PORTLAND, Ore. — With the COVID-19 pandemic raging it was of little surprise when the Portland Marathon announced this year’s event would not happen as planned.
But the company that puts on the Portland Marathon has come up with a creative alternative, a first of its kind, they say.
"This is the only race of its kind where there’s an actual certified, measured course that is fixed in place, and has timing equipment built at different points along the course to capture the runners, make sure it’s being run correctly and on a certified course," says Jared Rohatinsky, CEO of the Revel Race Series.
You sign up, download an app and then you'll get a box delivered to your house containing your shirt, nutrition pack and most importantly, your race bib with a timing chip.
Then you show up on the day you want to run, take a selfie at the start and follow the course. You can run by yourself, or maybe with a partner at a safe distance.
This is among three options being presented to registrants of this year's Portland Marathon. Runners also have the choice of deferring to 2021 or 2022. Or, like so many this year, racing virtually.
Virtual racing has become a great way for those active in the sport to maintain that fitness, and race, sort of. But the technology OYO is trying to patent offers confirmation that a runner followed a certified course and was accurately timed, even with no one else around to compete (or witness).
When the course officially opens in September, timing equipment and cameras will be semi-permanently placed on the designated route which crosses four Portland Bridges. The start/finish line has already been set up on the east patio of OHSU's Collaborative Life Sciences Building here near the west end of Tilikum Crossing.
The pandemic is causing everyone to adjust, rethink and reimagine. The sport of road racing is finding its pace in this crazy COVID-19 world.