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The BATH: The most accurate not-a-race half marathon in town

Holland Smith leads some 2017 BATHers around the turn at PCC Sylvania ... in the rain, of course.

Holland Smith leads some 2017 BATHers around a turn at PCC Sylvania … in the rain, of course. Photo by the amazing Jeremy Bauer.

There’s this guy that lives in North Portland whose idea of a good time is to run 52.5 laps around a track. Usually in the rain.

There’s a reason … he wants to run the most accurate half marathon he can. He’s run a few too many half marathons that weren’t the right distance, so he decided to organize one that was exactly 13.1 miles and there was no chance of a misplaced cone or misinformed volunteer steering runners off course.

Lucky for him, he’s got a group of friends to whom this also sounds fun. This guy is named Bill Aronson, and the half marathon is the Bill Aronson Track Half. Last year, they ran at Duniway Track, but it’s currently under construction, so this year’s BATH was at PCC Sylvania. Both of these tracks are true quarter-mile tracks, which is important; most tracks are metric and the calculations wouldn’t work out as cleanly. The BATH even has some amazing reviews on BibRave!

21 runners finished the 2017 BATH (the 4th annual, I might add), which started at 7:45a on Sunday, February 5. While the BATH is probably the most soundly-organized and accurate half marathon ever, this isn’t a formal race with bib numbers or timing. (Aronsen, did, however, line the turns with agility cones to prevent people from stepping on or over the inside line.)

At the BATH, runners must track their own laps, record their own time, and are on their own for pretty much everything they might need during the race. Some people use the BATH to run a track workout, see how fast they can run a shorter distance, or just to pace friends for a distance.

Despite the BATH not being an official race, Aronson did make arrangements for awards. The top three men and top three women were given beautiful awards made of rubber duckies in little bathtubs, complete with bubble wrap … for bubbles, you know.

Does this sound like your idea of a good time? If so, I have a feeling you’d get along great with Mr. Aronson. Even though I think running 52.5 laps around a track sounds horrible, I think it’s pretty cool that he puts this together every year. Maybe next year, he’ll see you there.

Jessica Murphy calls for

Jessica Murphy calls for “logic, reason and mercy,” says Peter Bromka, at the 2017 as she’s lapped by race organizer Bill Aronsen. Photo by Jeremy Bauer.

About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.

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