Eugene Marathon spectator guide: best places to cheer for your runner(s)


Runners at the 2008 Eugene Marathon on the north side of the Willamette River on the riverbank path system, which is a great place to watch for your runner and snap a few pics. Photo by Kelly Barten.

Race weekend is drawing near … and if you’re lucky, you’ve got a support crew heading to Eugene with you to cheer you on and help you walk back to your hotel. But 13.1 or 26.2 miles are both a long way, especially if your buddies aren’t runners or aren’t familiar with Eugene.

Where runners want support most at the Eugene Marathon

A while ago, we asked on the RunOregon facebook page, “Hey Eugene Marathon runners – Which section [of the course] do you need a little extra mojo?” Here’s what some of our readers said:

At the start of the race, after the running through the residential area south of campus and passing mile 2, you join up with the Amazon Parkway area. This part is hard because part of you wants to run faster, it’s nice and flat, and the field starts to space out to actually give you room to run. Colleen Wedin, who “loves sleeping in her own bed the night before” calls these 4-5 miles “boring,” but admits it’s probably just her that feels this way. This is, however, a great place for spectators because it’s so easy to get to and offers two chances to see your superstar!

The hill around mile 8 on E. 19th Street is “a bear,” says Tina Saxe. Even though she trains on that hill, she says that’s a great spot for more cheering.

Debra Mason says that the “Springfield Loop” is where she thinks runners will need the support, and runners Jennifer Adriance, Heather Daniel, Scott Glazer and Ethan Kurtz concur. This starts in earnest after you leave the path near mile 12 and over Pioneer Parkway to 10th Street, and really continues until you cross back under the I-5 and into Eugene. This is a harder section for spectators to get to, because of the closure of Franklin at Agate; but there’s still a way (see Spectator Driving Tips post coming soon).

Christy Westover adds that “mojo is always appreciated anywhere after mile 20,” and Charolyn Scherler agrees … “From 21 on needs help!” Occasional Run Oregon community blogger Jeff McKay suggests that spectators head out a little earlier, between miles 18 and 22. He says they “can be tough because not much of a crowd to cheer you on in that area, even though it is nice to run along the river.”

Some of the areas where runners don’t necessarily need you, but will of course appreciate seeing you and hearing your cheers, are also fun for you as a spectator. There’s live music and what Glazer calls a “scream tunnel” at mile 9 (where you cross back through campus on Agate heading towards the river), and McKay says that his absolute favorite part is when you enter the stadium at Hayward Field (and not even just because it’s the finish).

Alton Baker Park and the paths south of Autzen Stadium are also fun for spectators – just be aware of runners cruising through. This is around miles 16 and 17, and has lots of shade plus great photo opportunities!

Have a great weekend cheering on the Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon runners!

About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.

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