Run Oregon’s Favorite Races: Half Marathon

Run_Oregon_LogoThere are a LOT of races out there. And we tend to like most of them. We also tend to participate in more of them than an average runner, just because there are 16 of us and one of you. So here is a compilation of Run Oregon's favorite Half Marathons which are still running strong. (In alphabetical order by each blogger's last name:) Kelly Barten: You don't have to run a race to know it's awesome. I volunteered at the Bridge of the Goddess Half Marathon last fall and it climbed to the top of my list for the ladies - the energy is amazing, the support will keep you moving strong, and the swag is spectacular. Run With Paula's team does a great job, and this race offers great views of the Columbia River Gorge. The 2016 race is on Saturday, September 17. But, since Bridge of the Goddess is mainly a race for women, I want to also give you a heads-up on the EWEB Run to Stay Warm, which runs in Eugene and raises funds for local families that need help with winter heating bills. It's only $50 and will take place on Saturday, November 20, 2016.

Joe Dudman: Even though I’m temporarily retired from races longer than 10k, that doesn’t mean I don’t have fond memories of several half marathons. I will mention two favorites, events I like for very different reasons. For a fast course, great volunteers, a friendly, supportive atmosphere, and an affordable entry fee, you can’t go wrong with the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon. A fixture of the January race calendar, Vancouver Lake will always hold a spot in my heart as my PR half marathon (2006). But my favorite half marathon of all is the Goat Mountain Gallop through the rolling hills and along the scenic back roads between Colton and Molalla. A low-key but well-organized race, the Gallop has some formidable hills, but they lead to some spectacular views of the Willamette Valley. Add in some quiet woods and a stretch alongside the Molalla River, and you end up with one of my favorite courses of any distance.

Geli Heidelberger: The half marathon is not my favorite race distance; it’s a challenge distance that I have to train up for in order to finish middle of the pack. I have run a total of seven half marathons since 2009. My favorite of all of them was hands down the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon. This race takes place at the end of October. Its out-and-back course starts and ends in Hood River OR, runs through the town for the first mile, then up some steep switchback roads to the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway, which is closed to vehicle traffic. The next four miles to the turnaround at the half-way point are some of the most scenic miles I’ve ever run. That time of year the fall foliage is in full color, and in many spots the highway overlooks the majestic Columbia River. This race is most definitely worth the drive.

Jessica Mumme: The half marathon! What a distance. As Geli says, it is not one of my favorites either – I prefer either short (like a 10K), or really long (like a marathon or 50K). The half is just smack-dab in the middle. I do have a favorite half marathon, though, that I will do every year because it is just SO INCREDIBLE! It is the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon, which occurs in October in Lebanon, Oregon. The race has aid stations about every 2 miles, is friendly for all race paces from super fast, to mid-pack, to walkers. Post race refreshments are out-of-this world (they don’t run out!) and the medal with technical event shirt is stellar. Volunteers at the aid stations are SO energetic and happy. It’s an impeccable race — having participated 4 years in this event, it always proves itself as my favorite half marathon year after year.

Matt Rasmussen: When people think beautiful half marathons in Oregon, often the first one on their lips is the Silver Falls Half Marathon, held each November in the hills of Silverton. It definitely lives up to its reputation, and is probably one that should be on everyone’s running bucket list. It’s also a VERY hard race to get into, as the half marathon sells out in mere minutes. There is no lottery in place, so it’s a first-come, first-registered situation that has people refreshing their computer screens on registration day (recommendation: volunteers at the race can receive guaranteed entry to the subsequent year’s event). The race has received additional press since they started a few years ago, and as a result have added different distances (50k, marathon, and 7-miler) and spread the event to a full weekend to accommodate the desire. However, races are still capped (a mandate due to the fact that it is held within a State Park and is NOT closed to the hiking public), and the race maintains it’s straight-forward and local feel. Mark your calendars for August 1st each year to get registered!

Annette Vaughan: The Pacific Crest Half Marathon in Sunriver was my first half marathon and has been my favorite for years. The course runs around Sunriver with a variety of scenery from running through the various houses, to the forest, out in the fields where the horses graze, along the river, and by the golf course. There is always something new to look at. The atmosphere in Sunriver that weekend is amazing. As the half marathon is just one of many events at the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival, you can see athletes running in to the finish line in the Village at Sunriver all weekend long. The Village is also filled with many vendors just steps from the finish line. This event is held the last weekend in June and is a must run event.

Teresa Wymetalek: People get tired of hearing about my favorite half marathon. I tend to talk a lot about things I’m excited about and the Hero-Up Half Marathon falls into that category. I love the distance, it’s not too time consuming, but long enough to make it worthwhile to get sweaty. The Hero-Up Half Marathon is my favorite because ALL of the proceeds go to fighting childhood cancer. Usually held in early September, the weather is pretty much perfect. The course is familiar through Cook Park and the Tigard area and mostly flat.  It’s very well marked and plenty of support along the way. To top it off, the superhero theme makes you feel like a kid again. I love dressing up and seeing all the costumes along the course. Between the costumes and the superhero quotes along the way, the 13.1 miles fly by. This one makes you feel good, like you are part of something bigger than just another run.


About Matt Rasmussen (1599 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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