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 (see certification here). The course has also been sanctioned, measured and certified by the Association of International Marathons (AIMS). In 1983, the Portland Marathon became one of the first U.S. Marathons to be part of the AIMS circuit.
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 both 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 are in downtown Portland. The start is a gradual 1 mile downhill with the next 2 + miles along Waterfront Park. This stretch has a gradual elevation gain of 140 feet followed by an immediate 2 mile easy downhill returning to the waterfront. The next section of the course from the 5 + mile mark to mile 12 is flat and flows through the northwest section of town.
The course makes another gradual downhill and heads along the flat border road of the Forest Park area through mile 17. The principal elevation gain of approximately 150 feet occurs over the next mile as runners go up to and over the beautiful St. John’s Bridge. Thereafter it is a spectacular run along Portland’s east bluff that faces the Willamette River from approximately mile 18 through mile 24.
There is an elevation loss of approximately 140 feet from mile 22 to 24 + with a slight rise as runners go over Portland’s Broadway Bridge. Participants continue on Broadway and turn left onto NW Couch and follow it to NW Naito, turn right onto Naito and follow it to the finish
Located less than every 2 miles, approximately 19 aid stations will feature water and replacement drinks. This year, the marathon will be serving 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 stations. As of now, there will not be gel available at aid stations.
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.