Newport Marathon on Central Oregon Coast, June 4
(Newport, Oregon) – Saturday, June 4 brings the 13th annual Newport Marathon back to the central Oregon coast, where some 900 runners zoom along 26 miles of Newport-area streets as thousands cheer them on.
This year the theme for the event is “Newport: What a Great Place to Live.”
It starts at Yaquina Bay State Park and its historic lighthouse, then winds along 26.2 miles of Newport’s streets, backcountry and beaches. Runners then zip along the beachside roads, through Nye Beach, then loop back to run through the Bayfront district, along the river’s estuary and then back to the waterfront and the finish line at the Embarcadero Resort.
Along the way, runners get an eyeful of the town, its beaches, shops, fishing village 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 of 900.
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.
“We want the community to really come out and welcome the runners and their families and friends,” Swinford said. “This is becoming more and more a community event.”
In order to help the throngs attend, more transit buses have been added for spectators this year. They will be picking up and dropping off spectators in a continuous loop during the race.
Local businesses put up signs welcoming the runners. Owners, residents and tourists alike come out in droves to cheer them on, at places like the Bayfront, where the east lane of the street is shut down for five hours to accommodate them.
The Newport Marathon has been rated one of the fastest in the nation. “It’s fast enough that 21 percent of the participants qualify for the Boston Marathon,” Swinford said.
The Newport Marathon has attracted all sorts of accolades and professionals. Their award medals won some awards for design. One woman is coming to qualify for the Olympic trials. And the event was featured in the national publication Marathon and Beyond Magazine.
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 Embarcadero Resort at 2:30 p.m. following the race.
Contact the Newport Chamber for viewing options and place: 541-265-8801
Glass floats will be available for awards and purchase. These floats are made from the recycled medals from last year.
“With the green idea in mind we are working to recycle as much as we can,” Swinford said.
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