Runners in Portland Oregon have race options throughout the year. Local non-profits put on 5Ks and 10K to support needs in the community or highlight a cause. And several companies put on high quality half marathons and marathons that use different parts of the city and countryside. I love having so many options to connect with runners and walkers in the community. And earn a shiny medal at the finish line.
However, there has been a major type of event missing from the Portland running calendar: a marathon that draws national attention. And now there is a new company taking on that challenge through the revived Portland Marathon.
With a new and improved route, and without the scandals of a previous leadership team, runners, walkers, and media eyes are looking toward Portland on Sunday, October 6 to see how this new event will go. Like in the past, there is an expo the day before (Portland Marathon by OHSU Expo) at the Oregon Convention Center for packet pick-up and dozens of booths.
Then on Sunday morning, the real fun begins. The marathon and half marathons start together at 7:10am at Portland’s Waterfront Park. The looped courses (with some out and back sections) end back at the waterfront as well for the finish festival, which will include food and beverages for finishers.
Past Portland marathon participants should be excited by the new course that avoids dreaded highway and industrial sections of the past. Instead, the course includes four bridges and extended sections in NW Portland and Sellwood. Race directors have been highlighting on social media the iconic PDX landmarks that will be seen along the course. Aid stations will be every two miles for the first half of the marathon, then every mile for the rest of the course. And pacers from Red Lizards will be participating in both distances to support runners and walkers in their finishing goals. Those participants who are not able to keep up to a 15 minute-per-mile pace (6:33 marathon) will need to move to the sidewalks to allow for traffic, but they will still be able to continue to finish (or get a ride back if needed).
One of the new elements for this race is the Neighborhood Cheer Challenge. Every neighborhood association in Portland (all 95 of them) have been offered a section of the course to decorate with signs, blast with music, and fill with their cheers. Runners will get to vote for their favorite section, and the top five winners will receive a financial donation and a shiny trophy.
And not to worry, participants in the race get lots of swag and glory too. All participants will receive gloves and a poncho in their swag bag, and then an iced towel after the finish line. Plus, of course, race shirts and medals made by Portland-based organizations. And last but not least, participants will get free photographs of their race. Show the pain and joy of 13.1 or 26.2 miles, without the added cost.
There is still time, and room, to join in on this revived adventure. Come see the possible beginning of a grand tradition.
Portland Marathon (Portland)
When: Sunday, October 6 at 7:10am.
Where: Portland Waterfront (1000 SW Naito Parkway)
Packet Pick-Up: Saturday 10am-8pm at Oregon Convention Center (777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) or Race Day (only by purchasing premium pick-up option)
Cost: Half Marathon: $125. Marathon: $155.