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Best Marathons of 2016

View our Best Marathons of 2016 Winners.

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Race Dates

2017: Sunday, October 8, 2017
2016: Sunday, October 9, 2016

Course Information

Profile: Rolling Hills
Type: Mostly Loop
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 56°F (13°C)
Average High: 66°F (18°C)
Average Low: 46° F (7°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 98.70
Course Score: 98.70

Race Size

2016: 4,421 Finishers
2015: 5,716 Finishers
2014: 6,258 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2017: N/A
2016: 6.9%
2015: 7.5%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

Marathon Pace Bands & Elevation Wrist Bands

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Course Description

The first five miles of the Portland Marathon course are in downtown Portland. The start is a gradual 1 mile downhill with the next 2 + miles along Waterfront Park. This stretch has a gradual elevation gain of 140 feet followed by an immediate 2 mile downhill returning to the waterfront. The next section of the course from the 5+ mile mark to mile 12 is flat and travels through the northwest section of town.

The course makes another gradual downhill and heads along the flat border road of the Forest Park area through mile 17. The course gains approximately 150 feet over the next mile as runners go over the St. John's Bridge.

The next section runs along Portland's east bluff that faces the Willamette River from approximately mile 18 through mile 24. There is an elevation loss of about 140 feet from mile 22 to ~24 with a slight rise as runners go over the Broadway Bridge. Then it is back down to Marathon Avenue and onto Naito Parkway along the waterfront to the finish.

Marathon Rankings

The Portland Marathon was the 16th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 13th largest in 2015.

Last year 6.9% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 7.5% of runners qualified for Boston in 2015.

This gives the Portland Marathon the 324th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 280th highest percentage in 2015.

Its Course Score of 98.70 ranks it as the 236th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 9th fastest course in Oregon.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Portland Marathon a PR Score of 98.70. This PR Score ranks it as the 171st fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 6th fastest in Oregon.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 213 feet (64m)
Min Elevation: 7 feet (2m)


Recent Portland Marathon Reviews

4.1 Stars from 8 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2016 Portland Marathon.   

4 / 5 Stars


I'm not the best person to ask. It rained, the course was mismarked, they didn't adjust my time accurately. The city was nice, and the brave folks who came out were awesome. There were a lot of aid stations that were fully manned and didn't run out of things.

Race Tips

There are some sections of the race in no man's land, out and back through a warehouse district, along a highway (with tractor trailer traffic). Those were tough miles in the rain.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I stayed near the convention center, it was less expensive, but the public transportation was great, ran early and took me right to the start. Im used to really big races, so I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed the start was. My spectating husband stood with me almost until I started running. The bathroom lines were managable.

review of 2016 Portland Marathon.   

4 / 5 Stars


Not the fastest course as there are some hills. Great scene with lots of bands around the course. Usually perfect running weather although 2016 was rainy. My main complaint is the mile markers were way off. The overall course was right on, but some mile markers were off by as much as 0.15 miles. This made for some added uneasiness that I did not need.

Race Tips

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2016 Portland Marathon.   

3 / 5 Stars


2016 was my third year on the course. I missed 2015, but the quality of the race organization has declined since 2013 & 2014. The course is good aside from the segment opposing fast-moving traffic on highway 30. In past years, there was name-brand athletic nutrition at the aid stations, a reusable backpack, and pace wristbands available. In 2016, there were only gummy bears and pretzels at the aid stations, no backpack or swag, and the red lizard pace teams said they didn't have financial support from the race organization to print the wristbands as they usually do. Additionally, there were news reports of a course mishap in the back of the pack which resulted in people running a 4h+ pace to run an extra mile. For an expansive large city race, these things combined to substantially change my opinion of this marathon.

Race Tips

If the aid stations are like they were in 2016, bring your own food. The only substantial climb is in mile 16, although there is a gradual climb around mile 24 that is worth saving a bit in the tank for.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2016 Portland Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Nice start and finish location downtown. Easy access on public transit.

Race Tips

Good course for faster pace in last 10 K.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Residence Inn Portland is a good place to stay. Have kitchenettes and healthy choices at included breakfast buffet. It is on the public transit rail lines and by the river path for Saturday easy run.

review of 2015 Portland Marathon.   

3 / 5 Stars


Some mile markers in the wrong spots, but this problem "averages out" as the race progresses in terms of one's overall pace. If you're a faster runner, be aware that you'll be doing your last ~1.5 miles on the same course as the finishing, slower half-marathoners, so a bit of dodging is required. And your near-finish photos will have other people in them for sure. Great weather to be expected!

Race Tips

The hill at mile 17 up to the St. John's Bridge is rough, so don't charge up it. It WILL be a much slower mile, so accept this and compensate elsewhere on the course. Bring your own source of sodium--the aid stations offer an electrolyte replacement drink that does not contain sodium. Tasty, though. I used Nuun tablets for sodium.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Take the MAX transit to the starting line, if possible, if you're not staying downtown.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Portland Marathon in 3:06:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.