I would really appreciate it if you would comment here on the blog for just this one post. There are 2 fall marathons I want to do in Oregon...the Columbia Gorge Marathon and the Crater Lake Marathon. Both are listed as "very hilly" and I don't think either is BQ certified, so no matter which one I choose, I will not be running it for time...strictly for fun. I'd like your opinions and will take all of them into consideration when making my final decision. Also, both are very small races.
First, there is the Crater Lake Marathon in mid-August. It's a point-to-point route that is mostly pavement with the last 4-ish miles on trails. (I love, love, love trails!) The course is along the rim of Crater Lake with altitudes ranging from 5980 to 7850 above sea level. Good thing I love hills, right? The race caps at 500 participants for all the events offered (so not just the marathon, but in the past events there have been 80-100 marathoners). There is a time constraint, as it starts at 7:30am and the course closes at 1pm. That's 5.5 hours. I can do a leisurely marathon in that time easily, so I'm not worried about the time cutoff. Age groups are 10 year spreads...not my favorite. Start temps are usually in the 50's and by 1pm average around 70.
Second, we have the Columbia Gorge Marathon in the latter half of October. It's a mostly out-and-back course. This is great, especially in a small race, if you're concerned about seeing who is ahead of you for seeing if you might place in your age group. However, I'm not a big fan of out-and-back for longer races. The average temps for this race are fantastic with an average HIGH of 63° on race day. It runs along the old highway and passes waterfalls and all sorts of nature. Average participation seems to be around 225 marathoners, but their website doesn't list a participant cap, even though I'm sure there is one. There is no on site parking and runners are brought in via shuttle. I don't mind that at all.
After visiting the websites for both races, either one would be a fabulous experience. Whichever one I don't choose now, I will choose to do for a further down the road future trip to Oregon. So, if you will kindly help me out by leaving a comment about which one you would choose if it was your race and why you would choose that one, I'd be super appreciative. Thank you in advance!