I wanted to really love this race, and was excited to see the fields of tulips in bloom and earn my big, funky Solo Cup-style medal on a flat and scenic course, but I fell out of “love” and into “like” with this race pretty quickly. The registration charge was already on the higher end for a small race, and then I got a $20 extra charge to pick up my packet on race day, in order steer people towards early packet pickup and boost attendance for vendors at the expo they organized beforehand. The pictures of the expo posted to social media revealed that I paid extra to skip attending a kinda small expo that featured vendors I’d seen at other races. I “get” that they were trying to help sponsors, but if you’re going to “financially encourage” people to go to the expo, you’d better make that sucker the fandango of a lifetime for attendees, or at least cut out-of-towners some slack. Then, the shirt was announced to be a tank top — a garment which I pretty much hate to the depths of my soul. So I showed up to race day already sour on shelling out extra money, and sad to be handed a scandalous version of a shirt. But, I was ready to turn the experience around and see some beauty and enjoy a gorgeous run. The race itself is organized and cheerful — you can tell the directors love what they do. Parking was easy (the terrain is unlevel, so don’t bring your Lamborghini.) There were plenty of porta-potties next to the starting line. The half started on time, and promised a lovely scenic run — I wish it didn’t have to pass by the misery of a rendering plant in the first mile, but soon enough we were out of Woodland and into the countryside. The course was well-marked, with support in the right spots (no gel/blocks, just electrolyte drink.) Late in the course there was a gravel section on top of a dike that was not pleasant to run on tired legs, despite the lovely rural and waterside scenery. Along this path there was a dairy farm, and the sweet-faced cows sure looked confused as to why there were a bunch of humans running by. One of the ladies in front of me gagged at the smell, though, so if you have a sensitivity to generic farm stank, be prepared to get out the smelling salts somewhere after mile 8. You have to wait a loooong time to see the much heralded blooms, and my “like” not “love” was cemented after getting just a glimpse of tulips off in the distance. Maybe this was an off year for the tulip farms, but it seemed like a postage stamp size of a field that we weren’t any where near to. But then, you’re back out on the loop you ran to start, and the finish line is getting closer. A nice downhill sprint to the finish, and the medals don’t disappoint. They are cute, colorful and hefty, and helped to diminish some of my disappointment. There looked to be good meaty food for finishers, but vegetarian finishers got a hotdog bun with one thin slice of Tofurkey deli cuts and some baked beans on top. I’ll give them props for the effort, though. The beer selections looked tasty, and everyone was having a good time at the afterparty, which was full of happy finishers.
- Gossetts reviewed 2 years ago
I know it is a great cause, but the price is so steep! I found the route pretty flat and happened to PR on the 10K. It’s nice to start inside the convention center, especially on a rainy day, Plus actual bathrooms beats a porta potty any day!
- Erica Endicott reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
This was my favorite race to date! Amazing course, beautiful scenery, very well organized and bananas on the course(BRILLIANT. Finishing on Hayward Field on the Jumbo Tron was amazing. The after part was so well organized, no lines, lots of water and food and no lines. Would receommend this race to anyone wanting to run a half or full marathon.
- Amy reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
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:
- 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.
- The people of Portland come out in force to cheer and support the race – great crowd support.
- There are fun bands throughout the course, especially in the first several miles, which creates a fun, party atmosphere and nice distraction.
- Team Red Lizard provides pace groups from 3:00 on up. Very cool to have them out there.
- 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.
- The roads were clearly blocked off from traffic, and the course was clearly marked.
- There were plenty of aid stations.
- 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.
- 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.
- They had Ultima as the electrolyte drink? I would really prefer Gatorade, something I’m familiar with and can train with.
- 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.
- 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.
- carmonaj reviewed 3 years ago
- last edited 3 years ago
I just love this race! I have ran the 10K a few times now and have gotten a PR every time. It starts on a downhill and the rest of the course is pretty flat. Just a great time of year for a race when you have been training all summer. It brings out some very fast women which is nice and they have a nice post race party after:)Typically this course is well marked and accurate. It was just this past year that i missed many mile markers? I heard others did too so not sure if the marking was the best but it was still an accurate distance. Parking is also somewhat of a hassle b/c they have shuttles (you pay extra for:() but i have always had someone drop me off at the start and arranged a car for the finish which makes it very easy.
- Sarah Gamble reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
Yes this last years Pints to Pasta had some huge issues with the shuttle, I was super grateful to have chosen to run the half marathon distance so the shuttle was a non issue for me. I love running downtown & really enjoyed the course! The after party was great with a nice meal, beer & wine. I loved this race and hope people give a little grace for the traffic/construction/shuttle nightmare, I’m sure they will make this race better than ever next year! I can’t wait to do this one again!
This is another well-organized event with great turnout that is hopefully helping to put Salem on the map as a great town for running. The registration fee is VERY low ($12 before race day!) and you get accurate timing and a smoothly executed event. It takes place in Minto Brown park, which is a very beautiful park with paved trails and well-groomed bark sections that are a springy pleasure to run along. There’s plenty of parking at the start. I was initially worried at the small amount of porta-potties at the start, but the wait was short so it doesn’t seem to be a problem. The route is pretty flat, with a few small, easy rollers along the riverside part of the path, so it’s great if you feel the need for speed. The 10k has a short section of dirt/gravel road that I didn’t find too difficult to navigate; I’ve heard that the 5k is all on paved trails. Bib pickup was stress-free (no shirts, which is fine because it keeps the cost low, and the $$ goes to a school track club) Starting can be crowded, the trails are sorta narrow so there’s a bit of dive ‘n’ dodge for the first mile before things spread out. The 10k draws the more competitive folks, but the 5k has a more diverse selection of speedsters to walkers, and would be great for a first-time 5k. There were a number of strollers in the 5k, too, so it’s inclusive for families out enjoying the start of summer. They have a sundae bar at the end that is included in the race entry and a few bucks extra for your non-running guests. My only gripe outside of the starting mile dodge ‘n’ dive was that it was a bit of a hunt to find water at the end of the 10k; I was in the back of the group so I had to muscle my way through the happy post-run icecream snackers to get to the water. That having been said, I always look forward to this run — it’s great way to end a work day, and welcome in my favorite season in a super nice runner-friendly gem of a park.
- Chelsea B. reviewed 2 years ago
The busy start was well organized and the course was lovely! Unfortunately the 8k course was not as clearly marked after the split with the 10k group. Great atmosphere for a fun race experience, especially with the live music along the course. Would love to see some improvements with course markings to make it a faster race in the future.
- beaver2000 reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
My wife and I ran the Bay To Brews Half Marathon this past weekend. We drove down Friday afternoon, finding accommodations was super easy. Packet Pickup in a brewery? Now we’re talking. We were greeted by Paul and Dave along with their team, all sporting wonderful smiles and energy.
Race morning was well organized and promptly at 8am we were on our way. The course was a real pleasant surprise. Flat for the first couple miles along the Yaquina Bay. Then a nice uphill jaunt through the woods on trail. After that you’re rewarded with a nice down hill, which then flows onto a beautiful, smooth pathway that leads you out to the Bay again. The last mile again takes you along the Yaquina Bay, with the Rogue Brewery in the background and the hopes of a good finish time and a frosty beverage await. Going out on your second loop for the 1/2 just means you get to see the beauty twice.
Post Race did not disappoint. Beer, chowder and a great band! That along with hanging out with familiar faces and friends made for a wonderful event.
Thanks PRC for another fantastic race!
- NW Runner reviewed 1 year ago
I ran the 10K in 2016 and 2017. I was so impressed with the 2016 race I convinced 5 others to join me in 2017. The course takes you through historic Fort Vancouver, along the Columbia River, and through a slightly industrial part (though it is actually really nice) of Vancouver. This year there were about 950 people, most of whom were 5K-ers & walkers. I never felt crowded, but I was never alone. The swag you get for this race is absolutely incredible for the price. I love that this is a fundraiser, all the money goes towards providing utilities for the needy. I will definitely return in 2018. I love the immediate race results too.
- smokeybailey reviewed 3 years ago
- last edited 3 years ago
By far, the Destination Race in Santa Ynez/Solvang has been my favorite half. The scenery is beautiful and includes bison, cows, horses, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, longhorn, and my favorite, a turkey at mile one…just right on the street, hanging out. Only in Santa Ynez. The race IS hilly but was fast for me. Last year I PR’d in this race and this year I was right at the same time. I didn’t use the porta potties, but there are TONS. Also, plenty of water stations-every 1.5 miles or so. Last year was hot so they came in handy. The miles are well-marked and the race is easy to follow.
I love this race because it’s small. It doesn’t take long to get started at all. I’ve been in races that took easily 20 minutes for my wave to get started. I didn’t run with a pacer but they have them for just about every 15 minute interval up to 3 hours. The organizers are great and friendly. They remembered my crazy husband from LAST year! We did the finisher’s party at Lavender Oak and it was a lot of fun. Beautiful out there. If there is a wine tour post race, do it! We did it last year and had too much fun.
There is a post race wine and music event, which is great but we did find it too crowded so we didn’t do it this year. Post race, we typically need to rest a bit and we found the area too small for the number of people who were participating but it’s a great deal. I highly recommend it to runners who don’t really need to recover after the race. It’s a good price for all the beer or wine you can drink. I plan to sign up for the one in Oregon when we run that one.
Santa Ynez Valley is great for wine tasting. Even if you don’t tour the area (which you REALLY should), there are tasting rooms in Solvang, SY and Los Olivos every 10 feet. You can’t go wrong.
Also, if you are a single guy, this is YOUR race. Tons of chicks out having a good time and drinking lots of wine. My husband tells every single male runner he knows that he should really be coming out to these races to meet cool chicks who like to run. It’s a great run for groups of girls or couples (like me and my guy). We are trying to talk two friends from Alberta, Canada into joining us next August in Oregon. It makes for a great long weekend.
- amandawa30 reviewed 3 years ago
We ran and had so much fun! A lot of fun family activites for the kids to stay entertained while you run. Beautiful run along the water front & planes flying overhead. Then the volunteers were super nice & even refilled our drinks at the end I would run again anytime- thanks foot traffic!
- LJack13 reviewed 3 years ago
This was a terrific race! I did this in 2013 with two of my girlfriends and will do it again. I’ll admit this was an incredibly hilly course and if you’ve not been hill training it will trash your legs. The race was very well organized from packet pick up, tons of volunteers on the course and at aid stations, to the awards ceremony, to the wine tasting. YES, wine tasting after the race from about 20 local wineries. And the pours are quite generous!! My favorite take away was the race shirt though. I’ve done hundreds of races, but this is a shirt I wear regularly. I cannot recommend this race enough.
- Mariah Jeffery reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
This was my first marathon in 2015. I loved that the course went uphill for the first half and downhill in the second. The course was very scenic and also very shady. The biggest issue I had was that I had memorized where the aid stations were supposed to be, and took my gel at mile 6 expecting an aid station at mile 7. It was actually at mile 8, and the volunteer handing me Gatoraid when I asked for water. Still, for the price it was an excellent value. The race was run very efficiently and the shuttles in the morning were on schedule and no hassle. The food afterward was great also. I will be doing the half this year.
- Erica Endicott reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
Helvetia was my very first half marathon and it did not disappoint. It is a very hilly course but its so beautiful especially in the morning. Very well organized and nice bling. After party could use a little help, long lines for the helvetia burger but that more than made up for it in taste. Would certainly recommend and will do it again!
I run the half marathon every year, and it’s become one of my very favorites. The expo is great — good selection of vendors, guest speakers, and booths for races that will give you great discounts if you sign up at the expo. The participant shirt is a nice, long-sleeved tech shirt. Packet pickup is organized and painless. You start down by the EMP and the Space Needle and go out by some of Seattle’s most beautiful buildings — architecture buffs will enjoy this race. The course has some climbs, but nothing that will ruin your life if you’ve trained for them. There are plenty of port-o-potties and aid stations along the course, with great traffic control and volunteer support. Last year it was freezing so the spaces around the aid stations were icy — if the weather is cold be prepared. After you leave the city, you’ll go through some beautiful neighborhoods, so you get a nice mix of urban and residential, with some lovely views of the lake. There’s a peaceful climb through the arboretum, and a super cool run through a tunnel. You’ll finish on the turf at the Memorial Stadium, which is always fun. The medal is quality, and in previous years they were being handed out by some most excellent military folks. This race has one of the best post-race situations out there — you’ll go inside and thaw out, get some tasty soup, plenty of hydration, another chance to pick up more swag from vendors, and relax with all the other happy finishers.
- pdxrunnergirl reviewed 3 years ago
This year (2015) I ran the 8k but in other years I raced the 15k and 5k. For being such a big race it is well organized in regards to the start and finish area and support areas but the races always seem to be difficult to navigate with the crowds. This year I was in the lead pack of women in the 8k and after the turnaround on Naito we were in traffic and all the way up Broadway. We had a path on the left side of the road but racers from other distances end up taking up much of the road not realizing we are coming through much faster. There is usually great competition at Shamrock though, a lot of the local sub elites come out and it makes for an exciting race. The hill up Broadway was longer and harder than I knew about! Overall a good positive experience. I was easily able to get a porta-pottie before the race and after I did a workout so didn’t imbibe but I hear there are lots of good post race treats. I almost forgot, they give you your photos for FREE! Who does that?!!! So nice.
- jtwilliams reviewed 3 years ago
i’ve run this race most years since i first ran it back in 2006 – it’s gotten a lot more popular over the years, and deservedly so. the course is great: there’s a short, steep uphill at the start but the rest of the race is gentle ups and downs, generally a pretty quick course. also beautiful, as you’re running through vineyards practically the entire race. the race is always well-organized, occasionally the mile markers are a little bit off, but not by too much, and there are plenty of water/electrolyte stations along the way. everything in the sonoma town square at the end is always great too – good recovery food/drink, plenty of free samples, and everybody loves all the wine (and lagunitas). last year was especially fun, as they got some american elites to come out and run (lauren fleshman, ryan and sara hall), and meb as the lead bike. highly recommended, and i’ll be back again this summer!
- juliawebb reviewed 3 years ago
For a 6 week stretch in the darkness of Tuesday winter evenings, a light comes to town in the form of the Tuesday Night at the Races indoor track series. The series has been developed and run by renowned Portland race director Jon Marcus, providing a great opportunity for the inner track lover of all ages and abilities. If you are a runner feeling the need for speed, but not quite confident enough to test yourself against the ranks of collegiate runners at the UW indoor meets in Seattle, this is the place for you. No need to commit months or weeks in advance. You register just before the fun begins at only $5 per race! Ages 10-90 in all shapes and speeds make for great company. Whether you are seeking a personal best or just seeing how far off you are from your high school times in events from the 150m up to the 3000m, you will feel welcomed and unashamed – even if you happen to be lapped.
You will never have to run the same race 2 weekends in a row, although the 800 is the most popularly offered distance. Distance runners familiar with their usual speed workout track sessions get a break from the known 4 laps per mile and enter the unusual oblong shaped track with blind turns which takes 6.7 laps per mile. The short 240m laps makes the race fly by and if you’re running fast enough ~a minute give or take per lap is something that can easily be swallowed. The unique venue on the 2nd floor overlooking a basketball court at the Chiles Center Dome of University of Portland has a great spectating atmosphere. Although you won’t see the entire race unfold, you can catch runners constantly flying by a few times each lap. There is plenty of noise to propel you to finish strong and great comradery as you warm up or cool down from your event/s. Splits are offered to the top runners by meet officials going for fast times, with signs marking specific distances on the wall and accurate lap counters providing a guide for the dizzy and confused. Results are available immediately after each event and posted in a timely fashion that evening online to allow bragging or shaming to be official.
- SqueakMatteson reviewed 2 years ago
I wish the Iris half and full marathons attracted a larger crowd, because the route is so pretty and there’s truly a welcoming atmosphere towards the runners. I’ve done the half three years in a row, and unless there’s a conflict, I will run it every year. Packet pickup is convenient if you get your goods before the race at the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, and they have later hours for working people and are easy to find in the Keizer Station shopping complex. In the past the race started at the Keizer Station, and I wish they could go back to that as that was very convenient. But, they have moved the start/finish to a section of the Iris Festival parade route, so parking can be tricky as it’s mostly on side streets. The starting and finishing section of the out-and-back course is in a residential neighborhood, but you quickly go out into the rolling countryside and past the beautiful farmlands full of various crops; the highlight of the race used to be running past the iris fields, I wish that would come back, as the first year I ran it was the only year I got to go by the fields of gorgeous blooms. BUT, that route also incorporated a super steep hill, “Suicide Hill”, which came at the part of the run where you seriously doubt the reasons you sign up for half marathons in the first place, so the change has created a nice, relatively flat course. It’s also walker-friendly as the roads, although they aren’t closed, are quiet and well-monitored. There are aid stations every two miles, and usually have water and Gatorade, but no gels or anything like that so bring your own. I did hear some complaints about porta-potties on the course, but I never use them during a run so I don’t keep track. One or two of the mile markers can sometimes be a little off, so be aware and trust your gadgets. At the finish there are volunteers handing out irises (my favorite flower!) and medals. The medals aren’t super fancy, but this is one of the more affordable halfs out there so I am not going to gripe. After you finish, hobble over to the Festival Tent for pancakes and drinks. The 10kers and fast halfers can sometimes deplete the food supply, though, so walkers and marathoners might be left out, unfortunately. Hopefully as the event grows, so will the pancake supply!
We almost missed this, as we got lost trying to find the park (note to self: your GPS unit isn’t technicallycapable of lying to you, so please learn to trust it.) But once we arrived, check-in went smooth and we were ready to roll. It’s a low-key, no frills race which is extremely affordable and the people running it are very friendly and helpful. Bring cash or check for race day registrations. The trail was more challenging than we expected, with some mud pits and some rough terrain — after shredding my ankle on a mud run I’ve been nervous about trail runs and thought this would be a good intro, I think maybe I was a little paranoid but I am not taking any chances! My friend brought her big, happy running dog and he had a BLAST! There were a few big dogs and a few little dogs, just enough to keep our companion pup happy and headed towards the finish line to sniff and wag with his new friends. The park is lovely, and not super busy, so there are nice spots to stretch out in the sun and enjoy the post-race food and drink. Plenty of parking, but it’s in a field, so leave your Lamborghini at home. The only complaint was that the trail can get backed up in spots, especially if you’re behind someone who is determined to not wreck their brand new kicks in a slop pit. My friend is looking forward to this year, and plans to try out the 10k. I highly recommend this to people who are looking to try out trail running and need a friendly, challenging but not miserable race to get started with.
- coverbeck reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
This is my third time doing the Chicago Marathon. I’m drawn to the race because of the energy and size. Never will you feel like you are just out for a training run- the energy and crowds will remind you that this is the day you’ve trained for! I love how the whole city of Chicago seems to rally around the marathon. Of all the marathons I’ve done, the crowd support in Chicago is by far superior. However, with this energy comes the tendency to start too fast- be careful of that!
The Chicago Marathon is a pancake flat course expect for a small short hill at the end. However, I’ve learned that flat is not always the fastest. Some inclines and declines can be nice to switch up the muscle groups. I’d recommend doing some long flat concrete runs to prepare the legs for the repetitive motion and pounding. The other thing is that Chicago is called the Windy City for a reason and the weather is unpredictable. It’s always a gamble if Chicago will be fast conditions but I think it’s a worthwhile gamble.
With the participant size of the Chicago Marathon come the perk of lots of people to run with and water stations go on for a whole city block and are every few miles. You never have to worry that you will miss an aid station.
As for after the race, I can’t think of a better city to enjoy! Bonus: you won’t feel weird hobbling down stairs after the marathon because it seems like half the city is as well!
This is one of those races that you will be bragging finishing about for YEARS. People will have to listen to you talk about it every day for at least a month afterwards, because that’s the minimum time it takes to forget the pain of running through several miles of ice-cold, ankle-deep Northwest lake clay. This is a true trail challenge, and a foolish venture if you’re not prepared. I did the 25k, which takes place the day after the 50k runners tear up the trail and make it good and sloppy. This would be a challenging run even without the mud; the trail is single track and technical. There aren’t too many elevation challenges, but elevation will be the least of your problems, thanks to the sloppy, slippery, constant thrill of running in mud. You get a break from the mud on a small stretch of paved road, but then you’re right back in the slop. Seriously — check out the race photos from previous years. They tell the tale.
The aid stations will go down in history as some of the best — gels, fruit, candy, peanut butter sandwiches, and a nice selection of hydration drinks. Volunteers are friendly, there’s a real Hagg Family vibe going on, and race directors are very responsive to runner questions.
One caution — if you break your stuff on the course, like I did, it can be a treacherous limp to the main road to hope someone comes by and gives you a lift. Hopefully they’ve improved upon that, as the year I broke my ankle on the course I had climb to the main road and wait for help until a woman drove by looking for her husband, and she ended up picking up a few of us gimps without intending to (super nice lady!)
Packet pickup is easy, shirt is nice, and in the past you got some cool finisher’s socks. I think they started giving out medals, but that started the year I broke my ankle and there ain’t no socks, medals, or swag for the DNF-ers. Very well organized, a beautiful setting, and a crazy hard run. My ankle didn’t heal right so I won’t be doing it again, but I am glad that I did.
- carmonaj reviewed 3 years ago
I have ran the Eugene Half Marathon twice now and had a great experience both times. The course is great, mostly flat with some hills to break up the monotony. I love that it starts with the marathoners and runs the marathon course for the majority of the race. This allows for lots of runners around to pace off of as well as plenty of water stops and crowds of people cheering. They do an excellent job putting such a large race on. Definitely a favorite!!