Local News

Bend Marathon Attracts More Than 1200 Runners

BEND, OR -- A Portland man’s Central Oregon vacation a year ago led to the creation of the Bend Marathon, premiering this weekend. Kerry Loehr tells KBND News he was shocked to learn there was no marathon in a region with such an active running community. "We happened to be shopping at Foot Zone, and my wife and I were talking, we couldn’t believe Bend didn’t have a marathon. And, my partner and I had just started race directing, so we started doing our due diligence to see what it would take to do so. Really the idea was born by visiting Foot Zone and realizing there was a gap in the market."


Loehr admits others have attempted the idea before, but says this time is different -– in part in how he and partner Blair Hook marketed the race over the past year. "We sold Bend as a destination race. When we designed the course, we wanted to highlight everything Bend has to offer. It starts downtown, runs along the Deschutes River, skirts the Old Mill District, runs through Farewell Bend Park –- actually the half and the full split at Farewell Bend. Then the half goes over to Riverbend Park, then back to the finish downtown."
Runners in the full marathon will continue down the Cascade Lakes Highway and turn around near the Seventh Mountain Resort. For more details on the race course, click HERE. Loehr says the looped road course is another reason this effort will be more successful than past attempts which were "point-to-point" and not favored by most avid runners. 
More than 1,200 runners are already registered for Sunday's events, with 70% coming from outside of Central Oregon. "Bend is a community of 80,000 people and that’s not a big enough community to sustain a nice-sized road marathon," Loehr says. "So, what we needed to do was to market it nationally, which we’ve done. We’re bringing in people from 31 states all over the country, including Canada."
Both the half and full marathon start in downtown Bend Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Loehr says he expects the half to take about three hours, and the full 26.3-mile marathon to take about twice that. Runners will finish at the Mirror Pond parking lot.
Drivers may experience some traffic delays along the race course, although Loehr says the start time and route were developed to try and avoid full road closures. The City of Bend issued a traffic notice on Tuesday, encouraging runners and spectators to park for free in the Centennial Parking Garage downtown. 

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