Race Recap: 2019 Eugene Marathon

This spring I set a goal to PR at the Eugene Marathon, but when an injury derailed my plans to run, I didn’t want to miss this event entirely. Fortunately, this race is as fun to watch as it (presumably) is to run, and I absolutely loved being a spectator in TrackTown USA.

The Eugene Marathon gets a lot of well-deserved credit for positive crowd support, and I saw first-hand this comes from planning a route that makes cheering so accessible. Before I even arrived in Eugene, I had all the information I needed thanks to the online Spectator Guide. The organizers provided maps, parking advice, and multiple options to track runners.

I was in good company following this advice because everywhere I went, there were plenty of other spectators with cowbells or clever signs. Due to the convenient layout, I was able to cheer at several places along the course. I started by parking near mile 4 and then walked a few blocks to catch the runners again near mile 10. From here I drove to the Valley River Center to cheer near mile 19 (while having the advantage of easy parking, public restrooms, and a mall full of food options). After this, it was just a short drive to the University of Oregon campus

As much as I enjoyed the entire race, the true highlight was watching the finish at Autzen Stadium. Spectators have a picture perfect view from the seats above the fifty-yard line. At most races, the finish line of is fenced off from the general public. While this is understandable from a safety and security perspective, seeing my friends cross the finish line was such a joy. Not only that, the finish was more streamlined and less stressful than any race I can recall. After finishing the race, runners are corralled across the field and around the stadium to meet their loved ones in the reunion area. I had clear sightlines to watch my friends cross the finish line, we easily connected after the fact, and I had an easy place to sit and enjoy the event while I waited.

The Eugene Marathon was impeccably organized, and everyone from runners to volunteers to spectators had a positive experience. If the stars ever align, I’d love to run this race in the future, but if the fates or my body don’t cooperate, I know I’ll have a blast cheering for this race for years to come.

About Kate Ellingsen (36 Articles)
Running brings me immense joy and peace. Like the fabled tortoise, my pace is slow and steady. I ran my first marathon in 2011, then lost my focus following a cross country move in 2012, gradually working my way back to 26.2 miles. I have no aspirations of qualifying for the Olympics or even Boston. The road is big enough for all runners, and my only goal is to be happy and well. Location: Portland, OR 26.2 x 6 & 13.1 x 13
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