Portland Marathon and Half Marathon

4.17 (3 reviews)
200 SW Market St., Suite 1900, Portland, OR 97201
200 Southwest Market Street Portland Oregon 97201 US

Race date and time: October 8, 2017, 7am

The Portland Marathon is rated as one of the premier marathons in the U.S. and one of the top 10 road race events in the U.S, and one of the top 40 races of all types and distances.

Runner’s World called the Portland Marathon “the best people’s marathon in the West” and for the past ten years has ranked it as one of the top marathons in the country.

Race date
October 8, 2017 7:00 am
Sneaky challenging marathon but fun
  • amelia slagle reviewed 2 years ago
  • last edited 2 years ago

I really enjoyed this marathon however I expected it to be less difficult than it was before I ran it based on the course map and elevation changes.

Miles 1-12 went by quickly, very flat and good crowd support
Miles 13-16 on highway 30 were lonely and windy on the main road, no spectators and not pretty scenery
Miles 16-17 climbing up the road to St. Johns bridge was much more difficult than I imagined even after practicing it multiple times, my mile time slowed down a full minute and a half and drained me
Going across the bridge is also pretty windy
Miles 18-21 were flat and the crowd started to pick up however it was really sunny and I should have worn sunglasses and it was hotter than I expected
Miles 21-23 I started to cruise here, you are out of the direct sunlight and you get a good downhill in
Miles 24-26 Back in downtown and the crowd really picks up and it is very flat, good way to finish the race

I would definitely recommend this marathon but be prepared for the draining uphill before the St. Johns bridge, the loneliness of highway 30 and the potential sunshine in your eyes on Willamette.

What was your race distance and finishing time? (optional)
26.2 and ran 2:56:57
Year(s) you've run this race (optional)
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
  • Amy
    Awesome review! Thanks, Amelia!
  • You must to post comments
Beautiful, fun marathon
Portland Rose's at Portland Marathon.JPG

I ran the Portland Marathon for the first time on October 4, 2015 and really enjoyed this well-organized race. Below were some of the pros and cons of the Portland Marathon for me:


  1. This is a larger race (roughly 15,000 participants between the marathon and the half), so there are many people to run with and lots of positive energy.
  2. The people of Portland come out in force to cheer and support the race – great crowd support.
  3. There are fun bands throughout the course, especially in the first several miles, which creates a fun, party atmosphere and nice distraction.
  4. Team Red Lizard provides pace groups from 3:00 on up. Very cool to have them out there.
  5. Parts of the course are really beautiful. I loved running over the St. John’s bridge, along Willamette in North Portland, and across the Broadway Bridge as you begin to approach the finish.
  6. The roads were clearly blocked off from traffic, and the course was clearly marked.
  7. There were plenty of aid stations.
  8. At the finish, we were given a light (but disposable) Portland Marathon jacket instead of the standard space blanket, as well as a finisher shirt, pin, medal, rose, and small tree to plant. I think they went above and beyond there. The food was fine, pretty standard – grapes, orange juice, chocolate milk, potato chips, candy.


  1. The mile markers were way off for at least the first half of the race. The first mile was off by a good 30 seconds for me, we crossed the “10k” mark just barely after clicking off 6 miles, and the error continued for quite a while. I was so glad I wore my GPS watch. By the end of the race, the distance evened out. My GPS said I ran 26.25 miles total. I just think having accurate mile markers is an essential part of putting on a race, especially for anyone who is trying to go out at a specific pace. It’s a big deal.
  2. They had Ultima as the electrolyte drink? I would really prefer Gatorade, something I’m familiar with and can train with.
  3. They don’t actually give you a shirt unless you finish. Yes, it’s cool to wear a Portland Marathon finisher t-shirt, but I just feel bad for people who go out, maybe have a bad day and have to drop out, and they don’t get the shirt. I think they should get something. I like getting the shirt at the expo before the race. Just take “Finisher” off it in my opinion.
  4. Many marathons I’m familiar with will comp the entry fee for people who have met a certain time standard; however, the Portland marathon doesn’t comp entries for anyone. I would encourage them to offer comped entries to runners who have met a time standard.

Overall, I had a really fun time. I enjoyed the course, the crowd support, and the bands. I think if the race directors tweaked a few things, it would be nearly perfect.

What was your race distance and finishing time? (optional)
Marathon - 3:02, 6th woman
Year(s) you've run this race (optional)
1 - 2015
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
  • You must to post comments
These folks know what they're doing, and they do it well.

This is a very well-organized marathon. The whole town comes out to cheer you on; the crowd support is fantastic. There will be belly dancers, pirates, rock bands, bagpipers, and at least one person handing out beer and/or aspirins. Course support is water and Ultima drink, so bring your own gels. Course is challenging — not the worst, but not easy; there are some climbs in the miles you feel least able to climb! Plenty of porta-potties all along the route. Great swag, but I’m giving 4.5 out of 5 because they give out too much crap that you don’t want, like a “finisher’s coin,” but took away the 2nd short-sleeved shirt, which was a useful item. They also say you get a “finisher’s jacket” when in reality it’s a tissue-thin cooldown wrap that is disposable after one use. First-timers will be miffed when they don’t get an actual jacket. There are plenty of runners of all paces so you won’t feel alone in the wilderness at Mile 18. I don’t know what kind of experience the walkers have had, but I finish towards the back of the running pack (5 hr) and there’s always plenty of after-race snacks, shirts and medals.

What was your race distance and finishing time? (optional)
Year(s) you've run this race (optional)
2011, 2012,2013,2014,2015
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
  • You must to post comments
Showing 3 results
994270_525028364225165_643426276_n.jpg 4 years ago
  • You must to post comments
Portland Rose's at Portland Marathon.JPG 3 years ago by Amy in Beautiful, fun marathon
  • You must to post comments
Showing 2 results
Find races in the Portland, OR metro area and beyond - 5k, 10k, half marathons, marathons, ultras, trail races, duathlons, aquabikes, triathlons, relays, kids races, and more. Read race reviews from real runners to help you pick which race fits what you’re looking for, and add race reviews of your own!  Use the Search, Location, Category, and Sort fields on the main Races page to narrow your search and find exactly what you’re looking for.