From Newport Marathon
One of the biggest races in Oregon happens on May 31 as the central Oregon coast town of Newport is filled with about 1000 runners and hundreds of spectators for the 15th annual Newport Marathon. Aside from being a major attraction and sports event, it’s a benefit for the Newport Boosters Club, where proceeds to go the club’s local education efforts.
This year’s event features an improved viewing area along the docks of Newport’s Bayfront area for those checking out that portion of the race, a local band playing at the finish line and the return of Sean Sundwall – who holds the course record (at 2:22).
Also new this year is the Half Marathon, which filled up by March.
There is a special category for walkers this year: they begin at 6 a.m. Runners begin at 7 a.m. at Yaquina Bay State Park. Awards will be presented at the Yacht Club on the Bayfront at approximately 2:30 p.m. following the race.
Along the route, runners get an eyeful of the town, its beaches, shops, its fishing industry and even an oyster farm. The course is mostly flat, with a few minor inclines along the neighborhoods and to the east of Yaquina Bay.
The spectacle doubled in size in its first few years. It began in 1999, and by 2004 it always reached its registration limit, usually in the first two months of the year.
Now, it’s the crowds that are growing, bringing more and more each year. Race coordinator Tom Swinford estimated each runner brings about three supporters.
The course is USATF certified and numerous runners have used it to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
More race information is at http://www.newportmarathon.org. Contact the Newport Chamber for viewing options and places: 541-265-8801. 800-262-7844.
For Newport lodging and activity information and complete calendar of events see www.discovernewport.com and www.newportchamber.org. 800-262-7844.