The local organizing committee (LOC) for the World Athletics Championships Oregon 22 has revealed the marathon course. Spectators will be able to line the course and experience the world-class competition for free.
The men’s and women’s marathons, taking place on July 17 and July 18, 2022, will be contested on a mostly flat 14-kilometer looped course that will run through Eugene and Springfield. They will start and finish in front of the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.
“The opportunity to run a marathon at a World Athletics Championships right here on U.S. soil would be an experience of a lifetime,” said Emma Bates, 2nd-place finisher and top American woman at the 2021 Chicago Marathon. “The looped course gives runners the ability to learn and adapt as the race develops, and I think that will result in some fantastic, strategic competition.”
The course follows long sections of the iconic marathon course used for the 1972 and 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials, while also being routed to showcase the beauty and history of Oregon through the landmarks and landscapes of Eugene and Springfield.
“Our objective was to design a course that prioritizes the athlete experience while honoring Oregon’s natural landscape, indigenous people, and long-held passion for running,” said WCH Oregon22 Road Events Course Manager Ian Dobson. “As members of this community, we’re proud to give the world’s best runners the opportunity to compete on a course that holds so much history and potential. These marathons will write a new chapter in Oregon’s running story, creating new legends in the footsteps of Frank Shorter, Jacqueline Hansen, Kenny Moore, Joan Benoit, and countless others who raced these roads as they helped inspire and redefine what road racing could be – not only in the U.S., but globally.”
The loop begins on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, named after the American Civil Rights leader. From there, it moves into Alton Baker Park, a 413-acre natural area in Eugene.
While on Day Island Road within Alton Baker Park, the route will follow alongside Pre’s Trail. Designated as a City of Eugene historic landmark in 2019, Pre’s Trail is a bark running trail that celebrates University of Oregon track and field legend Steve Prefontaine.
Another feature of this part of the course are the Kalapuya Talking Stones. Showcased in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park, these 15 basalt stones are carved with Kalapuya words and their English translations. More information on the Kalapuya Talking Stones, the Kalapuya people, and the history and impact of indigenous peoples in this area
The course will cross over the stunning Willamette River, considered the lifeblood of the Willamette Valley, and then move into the City of Springfield. Competitors will traverse Main Street before running beneath the canopy of a stretch of incredible giant sequoia trees.
“Springfield, Oregon couldn’t be more proud to host the best runners in the world,” said Sean VanGordon, Mayor of the City of Springfield. “It will be so exciting to see a world championship event with the backdrop of Springfield, Oregon’s historic downtown and our iconic river views in Glenwood. TrackTown USA has long been woven through the story of Springfield, and I am glad we continue to contribute to the legacy of the World Athletics Championships.”