5 Must Run Portland Half Marathons
Half marathons can be intimidating, but are an acheivable goal (provided that you put in the training!). Every year Portland plays host to a wide variety of 13 mile races; everything from costumed, light hearted jaunts to more serious clock driven events. Be a part of the running fun, and add another notch to your half marathon belt (or medal to your wall) by participating in one of these Portland halfs.
With a tagline like “Leave the city behind,” you may picture a picnic and a jog along the water--not so! This challenging course is very hilly, and follows country roads that roll through the northern rim of the Tualatin Valley, in the West Hills of Portland. Push yourself to the limit in the hills of Washington County, enjoy a stadium finish, then celebrate at the end with Helvetia Tavern burgers.
This Halloween race strongly encourages participants to wear costumes, and overall is a lighthearted and fun event. The half marathon course starts at Pioneer Courthouse Square and travels through downtown, roughly following the Willamette River, before diverting inland for a romp through Marquam Park (via Terwilliger Path). This has some rather hilly stretches, so it’s best for training--it’s unlikely to be your fastest time, unless someone really gets into their costume! As this race is very popular, it’s a good idea to register early.
This race is one of the more competitive ones, and is arguably one of the best organized. This is a straightforward, no frills, flat course that circles through downtown, following the waterfront before leading back to the start point, the Oregon Convention Center, via Broadway Ave. This is a great race for setting a personal record for time! Thousands of runners sign up for this event every year, so signing up a few months in advance is prudent.
The Foot Traffic Holiday Half is a course full of cheer, as carollers sing to you throughout the course. This flat course starts and ends at the Adidas North America Campus, and follows along Willamette Blvd up to Pier Park and back. Many participants wear festive outfits, from Santa suits to candy cane get-ups. This is a colder event as it’s in the winter, so make sure to wear layers and shoes that can handle getting wet.
A running event that celebrates rock’n’roll music? Sign us up! This scenic course highlights the city’s most famous sites, and boasts live bands at every mile, as well as cheer squads. This race makes use of wave starts, which allows for this huge race to not feel too crowded. However, though there is a definite party atmosphere, the Rock N roll half is timed and competitive running is encouraged. Each year the field tends to grow so it’s a good idea to sign up in advance if you want to run this event.
If you’ve already run these races and are looking for more upcoming half marathons in Portland check out the RunGuides list of Portland half marathons for a full list of every half marathon race happening in and around the city. Or, if you're in the mood for another distance you can always check out our full calendar of Portland runs.