Overall Rating
Overall Rating (11 Reviews)
3.4
(11 Ratings)(11 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.1
SCENERY
2.6
PRODUCTION
3.7
SWAG
4.3
Now under new management, the historic Portland Marathon has been reborn with an entirely new route and a renewed commitment to community involvement and inclusion. Both the marathon and half marathon routes have been redesigned to offer a fast course while also displaying the most iconic and beautiful landmarks and … MORE
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Recent reviews

    amy.schaumburg FIRST-TIMER '17

    I should preface this by saying that I REALLY dislike running in the rain. Portland is pretty close to me, though, so we all trooped up to do this race … MORE

    I should preface this by saying that I REALLY dislike running in the rain. Portland is pretty close to me, though, so we all trooped up to do this race a few years ago.

    It was cool and cloudy and rained THE ENTIRE race. There is also this odd, industrial section that seemed to go on for miles. The course was open to traffic and because of the rain, there was water bursting up into the air from semi-truck tires flying by. No fun.

    Love the swag, though. Nice stuff. The photo is my friend and I at the finish line. Perhaps you can see how soaked we are? 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    kenspruell FIRST-TIMER '17

    For future runners, be aware about whether the run will even happen. Race directors kind of can't get the permits together and/or are lining their pockets with the race fees. … MORE

    For future runners, be aware about whether the run will even happen. Race directors kind of can’t get the permits together and/or are lining their pockets with the race fees. Made me think they would get canceled by the city. Almost happened in ’16 too. Weird.

    As for run, everything is binary weird:
    – 19 plentiful rest stops on course, but only fuel is pretzels and gummy bears
    – course is horrendous but volunteers and ~25 solid gold bands on the route get a big thumbs up for the positive music. They made up for the route. Course was so painful that I didn’t even notice while running that it was out and back which I don’t like.
    – no bag drop, but great swag – unique I guess
    – they gave me a tree seedling at the finish line, I planted it on the Oregon coast. I hope it grows big and strong, unlike my next Portland Marathon finish as I won’t be repeating

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 20, 2017 at 8:42pm

    Go forth little seedling, live long and prosper! Great review Ken, I still remember from 2013 seeing those gummy bears late in the race and thinking, "Gummy bears?? Ain't no… MORE

    Go forth little seedling, live long and prosper! Great review Ken, I still remember from 2013 seeing those gummy bears late in the race and thinking, "Gummy bears?? Ain't no f*%#ing way." Given that both you and Drew (below) commented on the lack of on-course scenery, I'm guessing they ran you through the train yards again. So much beauty in Portland, and the marathon course runs out and back through the train yards. Sorry the race didn't live up to expectations, but hope the rest of the city did – and glad you got your Voodoo fix! 🍩 LESS

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    DrewNYC FIRST-TIMER '17

    The big stress for 2017 was whether or not the even would even happen! The organizers kept saying, "Don't worry, it will be fine" while the city was saying, "You … MORE

    The big stress for 2017 was whether or not the even would even happen! The organizers kept saying, “Don’t worry, it will be fine” while the city was saying, “You don’t have the permits.” It was only a few weeks before race day that everything was officially locked down.

    I had never been to Portland, and I very much enjoyed the trip. Race day was perfect–cooler, overcast, occasional light mist–and the course is mostly flat (except for a crazy hill at mile 9). Despite all of that, I didn’t have a great race day. Might have been too soon (2 weeks) from last marathon.

    I had heard it was a very scenic race, but I didn’t find it to be so. It’s possible that the course changes this year removed some of the scenic parts.

    Expo is at the host hotel. On the smaller side.
    The start and finish areas were well organized.
    The race shirt is given after you complete the race. I didn’t like this year’s shirt, but I saw other years’ shirts and they were nicer.
    In addition to the shirt and the medal, each finisher is given a coin and a small pendent. And, they give out seedlings, too.

    Everyone involved with the race that I encountered was nice.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Oct 20, 2017 at 8:47pm

    Congrats on getting this done, Drew! Couldn't believe all the pre-race chaos around "will it" or "won't it," I was stressed for all of y'all who didn't know until very… MORE

    Congrats on getting this done, Drew! Couldn't believe all the pre-race chaos around "will it" or "won't it," I was stressed for all of y'all who didn't know until very late whether you'd actually be running or not. That said, I'm glad you got the chance to visit Portland which is a wonderful city even if, like you said, the marathon doesn't show off the most scenic bits (they didn't run you through the train yard, did they? UGH, the train yard...). And not only did you conquer two marathons in two weeks, don't forget that the first one was international. Those states they keep a-fallin', one by one! LESS

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    ankrumk FIRST-TIMER '17

    This race is well put together and everything from the packet pickup to the aid stations to the finish line replenishment is solid. Would have like a finish line beer … MORE

    This race is well put together and everything from the packet pickup to the aid stations to the finish line replenishment is solid. Would have like a finish line beer but other than that I have no complaints whatsoever despite the negative press this race has received lately. I love Portland and love its namesake marathon and I will be back for more!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Katie_Ho Oct 18, 2017 at 4:27pm

    Kevin, congrats on conquering your first marathon and glad it was such a great experience!

    Kevin, congrats on conquering your first marathon and glad it was such a great experience!

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    dfitz02231 FIRST-TIMER '16

    Several of my friends said this was one of their favorite races so we traveled by car from 3 states away. The weather was awful (nobody's fault, of course) but … MORE

    Several of my friends said this was one of their favorite races so we traveled by car from 3 states away. The weather was awful (nobody’s fault, of course) but the whole thing was just weird. I wondered why my time was so slow at the 5k mark, given that I was a short distance behind the 3:55 pacer at that point. Found out later my wave (C) and all later waves were taken a half mile or so off course near the start. The race organizers tried to claim this didn’t affect anyone trying to qualify for Boston, which is untrue; Wave C included 3:45 – 4:00 pacers which is BQ for several age groups. (Yes, Portland — even people over 45 run marathons!)

    My husband entered the half marathon and we both were disappointed at how much of the course was industrial railyard areas. That’s a shame in such a beautiful city. I didn’t get to see the rest of the full marathon course as I had to drop out due to a nagging injury. This was nobody’s fault but my own. I noticed while riding the TriMET north afterward that runners have to run right alongside the train tracks for a long way. How unpleasant.

    The finish area is completely sealed off to spectators (very strange). I was ahead of my husband when I dropped, so I followed the half course back downtown to wait for him. But I was unable to get to the finish line to wait for him. We both froze for almost 2 hours — him waiting at the line for me, not knowing I’d dropped, and me waiting 3 blocks away in the horribly crowded “reunion area” for him to finally come through. I was blocked entry to try and reunite with him at the finish. We’ve never been so cold and frustrated in our lives.

    Apparently the actual marathon winner and 2nd place guy crossed the line unheralded, as organizers were not set up. At every other race I’ve volunteered at or participated in, a cyclist or course marshall knows where the winner is and radios ahead. And the announcer tells the spectators, who cheer for the winners. Except that Portland has no spectators! Apparently they think there is a huge security risk. Oddly, the start corrals were not secure at all. In fact, they weren’t yet set up when runners started arriving on the TriMET. There appeared to be only 2 arrival times on Sunday that would get you there in time. Organizers should have known this and been set up sooner, but when we arrived, volunteers were just starting to gather for a pre-race meeting and the corrals weren’t ready. For at least the next hour after arriving, we noticed how unsecured the area was; someone could have driven a truck in there, if they’d had their mind set on harming people.

    So it’s October in Portland, and people had warned me that we’d freeze at the end. Why are there no drop bags? The start line and finish line are close together — bags wouldn’t even need to be transported anywhere. Instead, organizers spend a lot of money on trinkets that you have to carry around in addition to the medal. Finishers are handed a pendant in a box, a rose and a tree seedling, and even more items, I think. I guess exhausted runners have a lot of extra hands and pocket space to carry these things around-? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to let people leave a bag? With WARM, DRY CLOTHES in it? Even the (unnoticed) winner was quoted as saying he was too cold to hang around until the organizers figured out they gave the first-place prize to the wrong guy.

    I do want to say that volunteers were plentiful and amazing. Race planning, though, left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ll bet the marathon winner would agree with me. I won’t be back.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    bizelle FIRST-TIMER '16

    Pros : -Epic crowd -The Expo is just HUGE. It's pretty cool! A lot of local businesses represented. -The course is kind of flat, apart from a mile or so … MORE

    Pros :
    -Epic crowd
    -The Expo is just HUGE. It’s pretty cool! A lot of local businesses represented.
    -The course is kind of flat, apart from a mile or so in the beginning, but a big descent makes up for it just after. Easy to run!
    -No interruption in the course whatsoever, which is impressive since we were running in the city. Traffic handled perfectly
    -Super pretty medal
    -Wonderful aid and volunteers! It was raining the whole time but they stayed strong and cheerful despite the weather. Very pleased with them! Knowing half of my fee went to their charities and non profit organisation, that’s great.

    Cons
    -A big one : Due to a mistake in the marking of the course, over half of the participants ran an extra half mile in their marathon ot half marathons. And the organisers took three days to finally aknowledge their responsability and apologize. In the end everything ends well, but it’s still a bad, bad mistake for an event of that importance. Some people missed their qualification for Boston because of it. For me it was simply a disappointment to not have my PR aknowledged at first.
    -Same as Race for the Roses, not super scenic. But around Portland you have to chose between scenic and flat.
    -Post race really disappointing. Maybe it was mainly because of the rain, no one wanted to stay there very long, it could have been nice to have a dry area to finish.
    -I could do without the collectible coin/pendant, I like getting a medal but to me that’s enough. I’d rather not have them and spare a few bucks in the registration fee
    -Speaking of the registration fee ! It’s ridiculous.

    Overall, I’d say it was a bit of a disappointment, for an event that seemed to be that important. I might register next year if I feel ready to attempt a full marathon. I don’t think I’ll register again for the half, the event seems more tailored for full-marathoners. I do hope they improve marking in the future.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    geddings FIRST-TIMER '16

    I was a chilly rainy morning. Pretty flat course other than a 115' incline over miles 2-3, but you then get a nice decline to make up time. Excellent water … MORE

    I was a chilly rainy morning. Pretty flat course other than a 115′ incline over miles 2-3, but you then get a nice decline to make up time. Excellent water stops & course entertainment. This race should be run just for the swag: medal, shirt, jacket, coin of medal, pendant of medal, rose, & evergreen tree to plant.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    ljbichler FIRST-TIMER '12

    This was an awesome marathon. The down town part of the course takes runners through China Town where we were greeted by dancing Chinese dragons, lots of color and drums. … MORE

    This was an awesome marathon. The down town part of the course takes runners through China Town where we were greeted by dancing Chinese dragons, lots of color and drums. That alone was pretty cool. Then through another section where we were greeted and cheered by very elaborately put together cross dressers. They were quite gaudy and amusing to look at. There is a very steep hill that leads up to the Saint Johns Bridge with is a beautiful green steel bridge which has a great view of the river and Port. It is rather a long bridge and there is a pretty long gap before the next water stop. From there, there is a long down hill which murdered my legs, followed by a brutal up hill presented a mixed blessing. The next point of interests was crossing another steel bridge. I have to admit it was a bit scary to me to look through the grates and see the river right below me. Also, since it was the kind of bridge that opens to allow for ship passage, there were a couple of gaps, where the bridge sections meet. The gaps are about like the gaps between the rails in a cattle guard. Runners just trot over them, no problem, but they did spike my adrenaline a bit since the whole looking down at the river below was freaking me out a little anyway. If you look around, and not straight down, the scenery is beautiful. At the finish line, we were given an awesome medal, a mini medal that you can wear every day like a small pendant, a coin ( I think so the guys have something that isn’t too girly) a red rose, a baby tree and lots of refreshments. This was a wonderful race in a wonderful city.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    nathanialjg FIRST-TIMER '15

    I live and regularly run in Portland, and there are lots of really great places to run in town. This race showcases a few of them, very briefly, mixed in … MORE

    I live and regularly run in Portland, and there are lots of really great places to run in town. This race showcases a few of them, very briefly, mixed in with lots of warehouse district and long, empty stretches. If you enjoy doing an out and back (almost twice!) of warehouse neighborhoods, this is the race for you!

    I love running west on the Broadway bridge, and I enjoy running over the St. John’s bridge. A few cool parts of downtown are featured.

    The race is very well produced, and the swag is awesome!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '14

    Portland is a gorgeous city. Lots of greenways, 2 rivers, parks galore. Runners world regularly rates the Portland marathon as one of the best. Maybe this was my problem. Finally … MORE

    Portland is a gorgeous city. Lots of greenways, 2 rivers, parks galore. Runners world regularly rates the Portland marathon as one of the best. Maybe this was my problem. Finally running in my adopted hometown, I was expecting the world. It was fun, don’t get me wrong. Starting and finishing downtown, there are spectators everywhere!! Strangers yelling out your name, encouraging you to push on is a great motivator. I was disappointed though, that the first 10-12 miles runs through the industrial, very boring part of Portland. I was expecting so much more. With the williamette river running right through downtown, one never really got to see it. I realize that there is a lot of factors that dictate the course of a race, but I think the Portland marathon could be so much more if it utilized more of the natural beauty of the city. I did LOVE the spectators, lots of porta-potties and lots of water stops. Beer in little cups were served in several locations, this is after all PORTLAND. The swag cannot be beat. A beautiful long sleep finisher technical T, a handsome medal, matching pendant, finisher coin, a tree seedling, and a rose to all finishers. This is Portland and they do know how to put on a good party, but again, the scenery was disappointing.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    dansolera FIRST-TIMER '13

    This was the second marathon I ran in one weekend, so I might not have enjoyed it quite as much. But I can be objective about it. With the exception … MORE

    This was the second marathon I ran in one weekend, so I might not have enjoyed it quite as much. But I can be objective about it. With the exception of having the course blocked by a passenger train for about a minute, the race was executed flawlessly. The course is varied and scenic, but there’s a good 3-mile stretch through a trainyard that could use a make-over. The second half was a little hillier than expected, so be prepared to soldier through that part on tired legs. But what makes this race stand out is the crazy amount of finisher goodies everyone gets. In addition to a standout medal, finishers get pendants, coins, roses and even a POTTED PLANT. Oh, and everyone got two t-shirts in 2013. Definitely a must for anyone wanting to journey to the Pacific Northwest.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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