Last Sunday I ran the Portland Half Marathon. My husband ran the full thing. It was tough training for a race in the muggy heat of Houston. I didn’t train enough to do my best, but I got through it in 1 hour and 51 minutes. That’s about an 8:15 pace. I got 10th place in my division of women ages 25-29 (there were 137 participants). But I didn’t think about placement at the time. I just wanted to finish.
Jason and I have been in several marathons in the past four years. This is what we think about the race in Portland…
MUSIC – The best entertainment was in the first three miles. And it was really good! There were several interesting ensembles: a band of xylophones, a band of drums, a strings-only group, a high school band with flags, Asian musicians with the dragon costumes, a lone guitar player, an all-men band, and more. After a few miles, though, the entertainment dissipated a bit. I think the quirkiness of Portland was reflected in their entertainers. About halfway through there was a crew of people dressed up as pirates. Strange.
SIGHTS – Jason said there were some really interesting sights once the marathoners split off from the half-marathons, around mile 11. They went through neighborhoods and trees and across a bridge that I never saw. The half-marathon, I must say, was a little boring after the first three miles. We ran on a road along the water, and then we turned around and ran back down that same road. I usually prefer to do a circle and see different streets. The upside, though, was that the hills were minimal. I appreciate that. And I could tell the course layout made it easier for spectators: they could stand in the same spot and cheer their friends on twice – once going in one direction and then again going the other.
WEATHER – For a city that is known to have a lot of rain, I was very glad it was a clear day! We were happy for the cool temps: 46 degrees when we woke up and 60 degrees by the end of the marathon. The sun blinded me a bit the last four miles making me wish I had a visor. Overall, though, the weather was blissful for us Texans.
RULE – Jason worried about not training enough for the full marathon and considered dropping down and just doing the half-marathon. He ultimately decided to go ahead and do the full, and it’s a good thing he did. I saw signs which said that marathon runners who try to do the half would be disqualified. I’m guessing they had only a certain amount of medals for each race. Speaking of medals …
SWAG – This race had the most swag I’ve ever seen a race give. Everyone got a short-sleeved blue Portland race participant shirt. Upon completing the race, you were also given a long-sleeved running shirt, a medallion with the logo, a charm with the logo, little bags for both, a finisher’s medal, a rose, a tree seedling, and food.
I’m no expert on the Portland Marathon and Half Marathon. I just highlighted the main things that came to my mind after running in the event. More details are on their website. I’ll probably check out a different city next year, but in case you’re interested … the 2014 race is on October 5!