Portland running events

Lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement for these exhilarating Portland races.

Matthew Costa Shamrock 4 cropAthletes of all ages enjoy the annual St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Run.
Matthew Costa via Flickr

Home to the national Nike and Adidas headquarters, a cadre of Olympic-caliber runners (including silver medalist Galen Rupp) and more than 100 miles (160.9 km) of trails and paths, Portland enjoys a well-earned reputation as a runner’s paradise. A vibrant race scene also makes the Rose City a must-visit for aspiring marathoners, with first-rate running events peppering the calendar from spring through fall. Discover the region’s spectacular beauty and welcoming athletic community with these classic local races, from 5Ks to marathons.


Shamrock Run

Distances: Half marathon, 15K, 8K, 5K

Racing season kicks off with the Shamrock Run, Oregon’s largest running and walking event. Run through dynamic downtown Portland in a sea of green at this St. Patrick’s Day-themed race, with live music, salmon chowder and Widmer Brothers beer waiting at the finish line.


Rip City Race for the Roses

Distances: Half marathon, 10K, 5k, kids 1K

An homage to Portland’s legendary basketball team, Rip City Race for the Roses begins at the Rose Quarter, home to the Portland Trail Blazers, before crossing over the nearby Broadway Bridge. Because parking is so limited in the area, taking public transportation like MAX light rail or TriMet bus to get to the Rose Quarter on race day is encouraged. Proceeds from the race go toward Albertina Kerr, a Portland organization that has been providing programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges, empowering them to live richer lives, since 1907.


Stumptown Trail Runs

Distances: 50K, half marathon

Set along the verdant trails of Forest ParkStumptown Trail Runs are an opportunity to traverse the park’s beloved Wildwood Trail and explore some of its lesser-known paths. (Good to know: the race can be challenging, with 4,000 feet [1,219 m] of elevation gain.) Benefits in 2019 went to Forest Park Conservancy, an organization protecting the city’s 5,200-acre (2,104-hectare) urban forest by maintain trails, restoring habitats and more.


Starlight Run

Distances: 5K

The annual Starlight Run is a beloved Portland tradition, taking runners along a 5K course through downtown Portland at dusk. The parade immediately precedes the Portland Rose Festival‘s Starlight Parade, meaning there are thousands of people along the course eager to cheer you on.

Helvetia Half Marathon

Distances: Half marathon, 10K, 5K

The annual Helvetia Half Marathon encourages runners to “leave the city behind” to enjoy the race’s course, which offers scenic views of rural Washington County’s countryside. The race begins at Ron Tonkin Field, home to nearby minor league baseball team the Hillsboro Hops, and ends with a post-race party with food, beer and live music.

Grateful Dad Half Marathon

Distances: Half marathon, 10K, 5K

Celebrating all the groovy dads in our lives, the Grateful Dad Half Marathon happens every Father’s Day weekend along the beautiful Columbia River, with great views of the cascade range. A breakfast follows the race, including a beer garden and live music.

Mt. Hood Marathon

Distances: Marathon, half marathon

A notably speedy race, the Mt. Hood Marathon & Half Marathon takes you from Timberline Lodge at the base of Mount Hood and through charming towns and forested foothills along the mountainside. The race’s downhill slope can help anyone looking to set a personal record, but taking in the scenery of Mount Hood National Forest is rewarding in itself.


Foot Traffic Flat

Distances: Marathon, half marathon, 8K, 5K

Fly past charming family farms and pumpkin patches on Portland’s pastoral Sauvie Island in the Foot Traffic Flat, one of fastest races on the West Coast. (A nearly flat course all but guarantees plenty of personal bests.) This Fourth of July tradition ends with all-American hot dogs and fresh-baked strawberry shortcake, with plenty of ripe berries sourced from the surrounding farms.

Red, White, & Blues

Distances: Half marathon, 10K, 15K run/walk

The annual Red, White, & Blues race celebrates Fourth of July weekend in West Linn, Oregon, bringing runners to the tree-lined country roads along the Tualatin River (and for half marathon participants, the Willamette River as well). The race ends with a Fourth of July party with live blues music, beer, wine and a vendor village (along with a hot dog eating contest, for those who worked up an appetite).


Wings & Wheels Half Marathon

Distances: Half marathon

Starting and ending at Scappoose Industrial Airpark, the Wings & Wheels Half Marathon offers a unique opportunity to explore scenic byways surrounding the area and catch gorgeous views of natural wetlands and wildlife. Upon finishing the race, enjoy a pancake breakfast and a pint of beer at the beer garden. (A donation to the Scappoose Food Pantry of cash or non-perishable food is suggested.)


Wine Country Half

Distances: Half marathon

The annual Wine Country Half takes runners through the heart of the Willamette Valley in Yamhill County, passing through a cluster of Oregon winegrowing regions: Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge. (Note: pairs of two can also sign up as a relay team.) The race ends with a celebration at the finish line, including a live music festival and wines made by 20 local winemakers.

Bridge of the Goddess Half Marathon

Distances: Half marathon, 10K

Departing from the deck of the iconic Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, Oregon, the Bridge of the Goddess race takes runners along a breathtaking course, ending at scenic Marine Park (home to the famous Sternwheeler, a red, white and blue triple-decker paddle wheeler operated by Portland Spirit Cruises).

Sunset on the Springwater

Distances: Half marathon, 10K, kids race

This Saturday evening Sunset on the Springwater race takes you on a fast and flat course through Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood and through the Springwater Corridor, starting and finishing at Sellwood Riverfront Park. (Runners are encouraged to throw around a frisbee, have a picnic or jump in the river for a swim before the race.) Runners celebrate finishing the race with a sunset party, with a beer garden, live music and barbecue in the park.


Portland Marathon

Distances: Marathon, half marathon

Taking runners along a loop of Portland along the east and west sides of the city’s Willamette River, the Portland Marathon is an excellent way to see a lot of Portland in one great run (along with being a pretty flat course and a Boston Marathon qualifier). The race starts and finishes at Waterfront Park, crossing four bridges and passing by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Run Like Hell

Distances: Half marathon, 10K, 5K, kids’ half-mile

Feeling good about your 10K pace? Try running the race in full costume! This zany Halloween-themed event invites thousands of participants to “Run Like Hell” through the streets of downtown Portland dressed as zombies, witches, superheroes and other wacky characters.


Holiday Half Marathon

Distances: Half marathon, 10K, 5K

One of Portland’s favorite winter races, the Holiday Half helps get you in the holiday spirit with gingerbread cookie aid stations and carolers serenading you along the course. Taking place on Swan Island in North Portland, the race offers runners scenic views of the Willamette River (along with photo opportunities with the race’s mascot, Freddi the Yeti).

Upcoming races

Mentioned in this Article