Race Preview: 2021 Portland Marathon


There is simply nothing like a marathon. Not to say that 5Ks or ultra-marathons or all the distances between don’t have great value. They do. But there marathon remains the key bucket list item on most runner’s lists. I know it was for me.

And as a Portland Girl, the Portland Marathon was my first marathon and the one I come back to almost every year (stupid 2020).

The Portland Marathon has gone through many transitions over the years and I am grateful that the current leadership has strong collaboration with city leaders to provide participants with a course that gets beyond Naito and into more of the city. The course starts and ends at Waterfront Park. The half marathon course overlaps with the full marathon course starting at mile 8 (minus for a 5-mile side trip later on). Marathon participants start by heading north through the Pearl and Northwest Districts, then over the first of four bridges along the course. Then it is south through Downtown Portland, South Portland, and over to Sellwood with a loop out and back to Reed College. The final 10K is primarily on the east side of the Willamette River until the final crossing via Burnside Bridge and one mile to home.

Whew. I’m tired already.

Before getting to the starting line, all participants need to go to packet pick-up the Portland Marathon Expo on Saturday October 2 at Oregon Convention Center. Everyone (including participants, volunteers, and staff) must provide proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours of the race.

And then at the finish line, there are so many rewards for finishers. Of course there is the shiny medal and lots of recovery snacks. Finishers will also receive free photos and a finishing video after race day.

Last but not least, folks who want to be involved but aren’t ready for all those miles should check out the Neighborhood Cheer Challenge. Each neighborhood association on the course is invited to set up a cheer station in their section to encourage runners and walkers. And to compete for a financial donation and trophy from the race organization. Win-Win.

26.2 is not for the timid. If you want it, you can (and should) do it.

Portland Marathon
When: Sunday, October 3 at 7:10am
Where: Waterfront Park (1000 SW Naito Parkway)
Register: Online
Packet Pick-Up: Portland Marathon Expo at Oregon Convention Center (777 NE Martin Luther King Blvd)
Cost: Half Marathon for $135. Marathon for $165.

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Educator. Learner. Runner. Writer. TBD.

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