EUGENE, Ore. – There are big changes coming to this year’s Eugene Marathon weekend. As thousands of runners take to the streets April 27 and 28, they will be traveling along a new route.
For the last nine years all races during the Eugene Marathon weekend have finished with a final run around the Bowerman curve, before crossing the finish line at Hayward Field. But with old Hayward Field a distant memory as crews work to build a new state-of-the-art track, set to open in 2020, the Eugene Marathon has moved down the road and across the river to finish this year’s races.
Autzen Stadium, a place where fans cheer on the University of Oregon football team, will now be a place where fans will cheer on thousands of runners. Runners will end their long runs right on the fifty.
A change to the end, also means a change to the course.
“There are some distinct differences between the new course this year and the previous course, but if will feel very similar to runners once they get through the first few miles and get downtown and across ferry street bridge,” says Ian Dobson, Eugene Marathon Assistant Race Director.
This year, runners will start on the Leo Harris Parkway in front of Autzen Stadium and then travel to the Ferry Street Bridge where they cross the Willamette River. Runners then travel through downtown Eugene, before heading to the University of Oregon campus,
“The good news is for the marathoners they get a couple more miles with the half marathoners this year. In that past they’ve split at about 10 miles, this year they split at about 12 miles. So, I think the marathoners will enjoy having company for a couple more miles,” Dobson said.
Eventually runners will make their way along the bike paths and through Alton Baker Park before ending right on the 50-yard line in Autzen Stadium.
“I think especially with the change this year of going through downtown, which we haven’t done in the past, it’s kind of brings the specialness of Eugene and TrackTown USA to life,” Dobson said.
To celebrate the specialness of this area, the community is invited to attend this year’s finish festival, which will also be held at Autzen Stadium.
“We’ll have food, drinks vendors, and a bunch of stuff going on. And that’s open to the public. Anyone can come to that. It’s a fun place. You can see runners approaching the stadium, running inside the stadium, it should be a pretty from atmosphere for everybody,” Dobson said.
Shuttles will still pick up at the same locations, but there will also be parking at Autzen Stadium. This year’s Health and Wellness Expo will still be at the Lane Events Center.