’s location.


Wondering about sizing for the shirts? Click here. 

registration prices

Half Marathon

October: $71

November-December: $76

January-March: $81

April-May: $86

June-July: $93

August: $99


Please note that all registrations are non-refundable. Be sure to review our race policies

Prices do not include processing fees. Online pre-registration closes the day before the race at 8:00pm.

If you’re planning on doing multiple Orca Running races in a year, consider using our Bundle and Save!

race info

The course

proudly serving Nuun on course

The course for the Iron Horse Half Marathon is pretty awesome.  It starts at Olallie State Park and finishes in North Bend at Meadowbrook Farm, and in between the two covers 13.1 miles of beautiful scenery, numerous railroad trestles, and a whole lot of gentle elevation loss.  Please see below for detailed course information, as well as a map of the course.  There is an elevation loss of approximately 880 feet.  The course starts at about 1300′ and finishes at about 400′ in North Bend. The entirety of the course is unpaved and consists of hard packed dirt. Regular road running shoes work great.

There a total of 5 aid stations along the course.  Since it is summertime, we strongly recommend that all runners bring extra water and/or an extra bottle with them, in the case of hot temperatures (which are not uncommon in August) to help prevent dehydration.  Aid stations are 2-3 miles apart.  

Pacers are being provided by Seattle Greenlake Running Group for the following finishing times: 1:30, 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:10 and 2:20.


Orca Running is committed to reducing waste and protecting the environment.  As part of this commitment, we are making all events cupless. The tiny little cups that are used for an instant generate tremendous amounts of garbage. We recommend you purchase a handheld bottle, a hydration pack, or we can provide you with a small re-useable cup that folds easily into your waistband to use during the entire race and future races.


Chartered school buses, aka shuttles, will run from the finish to the start line on race day morning.  We suggest you board a shuttle about 45 minutes before your wave start.

Shuttles will pick up participants at the parking lot of Meadowbrook Farm which is located at 1711 Boalch Ave NW, North Bend, WA 98045.


Awards will be given to the top 3 overall men and women.  We will also have age group awards in 10 year increments.  We DO NOT MAIL OUT AWARDS after the race, they must be picked up in person.



We strongly encourage participants to carpool whenever possible to the race, it’s good for the planet!

Participants need to park at Meadowbrook Farm which is located at 1711 Boalch Ave NW, North Bend, WA 98045.  This is the finish line of the race.


Start line parking is highly discouraged. It is very congested and you would need someone to drive you back to the start as shuttles will not be running post-race.


We recommend staying at Embassy Suites in Bellevue.

Embassy Suites is conveniently located in Bellevue and is a 25 minute drive to the race finish line.  To view a map of the hotel’s location, please click here.



We have a clear set of policies that we uniformly follow for all races. Entries are not refundable, but you can defer your entry, transfer it to another race, or transfer it to another participant. You can review our full set of policies here.

gear check

The race offers free gear check.  Gear check drop is at the start line.  It will likely be a bit chilly and potentially rainy (it is Washington, after all) at the start line, so the start line gear check bag is for runners’ warm clothes.  Please note, you must bring your own bag for gear check.  We do not provide gear check bags.  Gear check bags will be transported to the finish line and available for pickup after you finish.

Charity Partner

The Charity Partner for the Iron Horse Half Marathon is Trail Youth Coffee. and Issaquah Food Bank

 The Trail Youth is a non-profit organization seeking to build bridges between youth and the many resources available. The Trail Youth aims to help youth, ages 13-19, by promoting stable, nurturing relationships with mentors and promoting a safe environment for students through a youth coffee shop. We desire to see a strong, integrated community that values every child and contributes to their success.

The mission of the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank is to provide basic needs to our community members to promote self-sufficiency.


The beer garden is sponsored by Iron Horse Brewery.  Iron Horse donates all of the beer to the non-profit Discovery Lab who receives 100% of the money collected.  Each beer is $5 and you must be 21+ to enter the beer garden.

Packet Pickup

Packet Pickup will be held on Saturday August 20th from 10am to 4pm at Road Runner Sports Redmond, located at 12200 Northup Way, Bellevue WA 98005.

If you cannot make it on Saturday, you can also pick up your bib on race morning, starting at 6:00am.

race day schedule

The Iron Horse Half will start in waves! Pre-assigned waves of 150 participants or less will start every 10 minutes. Your wave start time is based off of your estimated finish time and the fastest runners will start first.

6:30-8:30am: Shuttles run to start line. LAST SHUTTLE LEAVES NORTH BEND AT 8:00AM.

7:15am: Walker wave (anyone with an est. finish time 3:30 or greater)

7:30am: first wave

7:40am: second wave

7:50am: third wave

8:30am: final wave

1:00pm: Course is completely closed


Q: How can I confirm that I am signed up?

The best thing to check first is to look in your email inbox for a confirmation email from RunSignUp for the race in question. You can also look up your registration in your RunSignUp account by logging into your account then go to your “Profile” page where you can view your current registrations under Upcoming Events.  Click HERE for more information on accessing a registration in RunSignUp.

Q: How can I confirm what shirt size I ordered?

A: Your t-shirt size that you selected appears on your confirmation email.  If you did not receive your confirmation email, try checking your spam folder.

Q: I cannot participate! What are my options?

A: Please check out our refund/transfer policy by clicking here.

Q: I cannot participate, but I would still like to pick up my swag. Can I pick it up?

A: Yes. You can send a friend or family member to packet pickup to get your race packet & swag.

Q: Are walkers welcome?

A: Absolutely yes!

Q: Are dogs welcome?

A: No, dogs are not allowed to participate in the Iron Horse Half. They are welcome at the start and finish line areas, however.

Q: Are strollers welcome?

A: Strollers are allowed. However, keep in mind that you have to ride a shuttle to the start line.  The parent/guardian who is going to push the stroller should, when registering for the race, indicate as such and agree to abide by our stroller policy, which you can see below:

  • I assume responsibility for all risks to the minor participant named below resulting from participation in the Event.
  • I certify that the minor participant named below is in proper physical condition to participate in the Event and does not have a condition which would impair the minor participant’s ability to safely participate in the Event.
  • If any claim for personal injury, property damage, and/or wrongful death is commenced on behalf of the minor participant named below against the Releasees, I shall defend, indemnify, and save harmless the Releasees from any and all actions, causes of action, suits, damages, judgments, claims, and demands.
  • Minor will wear a CPSC certified helmet at all times while participating in the Event.
Q: What time does the course close?

A: The course closes at 1:00pm. 

Q: Will there be porta-potties at the start/finish? What about out on the course?

A: There will be porta-potties available at the start line and finish line area. There will be porta-potties out on the course at several areas. 

Q: When does online registration close?

A: Online registration closes two days before the race at 11:59pm.

Q: What/who does this race benefit?

A: The Iron Horse Half supports Trail Youth and the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

Q: Can someone else pick up my packet?

A: Packets will most likely be mailed out in 2021.

Q: Can I sign up in person at packet pickup or on race day?

A: TBD for 2022

Q: Is there gear check?

A: The race offers free gear check.  Gear check drop is at the start line.  It will likely be a bit chilly and potentially rainy (it is Washington, after all) at the start line, so the start line gear check bag is for runners’ warm clothes.  Please note, you must bring your own bag for gear check.  We do not provide gear check bags.  Gear check bags will be transported to the finish line and available for pickup after you finish.

What is the course surface like? Unpaved?

With the exception of a few road crossings, 100% of the course is unpaved and consists of hard-packed dirt/gravel. The surface is smooth and you do not need trail running shoes.


get updates about the Iron Horse Half