Labeled the most scenic marathon in the country, the annual Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon will take place Oct. 27, starting and finishing at the Port of Hood River’s Marina Park.
The marathon start time is 9 a.m. with the half marathon start time slated for 9:30 a.m. The course starts with a climb to the Historic Columbia River Highway; which is where much of the run takes place. The 13.1-mile half-marathon turns around just past the Twin Tunnels trail in Mosier, while full 26.2-mile marathon runners continue through Mosier to the Rowena Crest before turning around.
Last year more than 95 percent of the participants were from outside the Gorge region, with the race’s 1,100 entrants hailing from 36 states and five countries. The continuing growth is something race organizer and owner Chad Sperry, of Breakaway Promotions, is excited about.
“The community is great at supporting this event,” Sperry said. “The marathon and half marathon are a major event for our area. No other current sporting event draws this number of participants that stay, eat out and spend money, especially in an off-season time for the area.”
Local high school sports teams volunteer to staff the aid stations and other race event tasks as fundraisers for their teams.
“We grant funds directly to their related sports program at the high schools for their community service in the marathon event,” Sperry added. “This acts as a pretty good fundraiser for those programs.”
A special dog-friendly half-marathon has been incorporated into the event this year, which will run as the last wave of runners. A free kids marathon (1.2-mile fun run) is also part of the activities, with a 4 p.m. start time.
n Registration for the event is open online at columbiagorgemarathon.com. See the same website for additional event details.