– May 30 sees the return of one of the largest races in Oregon with the 16th annual Newport Marathon and Half Marathon. It brings in about 1,250 runners and about three times as many spectators, who line up along side streets, the Historic Bayfront and areas with ocean views. There's also a special category for walkers.
Aside from being a major attraction and sports event, it's a benefit for the Newport Boosters Club, where proceeds go to the club's help with sports and other activities at Newport High School. It's also a nice boost to the local tourism economy when summer hasn't quite kicked in yet.
Special shuttles will be provided for the crowds, to take them to various areas of the race. New this year: the road along Yaquina Bay will be closed until 1 p.m. to allow even safer access for spectators. At the finish line – the Yacht Club on the Bayfront – awaits beer, chowder, t-shirts and even a live band for watchers and participants.
Walkers begin at 6 a.m. Runners begin at 7 a.m. at Yaquina Bay State Park. The Half Marathon starts at 7:45 a.m. Awards will be presented at the Yacht Club at approximately 2:30 p.m. following the race.
The course is USATF certified and numerous runners have used it to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Along the route, runners get an eyeful of the town, its beaches, shops, its fishing industry and even an oyster farm. The course is mostly flat, with a few minor inclines along the neighborhoods and to the east of Yaquina Bay.
In the first few years of the run, registration ended up closing within a month or two, with the event reaching its maximum of 1,000 runners. These days, it's the crowds that keep growing. Organizer Tom Swinford estimates each runner brings about three supporters.
More race information is at http://www.newportmarathon.org . Contact the Newport Chamber for viewing options and places: 541-265-8801. 800-262-7844.