This weekend’s Portland Marathon Clinic run will offer 16 and 20 mile routes from the Road Runner Sports in Tualatin. As usual, the run will start at 8a, so you should be there by 7:45a so you have time to find your pace group and use the bathroom. There are not many bathrooms there so if you are able to take care of business before you arrive, you should. There are restrooms at Atfalati Park that you can use, which is about 2.25 miles into the run. There are also restrooms at Ibach Park, at mile 5, and at Jurgens Park, which is just past the turnaround for the 16-mile route. Note that if you need to use one of these restrooms, you can let your pace group leader know. You may have to pace ahead or catch up to your pace group if there is a line, so knowing where they are on the route is helpful.
Speaking of the route, check it out here so you have familiarity with where you are going. The run starts out on SW Nyberg heading west, curing up to Borland by Bridgeport Elementary and then past Legacy Meridian (mile 2). From there, you’ll cross the I-5 on SW Sagert and then weave through neighborhoods, passing near Tualatin High School (just past mile 4.5) and through Ibach Park. Then it’s north on Teton, crossing Tualatin-Sherwood Road (around mile 6.75), to Jurgens Park and then a little scoop around the Hazelbrook neighborhood, reaching Highway 99 at 9 miles.
Two aid stations will be placed on course at miles 4 and 8, so 20-mile runners will pass both twice while 16-milers will be turning around at the 8-mile aid station.
Let’s also talk about the weather, since it’s surface-of-the-sun-hot for most Oregon runners. The high on Saturday is forecast for 93 degrees, and on Friday it will top out at 98 degrees. The low on Friday is 62 degrees, so it’s likely that the start of the run on Saturday will be close to 70 degrees already. Be prepared and wear UV-protective clothing that also lets you stay cool. Sometimes a tank top isn’t going to be the coolest option; and you have to also worry about sunburn. A neck wrap/buff and hat with a neck shade will help you stay cool and are hands-free options. You should also bring a water bottle – handheld or belt – because you’ll need more water than every 4 miles at this run.
Last but not least, if you struggle in the heat, you can always run some of your miles before the group run starts. Here’s one suggestion for a four-mile route that will get you finished earlier that uses the new(ish) Discovery Trail, which can be accessed by going around behind Best Buy. You just run along the path to the Tualatin Library, hop onto Boones Ferry Road, and then run through Tualatin Community Park on the path to the railroad trestle. From there, turn left and head towards Cook Park until you get the hard right curve away from the river (or when your running app hits 2 miles) and trace your footprints back to the store. If your schedule calls for 20 miles this will let you stay with the 16-milers during the main run, but if you are only doing 16 to start you will need to pay attention and turn around at 6 miles, which is on SW 105th Ave at SW Industrial Way.