Race Preview: 2016 Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon Celebrates Fall on October 23rd

Anyone interested in a pretty marathon needs to look into the Columbia Gorge Marathon on October 23rd. The Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon often gets overlooked since it ‘competes’ with the Portland Marathon, both of them being fall events. Plus, it’s a bit of a drive to the Gorge and the course is far from flat, but this marathon is breathtaking. The views are absolutely amazing and it is, by far, one of the most scenic runs I’ve done. The course begins at the Mark O. Hatfield Trail and runs along the Historic Columbia River Highway, which is celebrating its 100th birthday. You run past wineries, through fruit country, along the river, on top of bluffs, taking full advantage of everything the Columbia River Gorge has to offer. 

With vibrant colors the entire course, runners make their way from the Mark O. Hatfield Trailhead to the quaint town of Mosier, up to the Rowena Viewpoint and finish along the banks of the Columbia River. The marathon starts at 9AM. They do offer an early start time at 8AM, for anyone needing a little extra cushion. It costs $110 and there is a relay option- you can run it with another friend for the same price. A team of two costs $110. The half marathon begins at 9:30AM and costs $95. There is also a relay option with the half marathon for anyone interested in running it with a friend. If you want to run the half marathon with your favorite four-legged friend, that’s an option too. Dogs are invited to register for the Ruffwear Dog Leg and run alongside their human.

Because there is no parking at the start of the full marathon, you need to plan to arrive early and take the shuttle to the start. The shuttles start running at 7AM and will continue every 10 minutes until 8:40AM. All participants will be given a commemorative bag made from recycled materials and runners can use it to store non-valuable items. They will transport the bags to the finish line while you run, so you can relax and focus on your run. There will be plenty of aid stations along the course, with water, Gatorade, Gu, gummy bears, Hammer Gel and fruit.

Registration includes a lunch at the finish line with a taco bar, hot soup, rolls, fruit and more local favorites. There will be beer for those over 21 and cider for all ages. Family and friends are invited to celebrate at the post-race party. They can purchase a lunch ticket for $7 and beer will also be available for purchase, as well. Almost as amazing as the course itself are the medals at this event. Local artist Mike Scrivens provides custom made ceramic medals for each finisher. Runners will also receive a commemorative tech beanie in their swag bag.

Packet pick up begins at 6:30AM from the finish line tent and there will be Columbia Gorge Marathon apparel available for purchase. There is no day-of registration. You can print off and mail in a registration form the old fashioned way before October 15th or register online. The gorgeous colors along this run alone make it worth the drive to the Gorge. Make a day of it and explore a little of what the Columbia River Gorge has to offer. The fall foliage, waterfalls, historic tunnel and breathtaking views of the Columbia River make this a bucket list marathon. If you like a challenging course with non-stop views, check out the Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon. It’s a little more of a drive than the Portland Marathon with a lot more hills, but so worth it.

Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon

Sunday, October 23rd

Hood River Event Site- Portway Avenue, Hood River

Marathon ($110) 9AM

Half Marathon ($95) 9:30AM

Dog Leg Half Marathon ($110) 9:30AM 

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