Last Saturday (5/30/2009), we ran the Newport (Oregon) Marathon.
The race started at 7am at the Yaquina Bay State Park with approximately 800 participants. The temperature was in the high 40s with a good bit of fog.
Starting off, we headed north and ran a 4 mile loop up to historic Nye Beach and back. There were numerous small hills on this part of the course, but nothing serious. We ran back through the State Park and headed South East on Bay Street, following along the Yaquina Bay. The fog started burning off around Mile 6 or so, which was a bit worrisome as the temperature the previous day had been in the mid 80s.
After running the length of the bay, we headed up the Yaquina River. Like the Bay, this part of the run was very scenic/beautiful. We saw an otter, bald eagle and plenty of trees. Much better than running through a business park in Anytown, USA.
At Mile 11, we ran through Oysterville. There were oyster shooters available for anyone interested (apparently someone hit a new course record by having 38 shooters!). I decided to pass up on the opportunity, promising to have one on the return trip at Mile 18.
We hit the turnaround at Mile 15.5 in Toledo. I was feeling great even though the heat was picking up. On the way back to Oysterville, the wind picked up (this was good as it reduced the heat). Unfortunately, it grew to about a 25 mile/hour headwind, which slowed everyone down a bit. At Mile 18, I decided to once again pass on the oysters, instead focusing on getting past the wall at 20.
Miles 20 – 26 were true to form; tough and best run with an iPod. Fortunately, I had loaded mine up with plenty of motivating music to help me along.
There is one last hill at Mile 26, which is not huge, but by this point in a marathon any hill is tough. Luckily, “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” by Green Day started playing on my iPod. As soon as Billie Joe snarled the opening line “I’m not f*cking around!” my adrenaline (or what was left of it) started pumping hard. Fired up, the top of the hill with the “Mile 26” sign appeared in my sights. I made it to the top, flew down the other side (steep!) and crossed the finish. Tired, but fired up.
The race FAQ says “almost half our finishers record P.R.’s”. Don’t believe everything you read. I wasn’t even close to a P.R. :-(
Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:
Organization – Well-organized/staffed. Course was clearly marked, mile markers were accurate. Grade: A
Course – Incredibly beautiful, start to finish. Grade: A+
Aid-stations - One complaint: the website says aid stations are “approximately every two miles along the course”. This is actually not the case, especially as there are no aid stations between Miles 20 and 25 (!) and a number of the aid stations were not where the race handouts stated. For example, an aid station was supposed to be at say Mile 8.6, but it would appear instead of Mile 8.1. Grade: B
Swag – Short sleeve, dri-fit shirt. Grade: A