Central Oregon Coast Race Brings in Thousands This Weekend
(Newport, Oregon) – This Saturday – June 1 – is when the central Oregon coast town of Newport will get flooded with a little over 1,000 runners and a few thousand people cheering them on.
It's the 15th annual Newport Marathon, a quickly-growing sports spectacle on the central Oregon coast that involves some 26 miles of Newport streets, beaches, ocean views, and back country.
Registration for the event shut down in May; it always maxes out fairly quickly to its limit of 1,000 runners, said organizer Tom Swimford.
The Newport Marathon begins at Yaquina Bay State Park and its historic (and possibly haunted) lighthouse. Runners then zip along the beachside roads, through Nye Beach, then looping 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.
While the course is mostly flat, there are a few minor inclines through neighborhoods like Nye Beach. Along the way, runners get an eyeful of the town, its beaches, shops, its fishing industry and even an oyster farm.
The marathon doubled in size in its first few years. It began in 1999, and by 2004 it always reached its registration limit.
These days, it's the crowds that are growing. Swinford estimated each runner brings about three supporters.
In order to help the throngs attend, more transit buses were added for spectators in recent years. 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. Parts of this street shut down to accommodate them.
The Newport Marathon has been rated one of the fastest in the nation. Swinford said quite a few entries are hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year.
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 Yaquina Vew School (825 NE 7th St. Newport, Oregon) at approximately 2:30 p.m. following the race. http://www.newportmarathon.org/
Contact the Newport Chamber for viewing options and places: 541-265-8801. www.newportmarathon.org. You can see more about Newport at the Newport, Oregon Virtual Tour, Map.
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