Marathon Creates Spectacle on Central Oregon Coast
(Newport, Oregon) - May 30 is the date for the latest Newport Marathon, the steadily growing tradition in the central coast town that has more than doubled its participation in ten years of existence.
The Newport Marathon winds along 26.2 miles of Newport’s streets, backcountry and beaches, beginning at Yaquina Bay State Park and its historic 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.
Along the way, runners get an eyeful of the town, its beaches, shops, fishing village and even an oyster farm along the way.
It’s a spectacle that now brings several thousand into town each year. Race coordinator Tom Swinford estimated each runner brings about three supporters.
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 28 percent of the participants qualify for the Boston Marathon because of this marathon,” Swinford said.
The course is mostly flat, with a few minor inclines along the neighborhoods and to the east of Yaquina Bay.
The first year of the marathon was 1999, where 318 participants registered. The following year, 600 became involved. By 2003, 750 had registered, and every year since then has seen registration max out at its capacity of 800 runners.
It has brought in runners from all fifty states and from around the world.
“This year, we’ve got a large contingent from Canada,” Swinford said.
A pre-race pasta dinner will be held at 6 to 8 p.m. the night before, on May 29, at the Newport High School multi-purpose room. Directions and tickets will be available at race headquarters. The cost is $7.00 per person (kids 11 and under are $4.00) and includes pasta with marinara sauce, salad and dressing, bread, dessert, and soft drinks.
The race begins 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. www.newportmarathon.org.
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