In an attempt to not have too much of a "home court advantage" I thought I'd share with you what I know about the course:
The start will be at 7am and the participants will be divided into three starting corals based on the estimated finish time they gave when registering. Once lined up, if you look to your left you will see the University of Oregon School of Law:
In no time, the anticipation will be over and you'll be off and up the slight incline as you embark on the neighborhoods of South Eugene. Chances are you'll be in the midst of many, many runners at this point and more focused on getting to a good pace than enjoying your surroundings but it is within the first mile that you will pass one of many, many parks along the way. Slightly up Agate street from the start, on the left, is beautiful Washburn Park, home to many summer evening concerts (and lots of spring "smoke outs" during the day):
Shortly after the park, the slight incline, that you probably didn't notice, will even out before turning into a decline. There will be a 90° right hand turn as you reach 24th street and the downhill slope will continue right past my house, where my kids will be searching the crowd for me and hopefully cheering you on at the same time.
|this is last year's pic... Calvin's sign will hopefully be more "running" related this year|
In just a few strides past my house and another park, you will be at the first mile marker. There you will make another 90° right turn up Harris street were you will continue going up for 3 blocks before heading back down to Hilyard street. From there the next 2 miles will be a virtually flat and straight (with a few little curves and one road change). During this time the crowd support will pick up, you'll pass the first water station (just before mile 2) which is outside of Amazon Pool and Park and you'll probably be getting into your groove. You will also pass an Albertsons grocery store on the left and if you were to look to the right at that point you would see the slight incline that is one of the few spots where the course almost overlaps:
As the route continues past Albertsons, you will make a slight left turn that will put you on to East Amazon Drive and bring you past the home of the 1st (annual?) OBC pre race pasta party dinner, Mazzi's:
|Mmmm, tasty!! But you'll want to keep running, they don't open that early anyway.|
From this point, you will continue on East Amazon with houses, a school and park on your left and the beautifully maintained Amazon Running Trail on your right.
|Isn't it pretty & green?!|
The elevation will stay fairly consistent until you begin to make a turn towards Center street. Right before that happens though, keep a lookout for this cool cottage looking house on your left:
Once past the house, the road will curve to the left and begin a slight ascent as you turn to the right and head up Center street. During this time you will reach the 4 mile marker, an aid station and another water stop. On the elevation map, this part looks like it is pretty intense but it is really fairly gradual and not super steep. Have a look for yourself:
and around a corner to take you to West Amazon Drive that will be a relatively downhill slope for the next mile and a half
Shortly after passing some apartments and a laundromat/wine store/DairyMart you'll make a series of slight right turns that will bring you through a couple intersections and back to the Albertsons you passed earlier where this time you will turn left to go up the slight hill:
This will bring you to Amazon Parkway where you will run along another bark trail (yes, I am quite spoiled to live here in this running mecca) after passing by the Amazon Bus Station:
A few quick bends in the road and you will find yourself on the bike path that runs behind South Eugene High School. Here, at about 7.5 miles you will find crowds in full force. The first few hundred spectators to arrive at SEHS will be presented with a cowbell and they will cheer you along with a lot of noise!! Take their energy and let it power you up the hill that you'll begin to encounter shortly after passing the high school. At the end of the bike path, you'll come out on 19th where you will turn again to your right and head up, up, up. Actually it really isn't THAT bad but it is a decent incline that you will notice:
At the bottom of 19th, you'll make a left hand turn back onto Agate street where you will retrace your steps past the start, get a glimpse of the finish, pass many cheering fans, a water stop, potassium loading (aka bananas, watch out for the peels) and the 9 mile marker. A quick jaunt through the edge of campus will bring you to Franklin Blvd:
There will be a slight decline as you get on the bike path that will take you through a double lane tunnel and then parallel to the river until you get to the Knickerbocker bridge:
Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot to say about the Springfield section of the marathon. I've only run it once. It's a little less scenic, and I've heard the crowd support isn't quite as great but between miles 11 and 15, there will be 3 water stops, an energy stop fueled with Clif Power Shots, several bands and an aid station. After you've been running through the neighborhoods of Springfield for a bit, you'll turn onto Centennial Blvd which is wide and basically straight. Around mile 14.5 you will pass a shopping area on the left which has a Value Village
and the awe inspiring Autzen Stadium!!!
At Autzen, mile 16, you will take an immediate left and head over a little wooden bridge and towards the Ruth Bascom bike path where you will spend the next almost 10 miles of the race! (If you click on that link it will take you to a little video of the path... pretty accurate description). During this time, you will pass through the beautiful Alton Baker Park at mile 17 where there will be an aid station:
planets in the solar system.
Between miles 17 and 18, you'll be running sandwiched between the Willamette River and I-105. Despite the interstate traffic it is a very calming place to run and since you are running with the flow of the river, let it carry you down the path until you come to Valley River Center just past the 18 mile marker. At Valley River Center, you will come across another huge fan section where their energy and music will propel you on into the quiet & serene wetlands of Delta Ponds where if you're on the lookout you'll see plenty of wildlife. Directly after the ponds you'll be at mile 19.5 where you will find another fueling station stocked with more Clif Shots.
Before you know it, you'll be passing mile 20 (with no apparent wall) and going past Marist High School where the high school marching band will propel you under then over the Owosso Bridge:
As you follow the river upstream, you'll continue on to pass several large open fields until you get to the Autzen Footbridge on your left (around mile 25.5). Here there will be a huge crowd cheering you as you run under a train crossing
|this picture is the wrong direction, you'll be coming under the bridge towards the guardrails|
|this isn't the right corner, but you'll finish right at the end of those grandstands|
In addition to all that was mentioned above, there will be some type of entertainment approximately every mile of the course. Also, each mile is dedicated to a different Eugene running legend. Happy running!