Event Details

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Portland, OR

Oct 06, 2013 (last date)

start time:

Super Sprint, Marathon

how to enter:
Open to All

course types:
Run - Road

Incorrect info?

more info:
Official Website

Nitty Gritty Details

Enough Aid Stations:
Good for First Timers:
Enough Porta Potties:

Cool Schwag:
Course Marked Clearly:
Spectator Friendly:

Good Expo:
Good Photography:
Traffic on Course:

8 Reviews for Portland Marathon


Boise, ID

This race being my first marathon after having my first baby in December 2012, and the first full marathon since a pretty serious ankle injury in 2010, I had some anxiety and nerves about the day. After my husband and baby boy dropped me at the start, I found my corral and the gigantic porta-potty line. While standing with others in line, I started looking down at shoes and realized mine were missing something - my timing chip...I had forgotten to attach it to my shoe. I wouldn't post an official race time. There was nothing I could do about it, so I swallowed my pride, asked a few friendly race volunteers if there were any "spares" knowing full well that there wouldn't be. I also realized I'd left my iPod in the car....oh boy. This was not the way to start off race day. We sang the National anthem, held a moment of silence for Boston, and sang Sweet Caroline. Then the gun went off for each corral. Our corral moved forward and the race began. I started my Garmin and did the only thing left to do, I ran. Within a mile, I was smiling ear to ear. I realized that timing chip didn't matter. I was still running, and the crowds were still cheering, and the drummers drumming, and the singers singing and musicians playing. The sun rose and broke through the misty morning. It was going to be a gorgeous day! I watched as runners gently ran up to a large group of homeless sleeping under cover of a large bridge and quietly lay their extra layers - sweatshirts, gloves - onto the piles of covers sheltering the sleeping people. It was beautiful and, after the tragedies of Boston, my faith in humanity felt itself being restored. Not having my playlist, I heard every talented musical act on the course and waved and cheered for them. I tapped the shoulders of two women whose loved ones were running along the sidelines to get their attention, watching them reunite in hugs and cheers. I helped a woman up who had tripped and fallen onto her knees. I gave the pirates at mile 9 a high five. I met up with the 4:00:00 pace group, not thinking I'd break 4:15:00, and they kept me going. Andy was a great pace group leader. The race went by in the blink of an eye. I never bonked. I felt strong clear through the end. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile and feelings of relief. My Garmin said 3:55. I didn't think I would break 4 hours... While this race would have been one of my fastest, it would never be recorded anywhere officially. I never looked at the results but I am sure I have a big 'DNS' by my name...and I don't care. I know I ran that day and it was the best race experience I have ever had.


Austin, TX

For people looking for a fun marathon to run this could be a good one. If you're looking to really race hard there are some issues.

1. There were trains on the course. People had to stop and wait for the trains to pass by, some people go it in the section between miles 7 to 11 and some at around mile 24.
2. The non water drink didn't have any carbs. If you didn't plan on your own GU (I did) or other supplement you might be in trouble if you expect gatorade etc.
3. The aid stations weren't evenly placed which made planning nutrition difficult.
4. The massage tables at the end weren't massage tables. They were "never energy" tables from some scientology group. You can image my surprise when my hamstring pain wasn't really worked on but I had my energy fixed ... LOL :)
4. The course profile map is very misleading. It has this nice gradual curve however the elevations were really measured at a few points so it should be much more jagged. Unless you drive the course beforehand you would be misled into planning to run faster on some sections than would be possible.
5. The expo wasn't really very spectacular, and it was a maze to get through ... if you could find the right Hilton hotel. The signaage to get there from both the hotels (with a block of each other) was lacking.
6. Plastic cups to serve water made it difficult to take water on the run. Pinching the cups would sometimes break them which made it difficult.
7. Wave start was very confusing.

I did like the bands, the seemed to be at the right places. The weather was great and I thought the tree sapling to take with you and plant as well as the finishers shirt were great. I had a great race overall, 8 minute PR, so the bad review isn't because of my race experience ... I just think there are quite a few things you'd expect out of a long standing marathon.


Seattle, WA

Great time, perfect weather, well organized. Very crowed at the end. Be sure to park somewhere you don't have to cross back through the finishing area, as many streets are blocked off.

Loved all the bands around the course and the locals cheering you on. Big crowds.


san mateo, CA

This was my second marathon and it was by far, better than my first. It was such a fun, fun race - despite the fact that it rained the entire time.

When I got to my corral (corrals are separated by being on different street blocks), it was pouring rain. Racers were all huddled under store front awnings to try and stay dry and warm. Because it was so "cozy", everyone got to know each other, it was a very friendly crowd. The porta-potty lines were long, but went fast.

When the race started, each corral was led up to the starting line. The crowds already lined the streets in support (in the rain!). I even got to see my family shortly after I passed the start line.

The race starts out winding thru the downtown area, then heads out to an industrial area. There were plenty of aid stations that served water, Heed, gummi bears, vaseline, etc.

The crowd support was unreal. I actually saw the same strangers in 3 different locations. They moved with the race and cheered for everyone. Having our names printed on our bibs, and hearing strangers call your name to support you was very uplifting.

The climb up to the St. John Bridge was challenging, but once there, the view was breathtaking.

Coming off the bridge, into Miles 18+, was where the crowd really played a factor. The course ran thru residential neighborhoods and all the residents set up chairs and tents outside to cheer on runners. One house even had their own aid station at Mile 20 that had boxes and boxes of bagels and pastries. They were lifesavers!

My Garmin said that the course ran long, finally crossing the Finish Line at 26.61. Immediately after crossing the Finish Line I was handed tons of food, a medal, a tree seedling, Finisher shirt (yes you get 2 shirts from this race!) and a bunch of other stuff. Then we had to stand in line to get our official race photo taken. My only feedback on this would be to have more photographers. The lines were long and we had to stand there a long time.

Oh also, at the expo, you get the normal schwag, plus a coin, a rose pendant, a race poster to frame, etc.

And post race, the results are very detailed, intuitive, and provide you a lot of data on your performance. More than normal races.

This was such a great experience, I definitely want to do it again!

PS I did not experience any stop by train.


Beaverton, OR

I've raced PDX Mary 3 times and 4 other in-state and out-of-state Marys and think PDX is tops because of the course, support, finish and swag.

The course includes a nice blend of flat and hills. Love the straight-away down Naito parkway; great cheering location. The crowd support is wonderful (with exception of when you run during the industrial area). The finish is exceptional -- turning to, literally, hear the fat lady sing (no anti-climatic finish here). But the real reason we run, the swag (jk). The shirts are great micro-fiber, cool & consistent design.

The only negative I would include is some of the live music choices on the course -- some of the acoustic music was a buzz kill -- but the great news is this Mary is mp3 friendly so you can simply crank up your own tunes and stride through those dead zones.

Beautiful town to visit; awesome race to run!


Boise, ID

When the first ten miles of my first marathon went by in the blink of an eye, I knew I had chosen the right race.

Drum lines, brass bands, poster board signs and smiling crowds lined every available inch of the race course in Portland, and I found myself turning off my iPod at times just to take it all in. It didn't even bother me that I didn't have a single familiar face in the crowd.

I'm not a natural runner - every run is tough for me whether it's 5 miles or 15. But with such a well-organized and well-attended race full of music entertainment, plenty of water/gatorade stations and such a great crowd, it was actually fun! Who knew?!

Aside from race day, it's important to note that the information provided leading up to the big day was amazing. I obsessively read and re-read the race day details on the Portland Marathon website, joined in on discussion groups on the event's Facebook page, and read blogs and video diaries from previous Portland Marathon runners. This set my mind at ease so I was not only physically ready but mentally ready come race day. The information provided was comprehensive, insightful and often entertaining, which really added to the overall experience. The regular Portland Marathon e-newsletter was chock full of helpful tips as well.

My only beef with the event is the port-a-potties. The lines were long, both at the race start and along the course. It didn't ruin my experience by any means, but it was very stressful trying to get in one last pee before the gun went off! You can NEVER have enough port-a-potties.

A few shout-outs:
1. Right around mile 22, some nice lady put a bowl of sliced oranges in a bowl and set it on a chair along the course. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever tasted. Thank you!

2. Many thanks to the group of women who creatively handed out Vaseline on slabs of cardboard. It was easy to scoop a glob as you ran by, and it offered a great deal of relief for all those chafed legs!

3. Thank you to Vangelis for the gift of Chariots of Fire. When that song came on my iPod at mile 25, I couldn't have been happier. I had made it!

I will definitely be doing the Portland Marathon again and I encourage any first-timer or experienced marathoner to do it as well. It's well worth the money, and you'll love your souvenir shirt - it's technical fabric!


Bainbridge Island, WA

I've run Portland four times now. The first time was back in 1999. The race has grown and the city has changed to the point where it's time for a new course. A few years ago I was stopped for an Amtrak train. On Sunday, it was a TriMet train that delayed me. Until they change the course, this was my last Portland Marathon.


Belfair, WA

It was raining in 2008 and there were still people out there encouraging us, many, many people. This is a great race and a minted medal each year. It had more ladies then men which is rare. This is a great marathon for a first timer, it's hills are manageable, you hardly notice. A must run for anyone living on the west coast!





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