The Portland Marathon in beautiful Portland, Oregon, is the standard marathon distance – 26 miles, 385 yards. The course is USAT&F sanctioned and certified. It is also certified for Boston Marathon qualification. The course and all records will be listed with U.S.A. Track & Field Cert. #OR12023LB. The course has also been sanctioned, measured and certified by the Association of International Marathons (AIMS).

Sanctioning and certification for the wheelchair division is annually requested. Except for industrial railroad crossings, the course has no obstacles of concern to wheelchair entrants. The course has only 21 turns.


The Marathon and Half Marathon start and finish in downtown Portland, adjacent to charming Chapman/Lownsdale/Schrunk Parks, which are bordered by SW Salmon, SW Jefferson, SW Third and SW Fourth. The starting line is on SW 4th at Taylor, with the finish just three and a half blocks southeast on SW 3rd Ave. between Main and Madison, in front of the Justice Center and alongside Chapman Park.

The course traces a route that embraces the many faces of this beautiful and friendly city. It includes the scenic riverfront, historic Old Town and various residential neighborhoods. Runners are treated to broad panoramas of the entire city the waterfront, a 3-mile bluff on the east side of Portland, and a dramatic view and crossing of the St. Johns Bridge, one of the most beautiful suspension bridges in the world.

The course minimizes turns and narrow streets. (It has 21 turns, 20 more than 90 degrees.)

The first five miles of the course traverse downtown Portland. The first mile is a gradual descent with the next mile along Waterfront Park. The course then has a gradual climb of 140 feet to the South end followed by an immediate 2 mile easy downhill returning to the waterfront. From the 5 mile mark to mile 12 the course is flat and meanders through the northwest section of town.

As it exits the NW Portland neighborhoods, the course makes another gradual descent and parallels the border of Forest Park until it reaches mile 17. The principal elevation gain of approximately 150 feet occurs here as runners cross the iconic St. John’s Bridge, which marks the North end of the course and the start of the turn for home. The course then traces Portland’s east bluff above the Willamette River between mile 18 and mile 22. Mile 23 starts with an approximate 1/2 mile downhill of 125 feet followed by a flat until the course makes a slight climb to cross the Broadway Bridge just after Mile 24.

Participants continue into downtown along NW Broadway, past 25 miles and cross over to Naito Parkway using NW Couch and after about 3/4 of a mile on Naito Parkway turn onto SW Salmon and follow it to the finish on SW 3rd Ave.

View course maps here

Splits and Marking

The course will be clearly marked and monitors will be at all major intersections. Large mile marker signs will mark each mile during the race. Balloons also mark mile locations. ChronoTrack chip timing system is used. Chip timing includes the start, 10k, 10 mile, half marathon, 20 mile, 35 km and finish splits. The chip is also used to facilitate the calling of names of runners and walkers as they cross the finish line. We are proud to call out the names of over 97% of our finishers!


For more than a decade Team Red Lizard (TRL), a local Portland Running club, has enthusiastically performed the pacing duties for the Portland Marathon. This year, we’re trying to accommodate as many runners as possible, from the runner aiming for their first trip to Boston to the first time marathon runner hungry to reach the finish line. We are offering 15 pace groups: 3:00, 3:05, 3:10, 3:15, 3:25, 3:30, 3:35, 3:40, 3:45, 3:55, 4:00, 4:10, 4:25, 4:40 and 5:00.

Course Aid

Located less than every 2 miles, approximately 19 aid stations will feature water and Ultima Replenisher, a mineral replacement, along the course. Ultima is a drink that replaces vital minerals lost during your race. Ultima is available nationwide at Whole Foods Market and at select health food stores and running specialty stores. As always, to ensure carbo replacement, we will be offering 5 or 6 gummy bear and pretzel stations. As of now, there will not be gel available at aid stations. Food is not served on the course. Slower walkers are encouraged to carry water bottles and other necessary food supplements.

Volunteers for aid stations are recruited from businesses, school groups, service clubs and non-profit organizations who compete for awards; including the best organized, best decorated, and most enthusiastic aid stations.

Medical aid points along the course at aid stations and at the finish will be equipped with limited medical assistance, tape, band-aids, heat sheets, and Vaseline. Ambulance service will be available and roving vehicles will transport non-finishers to the reunion area from aid stations when necessary.

Rest Rooms

There will be plenty of portable toilets in each start corral, finish area and at a number of points along the race course including aid stations. Locations will be marked with signs.

Alternate Course

The Portland Marathon initiates its Alternate Course around 1:00 p.m. (6 hours into the event), by “swinging the gate.”

The Gate is at Willamette Blvd. and N Killingsworth, between mile marks 21 and 22. All Alternate Course participants must use and remain on the sidewalks, and obey all traffic and crosswalk signals as they proceed towards the Finish.

Alternate Course participants follow N Killingsworth to N Interstate Avenue, and Interstate to NE Larrabee, and Larabee to Broadway. Participants cross Broadway at the traffic signal at Larrabee and turn right and remain on the sidewalk across the Broadway Bridge. Do not take the Lovejoy ramp. Stay to the left and follow Broadway straight six Blocks to NW Couch. Turn LEFT on NW Couch. Follow Couch to Naito Parkway. Turn right and remain on the sidewalk on Naito. Follow the sidewalk paralleling Naito to SW Salmon and continue to the Finish Line.

Interested in traffic impacts? Visit our Road Closures page here.


"Best Race in October" - Runner's World