Guide to the WCH Oregon22 Marathon Course
Eugene, Oregon is proud to host the world for this special event. This incredible event is taking place for the first time on American soil. For athletes who will run this marathon, this course is a mix of history and natural beauty that is unique to our city. The course includes sections run by U.S. Olympic Trials athletes in 1972 and 1976. Here are some of the highlights along the way.
The World Athletics Championships Oregon22 marathon will begin right in front of Autzen Stadium on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. Here at the starting line, we honor Martin Luther King Jr., one of America's greatest heroes and acknowledge that our fight for racial justice continues.
Alton Baker Park
Alton Baker Park is a lush green park beside the Willamette River. In the 1940s this area housed the Black community who were prohibited by local law from owning or renting property within the city limits. This rudimentary settlement of Black families was called Tent City or Across the River. To learn more about the history of Black families in Eugene, download the Strides for Social Justice app and take a historical tour of Eugene.
Much of the route through Alton Baker runs alongside Pre's Trail - a bark running trail created to honor track legend and Eugene resident Steve Prefontaine.
Kalapuya Talking Stones
As you travel from Alton Baker Park to Springfield, you travel through the Whilamut Natural Area. Much of the Willamette Valley is the ancestral lands of the Kalapuya peoples, an Indigenous group that still exists under the Grand Ronde Tribe name today. Like many Indigenous languages in America, the language of the Kalapuyas is endangered. The Talking Stones were created as a step toward preserving the language and culture of the Kalapuya people. Be on the lookout for these large stones etched with Kalapuya words and their English definitions. One stone gives the definition of the word Whilamut which is how the Willamette River and the Willamette Valley get their name.
The course runs under the Interstate 5 bridge and into Springfield for the second half of the loop. Springfield is not just the inspiration for the tv show The Simpsons, it also has shared in Eugene's track history.
After running alongside the Willamette River for much of the course, runners will now cross over it twice on the Main Street Bridge. On the second crossing headed East, you will be crossing the river in view of Millrace Park. The Mill Race was excavated by hand by the founder of Springfield in 1852 and has been used for power and many other purposes. It works as a shortcut connecting the Middle Fork of the Willamette with the main stem Willamette River.
Ken Kesey Mural
As the route heads into Downtown Springfield, murals are abundant. Of course, the Simpsons-inspired murals are to be expected and they are great! But there is also a very tall mural of writer, counterculture icon and child of Springfield Ken Kesey at the corner of 4th and Main that should not be missed.
On Centennial Blvd, you cross over Interstate 5 this time back into Eugene. The course ends back where it started in front of Autzen Stadium- home to the Oregon Ducks football team where the fans are loud and The Duck mascot rides on motorcycles and does pushups for touchdowns. And of course, it never rains at Autzen!