Ten Years Running: A Run Oregon preview of the 2016 Eugene Marathon (& Half Marathon)

Back in 2006, I was a junior in college and looking forward to a new baseball season. Pluto was demoted as a planet, Amy Winhouse’s “Rehab” won a Grammy, Joaquin Phoenix’ portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk the Line mesmerized audiences everywhere, and Katie Couric became the anchor of CBS Evening News. And in 2006, the Eugene Marathon was just coming into existence for the first time.

It is now 2016.  Amy Winehouse has passed, Katie Couric is now with ABC, and nobody still really knows if Pluto is a planet or not (it’s not). But people still know that Eugene Marathon is still going strong and is now 10 Years Running.

The Eugene Marathon has had to endure some changes and rebuild some relationships following a 2014 move from their standard April/May calendar to coincide with world junior track and field championships. The response was less than stellar from some loyal participants and they returned to their original timeframe last year. Now, once again listed as one of the top marathons in the entire country (by the likes of Runner’s World), the Eugene Marathon is continuing that upward momentum into the next decade of running in Tracktown USA.

I have run the half marathon once before and we have a wide array of information about the race on our website. We also had some Run Oregon bloggers out at the marathon and 5k last year, with both responding with positives (and one coming home with a BQ time). In fact, the course is super conducive to Boston-Qualifying (one of the top 15 most likely to qualify races via Marathon Guide) and running fast.

The courses remain relatively unchanged over the past few years. Full and half runners start at the corner of 17th and Agate, which turns into a humming, energy-filled mass leading up to race time. There are a lot of port-a-potties around, but I suggest relieving yourself well in advance to avoid lines. Runners head south out of the downtown area through city streets for the first couple miles. It can be a challenge to keep up a consistent pace or pass people over the first few miles, so plan accordingly. Once runners hit Amazon Park, things thin out significantly and the long straightaway semi-out-and-back from miles 2-7 goes by pretty quickly. I remember in 2013 that there were so many locals out with homemade signs and cheering people on. It was a pretty cool experience.

Save some energy for the mini-climb near mile 8, but it’s all smooth sailing from then on (check out the elevation profile here). Runners will pass back by the start line and Hayward Field before heading into Alton Baker Park. The full/half will split at mile 10, with 13.1ers looping through the park and back to Hayward. 26.2ers will head east into Springfield for a bit before returning to Alton Baker near Autzen Stadium. The final 10 miles are a fun out-and-back along the paved trails bordering the Willamette River. Basically, full marathoners get to experience some of the best and most popular running routes in Eugene – all combined into one race!

The final stretch is pretty dang amazing, with a track finish on Hayward Field and pancake refueling. Your finish will be livestreamed (link forthcoming) so make sure to flash those pearly whites before stuffing your face. Utilize the color coding system and meet your friends and family by the colored balloon towers afterwards.

Race weekend also adds the Run TT 5k and Kids 1k Duck Dash to the mix. Both of these races will take place on April 30, 2016, so if you plan on spending your time in Eugene for the weekend, an easy 3 miles the day before may be a good way to get your legs ready and juices flowing. 2016 also marks the first year of the Health & Fitness Expo being held on the soccer fields adjacent to Hayward Field. Local music, beverages, and food will join alongside numerous exhibitors. We hope to gather more information about the expo and some pre-race activities, such as a pre-race dinner.

Registration fees for the 2016 Eugene Marathon increase on 3/15/16. So if you haven’t registered yet, now is a GREAT time to do so. Packet pick-up is April 29 & 30, and will cost you $15 for Race Day – so plan ahead. I would also recommend planning ahead and checking out the shuttle schedules, as parking nearby may be at a premium. Make your reservations and register today!

Eugene Marathon Sizzle V1.0-720HD Review Sized from Eugene Marathon on Vimeo.

Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon (5k and Kids 1k Duck Dash)
When: Sunday, May 1st, 2016 at 7a
Where: Start at Corner of 17th & Agate; Finish at Hayward Field Track
Register: Online here or mail-in;
  • $105 until 3/15/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $115 until 4/22/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $140 at Health & Fitness Expo


  • $85 until 3/15/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $95 until 4/22/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $120 at Health & Fitness Expo


  • $25 until 3/15/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $30 until 4/22/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $40 at Health & Fitness Expo


  • $15 until 3/15/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $20 until 4/22/2016; 11:59 p.m.
  • $20 at Health & Fitness Expo
About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, 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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