“After going around in circles about various course lengths, we finally decided to match the rest of the world and designate 26.2 miles as the norm for our marathons here in Portland and Southwest Washington too,” explained Sal O’Firpol, Race Director of the popular Clark County USA Marathon, and owner of Vitality Events.
“We think this move will please our runners”, added Mor Jones, Race Director of one of downtown Portland’s biggest races. “At first, they may miss the excitement and surprise of a new distance each race, but we really believe they will come to appreciate the standardization of the distance and the ability to compare their times from year to year and from race to race. As a bonus, personal records and qualifying times for other big national races will be easier to track as well.”
Reaction to the news from area runners was mixed. “A large part of the fun of local marathons was not knowing the exact distance or course as you toed the start line,” said Flip Solaro, who owns local “marathon” PRs of everywhere from 2:35 to 3:12. “Where’s the fun in knowing in advance how far you’ll be running?!”On the other hand, Lila Proofs, a Marathon Maniac who runs marathons all over the country, says she welcomes the change. “‘Keep Portland Weird’ is a cute slogan, but when it comes to races called ‘marathons’ it will nice to run the same distance as everyone else right here in our hometown!”