Run Oregon’s Favorite Races: 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 Marathons which are still running strong. (In alphabetical order by each blogger's last name:) Kelly Barten: I've only run two marathons, but I've volunteered at and covered numerous others. Even so, my favorite Oregon marathon is still my first one: the Newport Marathon. It's a non-profit race (proceeds got to Newport high school athletics), a Boston Qualifier, a beautiful course, and Mo's clam chowder at the finish line. Capped at 750 participants, it's a relatively small race that's been run by the same race organizer (Tom Swinford) for years, so the event runs smoothly. Held in late May or early June every year (the 2016 date is June 4), weather is usually good for this event - you might have a chilly fog at the start but it will burn off after a few hours. The course, peppered with volunteers who come back year after year, winds through historic Nye Beach and then out and back along Yaquina Bay, finishing with a nice downhill in town. Registration for the 2016 event is already open; register by March 1 for $90, by April 1 for $100, and $110 after that; but the race usually sells out early.

Brian Bernier: I have crossed a marathon finish line 4 times in my career, three within the last year and a half. All were memorable in their own way. The one I am looking forward to completing again, hopefully next year, is the Eugene Marathon. It is only fitting to do what many see as the ultimate race distance in the city known as Track Town USA. With an event date in early May, conditions would likely be ideal. Not too hot and not too cold, with a decent chance of sun. The location is picturesque, winding through residential neighborhoods and park trail with only one hill to speak of, at mile 8. The race support is phenomenal, and there is no chance of being stopped by a train! Crowd support is among the best of any race I have attended, although the last 6 miles are pretty quiet. Registration is live for this May 1st event, I would have signed up already, but it is too soon after Boston.

Jessica Mumme: I’ve participated in two marathons, and found that I am a bigger fan of the 50K distance on trail. That said, in 2015 I was selected as one of The San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors, and participated in the marathon distance. This was a challenging race with some might fine hills – but mostly due to the amount of foot traffic by participants. It was difficult to find my rhythm. Why am I saying this was my favorite marathon? Well, because I persevered and crossed the finish line giving myself a 1-hour PR over my previous marathon time. That was after 5 bathroom stops along the course and having to walk on The Golden Gate Bridge due to runners taking selfies anywhere they could. The San Francisco Marathon is like a big runner party. Expect lots of people, lots of fun, lots of excitement, and lots of … well, it is San Francisco… Lots of everything! This year (2016), I’m eager and excited to participate in the Eugene Marathon, Pacific Northwest Marathon, and Pacific Crest Marathon on my quest to become a Marathon Maniac.

Rachel Peters: Having only completed 2 marathons in my life, and both of them being the Portland Marathon, I am a little biased. However, even after both occasions, I can still strongly say that I love the Portland Marathon. I told myself after running it last year that I would never run another marathon again, but I could easily see myself signing up for it again in the future. The course itself winds through the lovely city of Portland with views of riverfront, historic Old Town and various residential neighborhoods. My favorite part of the race comes right around mile 17 where you cross the St. John’s Bridge, one of the prettiest suspension bridges, in my opinion. Another thing I love about the Portland Marathon is the live entertainment and music all throughout the course; rock, jazz and country bands, a brass fanfare, street performers, a mandolin orchestra, a jug band, two 18 piece big bands, a dixieland band, aerobic dancers and numerous high school cheerleading squads

Matt Rasmussen: There is a saying that you either run one marathon or a bunch. Count me in the group of the former, as my sole marathon has been the Foot Traffic Flat. And if it this event is going to be my only one (I still haven’t decided yet), then it definitely lived up the billing as being one that people should check out. The race lives up to it’s name as being flat and features some peaceful and serene scenery on Sauvie Island – really awesome for zoning out and letting the miles fly by. Parking and traffic getting on the island can be a challenge, but if you plan accordingly and get there way earlier than you normally would, you should mostly be fine. The race is never going to be a huge one, as they cap the race – keeping that small-town feel in place.  The support is solid and the post-race festivities (i.e. strawberry shortcake) are awesome. I would recommend this one for people venturing into this distance for the first time, or adding to your marathon list. It’s for everyone!

Teresa Wymetalek: I ran a big marathon last year with Boston and a small marathon with the Columbia Gorge Marathon, but I have to say my favorite marathon was in between the two. Not too big, but not too small, the Bend Marathon was the perfect size event for me, which is pretty impressive considering it was the inaugural year. With an out and back course, I loved seeing runners the whole time, there were plenty of aid stations and the views were gorgeous. The course takes in the natural beauty of the area  going through the Old Mill District and includes views of Broken Top, the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor. The shirt was a fun design and the finisher medal was also a bottle opener, complete with screws. The Bend Marathon organizers pay attention to details and I appreciate practical swag. A pretty course, creative giveaways and a climate with more predictable weather, I’ll definitely head to Central Oregon again for this perfect size marathon.

Joe Dudman: The marathon is definitely not my specialty. I’ve done 8, but in only two of them did I run the whole 26.2 miles without bonking and having to take late walking breaks. I’ve been lucky enough to run(/walk) Boston three times, but my favorite marathon is in our neighboring state of Idaho, The Pocatello Marathon, which I ran in September 2012 (and happens to be my PR). It’s just the right size at around 350 finishers in 2015, the course is a great point-to-point, starting in the rural hills and finishing in a nice city park, and it’s very well-organized. They bus you out to the start in the pre-dawn hours, and the race begins in the cool, peaceful darkness at 6:15a. The sun began to rise around 5 miles in, and it was one of the most serene racing experiences I’ve ever had. The first half of the race loses approximately 1500 feet of elevation on paved country roads, before leveling off for the second half and heading toward town through “The Gap”, a narrow part of the valley. One of my favorite things about this race is your race packet and shirt come in a souvenir duffel bag, some of the best swag around! This year’s Pocatello Marathon is scheduled for September 3rd.

About Matt Rasmussen (1554 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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