The Portland Marathon
If you didn’t know, the Portland marathon has ended after 47 years. After an investigation by the Oregon Justice Department found that now ex board member and race director, Lester Smith, was fined $856,000 for receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the marathon. Smith has also been banned from serving as director of any charitable organization and can’t seek reinstatement with the Oregon State Bar.
Now if you were to look back at all the problems the race had; getting approved for the race permit one month before the race, participants running longer distances because the course was not clearly marked, and the lack of accountability the organization took for all of the mistakes, the decision to end the marathon is not completely shocking. But to discontinue the marathon because of one man’s screw up does not seem fair to the almost 10,000 runners that train for months on end. (Those who had been registered for the 2018 race have been refunded.) For some, the Portland marathon serves as a qualifier for the Boston marathon which is the mother of ALL marathons, others run it every year. It’s not just the runners who are being screwed over but Portland itself. About 69% of the runners from last year were from out of town and with October being the beginning of tourist season until the summer, this can make a huge dent in the tourism profits. Like it or not, tourism supports 35,090 jobs and travelers bring in about $251.3 million in tax revenues.
I have never experienced anything like the love from the city more than when all the supporters who came out and cheered for most of the marathon. Because the Portland marathon is not just the top Fall marathon in the U.S., it’s internationally recognized, I don’t think Portland has held its last marathon. Have you met any runners? They are persistent SOBs. Come on, who runs 26.2 more than once AND LIKES IT?! No sane person, I can tell you that.
Will it take some time for the marathon to clear its name?
Do they need to do better to address past mistakes?
The Portland marathon is the first marathon I have ever ran and finished, and I do not believe that will be my last time running a marathon in Portland.