September 2009 News, updates, tips, and true stories as we countdown to the 38th Annual Portland Marathon on Oct. 4, 2009

We are gearing up for the largest Portland Marathon to date. Right now, we are almost 2,000 registrants ahead of this time last year, and nearing a sell-out. Despite the recession, distance-running events are seeing record numbers of participants. Why is this? Are people investing more in their health? Spending less money on goods and more on experiences? Share your thoughts and join our conversations on Facebook (Portland Marathon) or Twitter @pdxmarathon.

Portland Marathon increases commitment to sustainability

By working together with sponsors, committee members, and charities, the Portland Marathon has increased their green practices to help reduce their environmental impact before and after the event.

In addition to being green on the course and during the event, the Portland Marathon expanded their efforts to include the Sports Authority Sports & Fitness Expo, the Event Directors' College, committee events, and the Pasta Party (just to name a few).

The Portland Marathon does the following to create a green, sustainable event:

  • Use of on-site recycling of cardboard, glass, plastic, paper, etc. Use of volunteer "Green Teams" who regulate and promote recycling efforts.
  • Prevention of food waste by distributing leftovers to a local food charity.
  • Use of biodegradable cups, bags, and other products. Use of city water instead of bottled water.
  • Conservation of renewable energy sources for power (solar panels provide power at start/finish area).
  • Accessibility to our event by public and mass transportation (Tri-met bus, MAX light rail, trolley).
  • Use of fuel-efficient vehicles for lead cars, such as Subaru hybrid. Bicycles are also used for year-round and day-of event course management.
  • Use of apparel made with environmentally friendly fabrics and ink.

In addition to being committed to sustainability, the 39th Annual Portland Marathon is also focused on the satisfaction and happiness of its participants. Runner's World magazine called the Portland Marathon one of the "friendliest, best organized most family-oriented events in the country."

Seventy-eight entertainment acts, exceptional weather, and Boston Marathon-qualifying course, are just a few features that make the Portland Marathon unique from other distance-running events in the country.

Our Inaugural Half Marathon

The Portland Marathon is proud to reveal its inaugural half marathon this year! Actually, there will be three. These events will be held in Iraq and at three military bases. The events will be logistically created by the Oregon National Guard Brigade, which is now deployed at three bases. The brigade from Fort Lewis, Washington will also host an event.

The events are expected to have at least 400 participants. There is no charge or fee charged to the Army, Air Force, Marines, and others who participate. The Portland Marathon will provide a special performance style finisher shirt, medal, pin, and bib for participants. Shirts will also be given volunteers. For more information on these events, please email

Did you know?

Here are some fun facts about the Portland Marathon…

  • Since 1993 the Portland Marathon through its giving of seedlings to finishers has been responsible for the planting of over 110,000 trees...the largest virtual forest in the world and a carbon credit.
  • The Cascade Range, including Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens are visible from the Portland Marathon course.
  • There were 173 finishers at the first Portland Marathon in 1971. There were only five women and the average age of participants was 20.6 years. Now, we have approximately 8,000 finishers, nearly 60% are women.
  • The average age of Portland Marathon women finishers is 34 and 35 years old for men.
  • The Portland Marathon was first run on an island outside of Portland, Marathon Island, which is now know as Sauvie Island.
  • The Red Lizards have been the pace team for the Portland Marathon for more than five years! You can meet the pacers at the Red Lizard booth at the Sports Authority Sports & Fitness Expo on Saturday, Oct. 3. They’ll be pacing for 14 different times, including the four Boston Marathon qualifying times. Visit for more info on the team.

Want to win this cool PM training shirt?

Just tell us about your tunes and we’ll enter you in a contest to win a long-sleeve PM training shirt. Your feedback helps us continue to better serve you as the MP3-Friendly Portland Marathon. Click HERE to take our quick survey.

Don’t take our word for it…just ask Portland Marathon veterans.

We hit the streets with our video camera to find out what Portland Marathon participants really think of our event. Click HERE to watch the latest entry in our video diary.

Portland Marathon runners and walkers need your support as a volunteer on Oct. 4

Each year 4,500 volunteers make the Portland Marathon, a non-profit event, possible. Join us to volunteer on Oct. 4 to help support one of the best-organized and most family-oriented running and walking events in the country. Put together a team of family and friends, or just volunteer yourself and we’ll place you with a team. Click HERE to get started.

Thank you, Sports Authority!

We would like to thank Sports Authority, title sponsor of the Sports Authority Sports and Fitness Expo. This is their second year as title sponsor, and we greatly appreciate their support.

The 25th Annual Sports Authority Sports & Fitness Expo will be held on Oct. 2nd from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Oct. 3rd from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. in the Ballroom and Exhibit Hall of the downtown Hilton Portland & Executive Tower. Don’t forget to visit the Sports Authority apparel store at the Expo, which will feature Nike gear created specially for the 09 Portland Marathon.

For more information on Sports Authority or the Sports Authority Sports & Fitness Expo, visit

Need some new gear for Oct. 4?

Sports Authority and the Portland Marathon have got you covered. 

Just print out this coupon and redeem it at any Sports Authority location. Click here to find a store near you.

Worried about running alone?

Stop your fretting! You are certainly NOT alone, but in good company with thousands of other runners as well as 78 bands/entertainers along the course at 61 venues. We have cheerleaders, supporters, and clappers all along the course! We also have 30-40 pacers who will pace for 14 different times, including the four Boston Marathon qualifying times. Don’t forget you can meet the pacers from Team Red Lizard at their booth at the Sports Authority Sports & Fitness Expo on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Here’s what our friend Jackie from Facebook said about running alone last year:

"I LOVED LOVED all the volunteers along the way last year! They even read my name on my bib to cheer me on! They made it SOOO worth it! Especially when I hit THE WALL!"

Become a Charity Runner for this year’s Portland Marathon

This issue’s featured charity is the American Cancer Society. Want to make your miles even more meaningful? Become a Charity Runner for the American Cancer Society.

Charity Runner is the American Cancer Society’s signature endurance event program that enables athletes of all levels to join in the lifesaving effort to fight cancer. Since 1996, the American Cancer Society has helped more than 5,000 athletes meet their training and race goals, while empowering them to raise more than $5.2 million to help end cancer-making every mile more meaningful.

By raising funds as an American Cancer Society Charity Runner, you will receive:

  • Free marathon training
  • Team support and social events
  • Race day VIP amenities
  • Exclusive American Cancer Society racing shirt
  • Personal fundraising Web site
  • Opportunity to participate in memory or in honor of a loved one touched by cancer
  • The opportunity to make a difference in the fight against cancer

For more details on the training program or to register, visit us on-line at: or contact: Bonnie Ell, American Cancer Society Staff, 503.795.3963,

First-time marathon walker Curt Myron shares his love for Nordic Walking and Volkssports

Does anyone ever ask why you participate in a marathon? I get the question all the time, probably because I’m 65 years old and a 20-year diabetic.

But I have answers. My first response is that I entered the Portland Marathon for the experience! Having never previously entered a competitive marathon before, this is one of those things I want to do at least once in my life. I’ve walked across Switzerland (1995), followed Lance Armstrong through the final stages of his fifth Tour de France victory (2003) and walked from London to Canterbury, England, along the trail followed by Chaucer’s religious pilgrims (2005). Now I want to hear all those bands along the Marathon route.

Another answer is for volkssport credit. I know, that part needs explanation. As national President of the American Volkssport Association, I participate in local, national and international non-competitive events, usually walking or Nordic Walking. In volkssport we track achievements in terms of number of events and distance completed. To date, I’ve completed 1,196 events and nearly 14,000 kilometers. So I should also say that I’m doing the marathon to receive a stamp for 42 kilometers in my book. (See

If you are a walker, you’ll see many volkssport volunteers at the Portland Marathon finish. They ensure that walkers are received at the finish no matter how long it takes.

A last answer to the question is to see how I perform using Nordic Walking poles. Nordic Walking provides excellent training, so long as you have snappy answers to all those who ask where your skis went! True Nordic Walking poles are designed not for balance but for propulsion. They work over 90 % of your muscles, burn at least two calories per minute more than normal walking, and reduce strain on your knees and ankles because the poles push you to longer strides, which means less total strides on those sore knees.

Nordic Walking works because I’m stronger and lost 15 pounds during training. Hopefully I can string together 14-minute miles for the whole distance. Enjoy the race!

Curt Myron
President, American Volkssports Association

Looking for suggestions of fun things to do in Portland?

Visit these great resources for information on Portland best shops, restaurants, and attractions:

  • Last July, The Oregonian and Oregonlive published an awesome article with lots of tips. Click HERE to read full article.
  • Click HERE to check out Portland Marathon's "Going the Distance" travel service. We can help you book your trip or a vacation package.
  • The Hilton Hotel will honor the special Portland Marathon rate for guests who wish to stay a third night. The hotel will also be offering guided walking tours around downtown Portland during marathon weekend.
  • Travel Portland is an excellent resource for all things Portland. Visit for more information

Connect with other Portland Marathoners via:

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