Last Sunday, I ran the Portland Marathon (10/7/2007)
We arrived in Portland on Saturday afternoon, checked into the host hotel (Portland Hilton) and went directly to the expo. After picking up our numbers, chips and race packets, I bought a waterproof vest as rain was expected for the race. After a great pasta dinner, we crashed and got up bright and early for the race. Fortunately, the rain did not materialize, so we had a dry start with the temperature in the mid 50's.
With over 9,000 runners, it took a few minutes to cross the Start line. Overall, the course was great, fairly scenic and flat. I had heard about the St. John's Bridge at Mile 17 from several people prior to the race, but nothing prepared me for the sight of the bridge.
One minute, I'm running along a fairly flat stretch of road, the next I'm running up the off-ramp, gaining 150+ feet of elevation in a half mile or less (check out the topo map below). I managed to run all the way to the highest point and the view was a great reward.
I never hit the wall, but definitely slowed my pace after Mile 21. I cranked up my iPod, ignored the cries of pain from my legs and had a strong finish. I would definitely recommend Portland, it was well organized and a lot of fun.
Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:
Organization - Incredible. Very well organized and staffed. Grade: A
Course - Fairly scenic, a few "industrial" spots that could have been avoided. Grade: B
Aid-stations - Well staffed and stocked, approximately every 2 miles. Grade: A
Swag - Long sleeve, dri-fit shirt. Grade: A