- 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
I signed up for the Portland Marathon knowing that it was only a month out from my biggest adventure to-date, a seven-day stage race through the Alps called the TransAlpine Run. My husband and I decided to drive down and make a weekend out of it! The race has two distance options, full marathon or half marathon - I choose the full. Both are walker friendly with the caveat that the course closes after 8 hours.
Package Pickup & Swag: The package pickup and expo was located in the Hilton Portland which was right downtown near the race start and finish lines. There were lots of vendors including a Portland Marathon gear store, Altra Running, Nuun, and a local brewery giving out beer samples.
The only thing I had to pickup for the race was my bib and a "souvenir bag" which was just a plastic bag with a sticker on it. I appreciate that the race opted for a “virtual goodie bag” that contained online discount codes and promotions for their vendors rather than loading up the race package full of promo items that would end up in the recycling bin. I received the rest of my swag at the finish line and it was definitely worth running 26.2 miles for! All runners received a medal, a rose, a light cloth ponchos, a commemorative coin, a pendant, a long-sleeved shirt, and a little tree sapling after crossing the finish line. The medals were gorgeous. I had seen an image of them before the event and that’s when I first decided I HAD to finish this race. Run, walk, or crawl. The commemorative coin and pendant were designed very similar to the medal – very cool.
Course & Aid Stations: The route starts and finishes in downtown Portland. The half and full runners complete two out and backs along the river before the marathoners hang a hard right while the half marathoners continue straight back to the finish line. The marathoners then head further north to the St Johns Bridge at 17 miles where they cross over to the other side of the river and run back along it heading south until 24 miles when they cross back over the Broadway Bridge into the downtown core. Historically, the Portland Marathon typically has great weather but of course the year I run it, it rains non-stop. Unfortunately this meant I missed seeing views of Portland and the river. The race had many aid stations with water and some with electrolyte drink as well. I saw a couple that had gummy bears and one that had pretzels. I still can't get over how many spectators were out on the course despite the rain cheering everyone on - this was my favourite thing about the whole race!
There was an issue with all or most of several corrals missing the very first turn which resulted in about an extra half a mile. I was one of these runners but we got back on course and I didn't even know it had happened until I saw someone else's post. More details in my full race report (link below).
Post-race: I was soaking wet and cold after I finally got all my swag, and then found my husband, Jesse, in the “reunion area" so we didn't hang around long. The great thing is that the race finished downtown so there are lots of coffee shops and restaurants to re-fuel at nearby.
In spite of the weather and a couple race management issues, I had a great race! I felt like I had redeemed myself on the marathon distance and got some great swag to boot! I also enjoyed spending time with my husband exploring the community and meeting new running friends.
Read my full race report here: http://brielikethecheese.com/blog/2016/10/race-report-portland-marathon-2016/