Best of Squak Half Marathon

Best of Squak Half Marathon

On October 24th, 2022 we received a message on our Instagram account from Christopher Gregory that read…

Hey there.

So we are putting on the 3rd annual ‘Best of Squak’ half marathon Dec 17th and wondered if you would consider donating anything for a prize? Mark Griffith showed me his Squak apparel and I really like it 😁” 

Mark Griffith is a long time family friend (and his Strava posts are one of the main reasons I keep harassing my husband to quit his job and move back to Issaquah) so we figured this would not only be a great opportunity to share our Squak fleeces, but would be a fun event with excellent company. We responded that although we would love to donate some prizes, we actually would really love to join the half marathon and run with the group as we were planning on being in Washington on December 17th. I LOVE the trails on Squak Mountain and love low-key, small running events. 

Well time went on and I ended up spraining my ankle in November so with an unsure timeline of recovery, we decided we would just play it by ear if we would actually run the “Best of Squak” half marathon. It actually wasn’t until about three days before the event that I was able to run for the first time and not experience any ankle pain.  

The day before the event, we were driving I-90 with our 14 month old son, my 8 and 5 year old nephew, my 3 year old niece, and my sister in law who was coming home for Christmas break from her freshman year in college. It's a long and  confusing story but bottom line, it was a packed mini van and a lot of noise! Maybe feeling overwhelmed by it all and just wanting to have a more peaceful Saturday with my husband’s family the next day, I decided we should just bag the half. We thought we could maybe be out around the halfway point or at the finish line to give out a Squak fleece to the top finishers. Anyways just as we decided to not run, I saw Christopher post this….

Great. We couldn’t not show up and not run the event. We frantically started discussing with my husband’s family to figure out what they wanted to do, if they could help watch our son, and how we could logistically make it work. Long story short, my father in law (Wright), who hasn’t seriously ran in over 3 years (although he hikes a lot) decided he wanted to run at least half of the half. Since the course route ended up going right past my in-laws' property, we came to the soft conclusion we would at least run to the halfway point, see how we are all feeling, and then, if anyone wanted to keep running they could, or we could just bail out. So at 8:30 am on December 17th, Hamilton, Wright, and I showed up at the Bullit Fireplace Trailhead ready to run. We were met by a bunch of young runners full of energy who all seemed to know each other. Christopher started with a warm welcome and few directions for the course. 


Then he gave a shout out to Squak Mountain Co.! It was a fun, local feel and I was excited to hit the trails, a little jealous we don’t get to be a part of the Run Determined trail running club more often! As we passed the “starting line” which was some sort of speed bump found on a road somewhere, Chris called out and said, “Talk to you at the finish!” Oh crap……I didn’t even know if we’d get to the finish! But we just started out with the hopes of figuring out what to do while on the trail. 


As mentioned, my father in law hasn’t run in quite a few years so we were going at a pretty slow pace. Ok I like to tease him and put the blame on him, but truthfully, I really appreciated the pace we were going. We were dead last and only crossed paths with one other runner when the trail did a short out and back but that was it. I was a little bummed we didn’t get more interaction with the community and runners or get a chance to talk about Squak Mountain Co. But I would not have traded that for the time with my husband, my father in law and the trails of Squak Mountain. 

We had a great time running the race together and enjoyed the opportunity to have some great conversation along the way. My husband and father in law have lived walking-distance from Squak Mountain for 20+ years and have hiked all over. Each time we visit, I am just in awe of the trails on Squak. This is a big reason why we named our company Squak Mountain Co. The ‘Best of Squak” half marathon included a few trails neither Hamilton or Wright had been on which added to the adventure. 

One of the highlights of the race for us was the pipe cleaner bracelets that we collected at each peak. It was a creative and fun way to mark our progress and gave us something to look forward to as we tackled each new section of the course. Christopher and his gang really did a fantastic job with the race!


Despite the foggy conditions, the scenery on the mountain was majestic and provided a beautiful backdrop for our run. The weather was a bit chilly, but we were all prepared with our fleece Squaks, which were perfect for the occasion. The hoodies were breathable and kept us warm, and the thumbholes and hoods were a great addition that helped to keep us comfortable in the cooler temperatures.


A little over halfway, we reached the junction that leads right to my in-laws ' property about 100 yards away. Hamilton decided he needed some fuel (we were very under prepared) so he ran home to grab some snacks. I anticipated that Wright would be done but surprisingly he said he wanted to keep going and was ready to conquer it all. I was very impressed, especially as he has not been running before this! Once Hamilton caught back up with us, Wright felt like he was holding us back so he decided to turn around and go home. But he did so great and I loved sharing the trail with him for 8 or so miles. Hamilton and I picked up the pace a little and finally finished with a total time of 3 hours and 54 minutes….wow that is a slow half marathon!! Poor Chris and his crew had to wait for us. 

The prizes were entertaining. I received the Teton Mountain Stomp  vinyl record and a golf tournament pendant. Hamilton got some golf cards and a book titled “The Secrets of the Thyroid.” So our scramble to show up for the 3rd Annual Best of Squak Half Marathon was so much better than anticipated. Our secret however is out….everyone now knows we are slow runners. Although I really did feel slightly embarrassed by our performance and wished we could have repped our company a little bit more, I learned some important lessons. 

  1. Community runs/races are so fun. They have a palpable energy and make you love trail running even more. You feel connected to something bigger than yourself. 
  2. Running slow or hiking is good. Don’t be ashamed of your pace. Family and people> fast times and more sales
  3. Squak Mountain Co. is a whole lot more than just selling fleece hoodies. It’s about staying healthy, discovering trails and places you love, finding joy in the beauty of the earth, spending time with loved ones, and supporting others. 

Thanks to Christopher Gregory and Run Determined for putting on a great event! Thanks for inviting us to be there and hope to see you again next year!

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