The Coeur d’Alene Marathon is Back and Strong as Ever

The trusted Boston qualifier moves forward for a year to remember

By Abigail Thorpe

Photo Courtesy of The CDA Marathon and Negative Split

Coeur d’Alene Marathon veterans will be the first to attest to the fact there are few marathons that rival the beauty of this one. Incredible lake views, mountain scenery and a quaint hometown at the center of it all make the Coeur d’Alene Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k a memorable event that draws people to North Idaho every year, and 2021 promises to be another year to remember.


“It’s hard to overlook the beauty and resort destination of Coeur d’Alene. The scenery and lake view offered along the run make this a pretty special event for runners,” says Ryan Hite, the owner and CEO of Negative Split, the company behind the Coeur d’Alene Marathon.


Over the years the race has formed a community of runners, volunteers and supporters from all over North Idaho and the country—and even world—who are passionate about running, the Coeur d’Alene Marathon, and perpetuating an incredible event that delivers the best a race has to offer: stunning views, incredible support and a memorable route and stay.


It was voted Best Marathon in Idaho by runners on RaceRaves and is always a popular race destination for the 50 states marathon crowd, explains Hite. “Personally, I love hearing all the stories from the different runners. We have met some very wonderful people traveling to Coeur d’Alene from all over the country over the years. Aside from the great people, the whole atmosphere just makes for a great race.”


Those of us who live in the area might be accustomed to seeing the view over Lake Coeur d’Alene every day, but there’s something that can’t quite compare to running the route that fronts the lake, heading out from McEuen Park in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene.


Add a friendly and supportive local vibe, great swag and an incredible team of volunteers, supporters, sponsors and event managers, and you’ve got one incredible race. Not to mention, it’s a USATF-certified course, making it a Boston Marathon qualifier. The course is fairly flat and fast, providing plenty of opportunity to achieve a personal best, or even achieve that negative split—completing the second half of the race faster than the first.


Unlike last year’s event, this year will bring a bit more return to normalcy in that it will be held on one day, instead of over three days with only eight runners starting every five minutes, like last year. “I am happy that we were able to hold the event in 2020, but that was a long weekend for runners, staff and volunteers,” says Hite.


COVID precautions will still be observed this year, with social distancing in place and similar safe race strategies as those implemented last year, which allowed the Coeur d’Alene Marathon to be one of the few races to happen in the country in 2020.


“Coeur d’Alene Marathon is a trusted race during the pandemic, when other races around the region like Missoula Marathon and Bloomsday have canceled again in 2021,” explains Hite.


The marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k and kids challenge will take place on May 30 this year, with small start waves heading out on the course over the span of a single day. There will be swag, aid stations and finisher food, but the typical after party will have to wait yet another year.


Race coordinators have been working closely with Panhandle Health and City officials for the last year in order to be able to hold the race safely, and while they’re excited for a return of the marathon in 2021, public health and safety is still a central focus.


Runners and spectators are encouraged to stay current on race information and spectator rules by checking the website (RunSignUp.com/Race/ID/CoeurDAlene/nsplit) and social media channels, and spectators can follow runners by using the RaceJoy app to track location, reducing the number of people waiting near the finish line. “Spectators are encouraged to use the app and support their runners through app cheers and along the course rather than congregating at the finish,” adds Hite.


Volunteers are always needed for the event, and this year is no different despite changes. Check out the volunteer page on the website to be a part of the excitement, or reach out to volunteer@nsplit.com.


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