One runner’s quest to run an accurate half marathon: the BATH

Runners gather before the 2015 BATH.

Actually, it's full name is "BATH TIME," which stands for "Bill Aronson Track Half To Insure Mileage Exactness." It's a race; though not anything for which you pay money or receive a timing chip. It's 52.5 laps at Duniway Track, a true quarter-mile oval. (There is also be an option for runners to log 105 laps in the "Monotonous And Repetitive Activity To Harden Our Nuts" (MARATHON) event.) First run in 2014, the BATH was the result of runners with a little too much time on their hands having too much data from local half marathon courses. None of those courses, you could argue (and they did), was exactly 13.1 miles. And Bill Aronson, who speaks math better than I speak ... anything ... decided that what Portland needed was an extremely accurate half marathon.

While all paces and ages are welcome, the BATH seems to attract mainly speedy guys who happen to already know Aronson. However, this should not – I repeat, should not – deter anyone from attending. I happen to know Bill Aronson and can vouch that he is a stand-up guy. Last year’s finish times ranged from 1:16 to 1:33; all men. So there’s a good chance that if you participate you could win your age group; ladies, there’s a first-place title up for grabs! (Note: finish times are self-reported.)

As for the course, there are a lot of left turns. Just keep the cones to your left and you won’t get lost. There will be 52 aid stations, but you’ll need to stock it yourself with whatever you want on course. And you’ll need to keep track of your own laps – either using your watch or having a friend count your laps.

There are bathrooms at Duniway; there’s also a drinking fountain but I’m not sure if it will be turned on for the race. You’ll want to bring EVERYTHING you might need for a run of 13.1 miles (on a track) – hydration, nutrition, Body Glide, and post-run sweats. It’s basically a really intense track workout with out any recovery periods … just one long interval.

Learn more and contact Aronson to sign up through the event webpage here. Perhaps I’ll see you there – oh no, I’m not competing for the women’s trophy … I’m going to count laps for my husband, Starbucks in one hand and cowbell in the other. Even if you’re not up for a run, come check it out and cheer on Aronson and his crazy friends.

The vitals:

When: January 31, 2016

What time: The M.A.R.A.T.H.O.N (105 laps; 26.2 miles) starts at 6:30a (if anyone signs up) and the B.A.T.H. T.I.M.E. (52.5 laps; a half marathon) is at 7:30a.

Where: Duniway Track at the corner of SW Sheridan and SW Barbur

Register: No registration fee – just RSVP and show up. You can also “sign up” (jump in) day of race. There’s even a website with more info.

Note: Don’t park at the track’s tiny parking lot – you’ll get towed. Park across Barbur by turning east on SW Hooker and park along there. Use the pedestrian light to cross. Also, bring your gear in a waterproof bag to keep it dry while you run.

About Kelly Barten (1152 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.
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