Befitting its home in “TrackTown USA”, few marathons can compete with the historical running-crazed legacy offered by the Eugene Marathon.
“The running history here is truly unique,” said Richard Maher, race director for the Eugene Marathon. “We love helping participants experience a piece of that for themselves.”
Some of that running heritage? The sport of jogging arrived in America through community runs first hosted here. Nike, Inc. got its start here. And a stunning roster of legendary runners made their mark here, from Otis Davis and Kenny Moore to Alberto Salazar and Steve Prefontaine. Their legacies can be found in plagues and landmarks and trails throughout the city.
“For marathon participants, that history reaches a climax as they cross the finish line at Historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus,” said Maher. “Finishing on one of the world’s most well-known tracks in front of cheering fans is an unforgettable thrill for any runner.”
In addition to exceptional history, Eugene’s location offers a marathon course that’s beautiful, interesting, flat and fast as it passes through quiet neighborhoods, attractive parks and along the tree-lined paths that follow the Willamette River. It’s something runners appreciate while conquering the miles.
“We’re a great race if you want to qualify for Boston,” said Maher. “We have lots of participants setting personal bests here every year.”
Unlike marathons that focus solely on race day, the Eugene Marathon celebrates an entire weekend of running to help get kids and families involved. From the two-day Health & Fitness Expo to free community yoga to the kids’ DuckDash to the pancake breakfast on marathon morning, the Eugene Marathon offers much more than just a race or two.
The Eugene Marathon is also a true community event, with charities, businesses and local citizens wholeheartedly embracing the marathon. Race day sees thousands of supporters lining the course cheering on runners. And suiting one of the Northwest’s quirkiest towns, the Eugene Marathon might be the only race where you’ll be serenaded by a bluegrass band at mile six, only to have a gorilla hand you a refuel banana at mile 12.
“The local citizens, fans and volunteers make the race really special,” said Ian Dobson, former Olympic runner and assistant race director. “It gives the runners an extra boost as the crowds really get into it. The energy is contagious.”
Last year’s event saw participants from all 50 states and from as far away as Kazakhstan and Paraguay make the journey to Eugene. The running press has certainly taken notice of the Eugene Marathon’s growing reputation. Runner’s World has named the event a “Best of the Best” race, a “perfect race” and also one of the “10 Greenest Races”. The marathon has continued that legacy of sustainability, too, earning prestigious Gold certification from the Council for Responsible Sport in both 2016 and 2017.
The 2018 Eugene Marathon race weekend starts on Friday, April 27 with the full and half marathons scheduled for Sunday, April 29. Registration is open at eugenemarathon.com.