The Eugene Pre-Cap

necessary foreword : I’m no expert – I’ve spent barely a cumulative week in Eugene, OR, but I’ll be damned if every one of those seconds weren’t spent preening the grounds and scouting for future visits as it catapulted to the top of my “favorite places on Earth” list.

I don’t fall often, but when I do it’s fast and HARD.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My 2012 Eugene Marathon race recap

The Eugene Marathon, now in its seventh year, is a race I’m permanently penning into my calendars from now until something physically forces me from clicking “register”. Or until I have a really shitty race there. Which, having only run it once I guess is possible, but lets not think about that.

Getting To/Staying In Eugene

First, don’t poop yourself when you look up flights into Eugene airport. It’s tiny, with few airlines and flight options. Big brother PDX is just a 2 hour drive away, and you can get a rental car for the weekend for like $60 (keep in mind the cost of gas both ways and whether you’re splitting the costs with someone when weighing your options.) If you fly into EUG cabs and shuttles are ~$30/pp but if there’s more than one of you might as well split the rental costs and have some wheels. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to have a car in town (we didn’t for the Trials) but it is convenient.


the welcome committee at EUG is pretty rad and worth the propeler plane ride

There are few hotels in Eugene – check out VRBO or for a rental instead. Most times it’s actually cheaper AND you get a whole house instead of a stale hotel room with people on all sides of you. It’s nice to have a more homey set up for pre-race routines (and post-race celebrations) – stocked kitchen, bedrooms with doors, multiple bathrooms? Cha-ching. Oh and don’t be weirded out – most listings are solely rental or vacation units so it’s unlikely you’ll fall asleep with someone’s wedding photo staring at you from the bedside or be confronted with a used loofah in the shower.



Keeping it real Eugene Marathon ‘12 with Em, Margot, and SkinnyRunner

In Town/What to Do, Drink, Eat

Run, duh

Want a few shakeout miles? Maybe scope out some of the course? Good idea. The path along the Willamette River (Ruth Bascom) is easy to find, not get lost on, and includes some of later miles from the race course. Visitor & navigationally-challenged-friendly.

ruth bascom bike path

a few months after our pre-marathon shakeout we unintentionally found ourselves on the same photo-op bridge at the Trials. Kismet.

And maybe you’ve heard of a guy named Steve Prefontaine? He’s sort of a big deal and has his own trail named after him. 4-ish? miles of woodchip awesomeness tucked just outside of campus. It was a little hard to find – there weren’t any “exit here for Pre’s trail” signs, but once you’re there you’ll know.


pres trail

Garmin data from a Pre’s Trail run (google maps does list the trail if you zoom in far enough)

Eat/Drink, also duh

There are plenty of options in town – from hippie vegan cafes to Subway – you won’t go hungry or have to pack a spare suitcase with your own rations. Below are the places I’ve eaten and would recommend. And remember, if you’re renting a house the grocery store for home cooking is a great pre-race choice.

Breakfast : Off the Waffle, Studio One Café

Lunch/Dinner : Morning Glory (veg), Agate Alley, Café Yum (haven’t tried – only heard)

Liquid carbs & post-race celebration (duh) : NinkasiRogue Ales Public HouseWild Duck


The Course

I vividly remember like 80% of the course. I guess my brain realized it was going to be a special race and afforded me a photographic recount of nearly every step. Paired with Garmin Player I was able to piece together a (hopefully helpful) play-by-play of the marathon. Elevation charts can be deceiving, and sometimes it’s good to have a general idea of what’s coming up beforehand? But if you like going in blind or being surprised go ahead and X out of this window now.



somewhat scary elev chart from

Eugene Marathon – Garmin Connect

(ignore 26.2 on – I threw my watch at a friend before finishing and didn’t stop it until we met back up afterwards.)


2012 start line with my homes SR, fasterbunny, and sweaty

0-1mi : very gradual climb out of chute, quick decline after turn into neighborhoods

1-1.5mi : steep but short climb, right back down

1.5-2.5  : straighten out down Hillyard St

2.5-4.25 : gradual (barely noticeable) climb along quiet, tree-lined residential road. time to lock in!

4.25-6 : quick steep climb (~50 ft) up the turnaround, gradual descend back towards town on other side of road

6-8 : parks, schools, residential cheerleaders. easy miles and changing scenery

8-8.75 : “The Hill(s)” – .3mi +70ft, dip, turn, .3mi +50ft. HUGE cheer area including gorillas handing out bananas, Hayward in view at peak.

8.75-10 : pass by Hayward, the start, the crowds, dip under the highway and out towards the Willamette through industrial land

10-10.5 : duck into shaded tree-covered path, cross bridge over water

– HALF SPLIT – veer left along Patterson Slough (holla, Pre’s Trail), cross Autzen footbridge, back up Agate to Hayward


(FULL) 10.5-12.5 : veer right from split, through the park, hear rushing water, some peeks of river


Margot’s photo (bunny ears!)

12.5-13.1 : suddenly pop out of park into residential, left on 10th, half timing mat in front of big (school?building 

13.1-16 : boring straight shot down commercial road (w centennial/mlk jr) – groceries, shopping plazas, traffic lights, but lots of people. Ran through a water-sprayer arch thing around 15

16-17 : Autzen Stadium sighting! Off-road soft path back towards the water, surprising amount of spectators


17-20.5 : back to covered river trail – past the canal, a movie theater, al fresco hotel restaurant, retirement home… random pockets of people but mostly just quiet and serene by the water

20.5-21 : up and over Owosso bridge (ouch), lined with cheerleaders, ignore the wall fears

21-25 : few “bumps” (~20ft climbs) on windy park path. pockets of spectators. nice group of bushes for a squat break, if required… (this IS a first hand recount)

25-25.5  : path opens up to dead grass and nothing and it’s ‘WHAT IS THIS?!’ and ‘HOW THE FUCK FAR AWAY AM I??’


just keep going…

25.5-26 : the roundabout to the footbridge comes in sight, very faint stadium noises and cheers in the distance. a right turn back up into town, across the highway

26 – finish : the barriers line Agate St and people pack the entire stretch to Hayward. turn in and the final 150m are in front of packed stands on one of the most storied tracks in America. way cool if you’ve got enough energy left to realize it (I didn’t)


BEER TIME. The turf warm up area behind Hayward was perfect for recovering/laying down unable to move and reuniting with friends. PLUS they added a beer garden this year! If I go missing look for me there first.

Thus concludes this excessive and kind of creepy rehash on a race many of us will be dreaming crazy taper dreams of all week. Rest up, get excited, see ya in Eug!

Sarah OUaL

28 thoughts on “The Eugene Pre-Cap

  1. Reading this makes me so jittery, to the point of feeling nauseous! I am really hoping it is as magical and special as you and Emily say it is! I need a magical marathon! It would fabulous if I ran into you and Emily. If not you two will rock the crap outta the half!


  2. Thanks for sharing this! I REALLY want to run Eugene one year. Maybe I will use it as my first full marathon or just run the half. Between you and Emilysweats, you have sold me on running in Oregon!


  3. My palms are sweaty and I have butterflies, just reading this. Thank you for the taper week obsession…I, of course, have my Garmin Connect open to compare my training routes to the climbs/distances of just to reassure myself that the hills aren’t going to kill me :) 4 more days!!


  4. You must try Sweet Life Patisserie on 8th & Monroe. Words can’t explain how terrific their desserts are. Better than stupendous. I am smitten with their chocolate mousse – although everything I’ve had there has been amazing. While Ninkasi is great, Oakshire brewing is also worth checking out (they are sponsoring the beer garden). It is a bit out of the way, but delicious beer and a very ‘Eugene’ tasting room. Voodoo Donuts downtown has ‘unique’ donuts and a big gorilla on a bike. But really, if you enjoy dessert, you shouldn’t leave town without getting to Sweet Life – you owe it to yourself.


  5. You’re amazing! I may or may not have read this and your Eugene race recap 20x in preparation for this race. THANK YOU for the detailed course information and most importantly, thanks for the tip on where to get some rad post-race brewskis. I’ll be seeing you at the Rogue Ales Public House. ;) Cheers.


  6. Another GREAT spot to drink beer in town is Falling Sky Brewing co – 13th and Pearl – If you love Ninkasi, do yourself a favor and check this place out! They have great FOOD too! By Marathon 2014 they’ll have another location closert to Ninkasi, in the up and coming brewery district. I’m (jogging) the half and I’ll hoping to say hi!


  7. I was thisclose to running Eugene this year but I chose Shamrock instead. A decision I was fine with until I read this post, which now is giving me a tiny case of the sads. Bookmarking for when I do run Eugene eventually! Good luck this weekend :D


  8. Oh my word!! So glad to have found your blog. Ran Eugene last year and was on my own journey and couldn’t remember much about the course except feeling a little hopeless at 25.5 when it seemed I was in the middle of nowhere. Thank you for all the reminders as I’ll be there to enjoy it again this year! Good luck!


  9. Pingback: Saturday quick links: race editions | Jillian Keeps Moving Forward


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