Race: Eugene Marathon
Runner: Austin M
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1539567328
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- The Team – A fun group of 4 Team RunRunners ran this race, and it was a blast to compete with familiar faces.
- The Setting – Track Town USA, baby! You can’t beat the running history and community in Eugene. Finishing on The “Historic” Hayward field is a unique part of this race, you’re running on the same surface as some track legends.
- The Aid Stations – It’s a larger marathon, so I fully expected to have to ‘throw some ‘bow’s’ to get water/gatorade. But the aid stations came up so frequently (every 2 miles or less) that I never had to fight for a drink. It was also nice to have that much access to liquids, I’d rather have too many stations than too few.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
- The Course – Touted as being “flat and FAST”, the courses constant rolling hills were a big issue for me. The course is comprised of 3 main sections that loop around the University of Oregon campus; the first 8 miles loop South and back to Eugene, then the second 8 miles run East into Springfield and back West, and the final 10 miles are a long and lonely out and back along the Willamette River. If you’re not prepared for the final 10 miles to be quiet and secluded it can really bring you down.
- The Swag – The shirts were awful! The race offered a “women’s” shirt, or a “unisex” shirt, both Nike DryFit shirts with the crazy Eugene Marathon logo. The unisex option was the most oddly cut tech shirt I’ve ever seen, runs very small (my medium would best fit a teenage girl), and the print is very sticky! I heard from other runners that the women’s option was not any better, and cut like a funky crop-top. You’d think a marathon in Nike-topia would have some solid swag.
- The Expo – Granted I showed up in the final hour and a half of the expo, but it all seemed understaffed/undersupplied. I picked up my bib, and the volunteer said they had run out of the bags given to runners to hold their expo swag, as well as use as a bag drop on race day. So no bag – no bag drop. I honestly don’t know how they could run out of bags knowing the number of athletes racing. This race also has a mandatory bib pickup at the expo the day before. If you can’t make the expo you have to pay $15 to have race-day pickup. Most of the vendors at the expo were empty by the time we got there, it was generally just a lame pre-race expo.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Not a whole lot. The corrals seemed a bit unnecessary, and the first time I’ve had to start in a corral which felt weird. They also start the half marathon runners alongside the marathoners, so you might be racing someone running half the distance.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
- The biggest highlight was probably the weather and scenery of the course. Even though my legs blew up I was able to really enjoy the bright spring weather in Eugene. You run through some beautiful parks and along a big river, and through some highlights of the U of O campus like Autzen Stadium (Go Huskies!).
- The track finish is also pretty special if you haven’t run on Hayward field. I believe this race won’t finish on that track next year due to renovations, but hopefully they bring that back.
Lessons Learned – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around
- Pace Management – Be far more conservative in pacing early on in a marathon. It’s a long race, and going even slightly too fast early on can come back to haunt you.
- Race Attire – Bring enough clothes to be prepared for any type of weather. I was expecting wet and cold and should’ve had a singlet and shorter shorts.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
There are rolling hills throughout the course. The section running parallel to the river is very quiet and can be lonely.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
It’s really well organized, with major Eugene roads shut down and course markings throughout all 26.2, lots of volunteers and aid stations, which all make the race feel professional.
Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?
Not really, the bib pickup is required the night before, so you have to be in Eugene the night prior to the race or pay a fee. It’s open entry, and good for all levels of runners. Hotels seemed to fill up pretty quickly so the sooner you can book one the better.
Weather and typical race conditions
It’s unpredictable, as is typical North West spring weather. This year called for lots of rain and cold, and it was hailing the night before. Race day was warm and sunny, so be prepared for everything.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Sort of, the first 10 or so miles are friendly for spectators, as well as the final 2, especially the finish on the track. The 14 miles in the middle are somewhat spectator friendly, but not many spectators make the trek to the river section.
How’s the swag?
Not great, see above.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?