It’s Not a Sprint, It’s the Portland Marathon
If you haven’t been following the Portland marathon, let me catch you up.
In 2014, there were so many EMS incidents during the actual race, that no ambulances were available in the entire Multnomah County system.
In 2016, the marathon almost got shut down because the safety plan for the race was not given to the medical operations, volunteers or law enforcement until the racers were 30 minutes into the race. Many runners use this race to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but when marathoners ran almost half a mile further than necessary in the 2016 Portland race, they were unable to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
2018, the former board member and race director of the Portland Marathon, Lester Smith, was ordered to pay a settlement of $865,000 by the Oregon Department of Justice after being found guilty of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the marathon. Smith is also banned from serving on any charitable organization and can’t be reinstated by the Oregon State Bar.
The marathon was rebranded as “Portlandathon” and run by founders of RunWithPaula Events and Portland Running Company, yet there were still problems. Runners were stopped by a freight train crossing over the Willamette River by way of the Steel Bridge. This blocked the route through Naito Parkway, which was only a few miles away from the finish line, making runners, yet again, unable to qualify for Boston.
It seems like nothing is normal when it comes to this marathon. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Mayor Ted Wheeler, pulled the plug on Brooksee LLC, a Utah company who had won the bidding for the 2019 marathon. The statement said it wanted the marathon to go with “a bolder vision” to reflect all that Portland has to offer.
“We have a rare opportunity to start over again and design a marathon that evolves and elevates this long-standing Portland tradition,” Mayor Wheeler said.
According to the Portland Business Alliance, Brooksee was estimated to bring 8,000 runners (in 2017 an estimated 4,360, 2016 an estimated 6,684, 2015 an estimated 8,391, 2014 an estimated 9,466, and 10,581 in 2013) with a projected a local economic impact of $6 million, and $300,000 in taxes to go to the city. In all honesty, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a marathon take place in Portland come October 2019. Are there going to be WAY more ups and downs, lefts and rights, to get to the marathon? Of course. Unfortunately, what it has reflected in recent years is a terrible vision of what Portland has to offer.