There's a sweet new marathon happening in the Columbia Gorge near Hood River, OR, this Sunday, October 25th called, well, the Columbia Gorge Marathon. Don't confuse this with the old Gorge Marathon from a few years back. This is a totally and completely new and different event.
A good buddy of mine from the cross country team at University of Idaho, Chad Sperry, is the race director for the marathon. He has a lot of event planning experience under his belt. As the owner of Breakaway Promotions, he is the race director for these really cool cycling races: Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, and Tour of Utah. This year, Breakaway even hosted the Road Cycling National Championships. He is a top-notch organizer/planner/promoter, and he has a good thing slated for this weekend. A very good thing.
Chad was kind enough to bike the course with me last week (it was my second time riding in less than a week!). It is a beautiful, scenic, rural, quiet, and hilly course. With almost 2,000' vertical in this lollipop loop - on the closed-to-traffic Old Columbia Highway and a loop through the rural countryside around Mosier - it's definitely not a p.r. course, but I promise it's a great one!
If you're not quite feeling up to the full marathon, there is also a 1/2 marathon, which is an out-and-back on the Old Columbia Highway. Also, there is a 2-person 1/2 marathon relay, where each team member runs 6.55 miles. Both the full and 1/2 courses also go through the famous Mosier Twin Tunnels.
In making sure this is a quality event, aid stations are located every 2-3 miles and will have water, Gu2O, and Gu. Very few small marathons actually stock their aid stations with Gu, so I'm impressed by that. Also, the aid stations will be staffed by high school cross country and track runners, so there's sure to be lots of cheerleading for runners.
I'm really excited to run in this inaugural event. Come out and join me.