The Portland Marathon returned Sunday under a new name. It may be running into complications out of the gate though as some participants were delayed by a freight train downtown. The race is under new management after it was initially canceled in April when the company Next Events disbanded. The group RunWithPaula Events and Portland Running Company founders Paula and Dave Harkin took over the marathon in June, rebranding it the “Portlandathon.” The race got underway early Sunday morning, with runners in the full and half marathons competing on a similar out-and-back course as previous Portland Marathon routes. Videos posted on social media show dozens of runners waiting on Naito Parkway at the Steel Bridge as a freight train crosses the Willamette River -- a few miles from the finish line at SW Salmon. The course is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, and is approved by the USA Track and Field Association. However, finishing times for first and second place vary by 20 minutes, which could be attributed to the train delay. That delay could also impact qualifying times for the Boston Marathon. RunWithPaula Events tells KATU news that they reached out to Union Pacific when organizing the race to request that trains would not be running across the bridge during the race. Paula Harkin also tells KATU that the longest the delay could have been would be about 22 minutes. KATU News reached out to Union Pacific and they said, “Mechanical issues on a prior train resulted in a train crossing the tracks during the Portland Marathon. Unforeseen delays can affect Union Pacific’s efforts to accommodate community requests, and we apologize to those who were impacted by this situation.” (10/07/2018) ⚡AMP
This weekend the Portland marathon kicks off a new era with a new name—the Portlandathon. Thousands of people will participate and among them, is Adam Gorlitsky. His goal? Improving the lives of the disabled community one step at a time. Gorlitsky flew into Portland from South Carolina to walk the half marathon, even though he’s paralyzed from the waist down. “It's going to be an awesome day,” he said. “I used to run track and cross country in high school.” That was before a car accident in 2005 turned him into a paraplegic. Gorlitsky never thought he'd race again until a doctor's appointment two years ago and new technology that changed everything-- the robotic exoskeleton. “Honestly, from the second I stood up I was like, ‘I gotta do road races!’,” Gorlitsky said. To help afford the $85,000 exoskeleton, Gorlitsky sold T-shirts that said: “I Got Legs." Last year, he turned that slogan into a non-profit with the same name. “Our mission is to improve the lives of the disabled community,” Gorlitsky said. (10/05/2018) ⚡AMP
Portland has turned to a local race organizer in its search for an operator for the city's 2018 marathon. Mayor Wheeler and the Portland Bureau of Transportation say the October 7 marathon will be overseen by the Run With Paula events firm. The firm's leaders, Paula and Dave Harkin, also own the Portland Running Co. The married couple has operated the Hippie Chick and Helvetia half marathons in Washington County. “I believe our great city deserves an equally great race,” Paula Harkin said. “Fall just would not be the same without a marathon in Portland.” The Portlandathon will include the showcase 26.2-mile event, as well as a half-marathon, the Mayor’s 5-mile race, and a 4-mile river walk. The former Portland Marathon
group informed the city in April that it would be canceling the fall race. Earlier that month, the Oregon Department of Justice reached an $865,000 settlement with Les Smith, the Portland Marathon's former race director. The agency's investigation found that Smith had illegally received hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the race organization. The race was canceled but the Portland Bureau of Transportation put together an expedited, 7-question application process that attracted several interested event organizers. In the end, only Run With Paula was qualified based on the city's criteria. Paula and Dave Harmin operates two running retail locations (800 SE Grand Ave. in Portland and 10029 SW Nimbus Ave. in Beaverton). Dave is a dynamic speaker and coach who inspires hundreds of athletes every year through seminars for a broad range of groups and his work with Portland Fit. His wife (and co-owner), Paula, is also the race director of Run with Paula Events. They put on four award winning races around the state each year. Now it will be five races. (06/02/2018) ⚡AMP
The city of Portland Oregon will select a race organizer to keep the Portland Marathon
running in 2018. The former board of directors for the Portland Marathon announced last month the race would be canceled for 2018 and the organization would be dissolved. Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland Bureau of Transportation reported Friday that several event producers have contacted the city to express interest in hosting a marathon in 2018. The city is asking interested applicants to respond to seven questions that assess whether they have the experience, organizational capacity and financial resources necessary to successfully organize a marathon for October 2018. Response are due by May 25. City officials want to know if organizers could recruit at least 170 volunteers to staff the barricades and whether they'd be willing to use the 2017 Portland Marathon route. Applicants will also need to prove they can provide a $25,000 deposit to host the event. Submissions that meet the qualifications will be tossed into a "blind draw," which city officials will conduct June 1. (05/19/2018) ⚡AMP
The Portland Marathon
board of directors has canceled the 2018 race and plans to dissolve the 47-year-old Portland Marathon organization, according to an open letter the board sent Friday to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “There will be no Portland Marathon in 2018," began the letter, attributed to board members Richard Busby, Julian Smith, Andy Ritchie, Jim Schaeffer and Gina McVicker. The same letter was sent to the City of Portland at 11:30 a.m. Friday. The move comes more than a week after former Portland Marathon event director Les Smith reached a settlement with the Oregon Department of Justice. Smith was found to have illegally borrowed money from the Portland Marathon and was required to repay $865,000, of which $50,000 would go to the Oregon Department of Justice to cover the cost of the investigation. In Friday's letter to The Oregonian/OregonLive, members of the new Portland Marathon board, assured the 2,500 people already signed up for the run that they would get a full refund, through the race registration platform, Active.com. "Our decision was based on a number of factors, including a decline in race registrants for 2018 and the Board's understanding of the City of Portland's desire to move in a different direction," wrote the board. (04/28/2018) ⚡AMP
Under a settlement with the Oregon Department of Justice, the former race director of the Portland Marathon
agreed to pay $865,000 in penalties.
The DOJ found that Lester Smith had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the Marathon for himself or his companies. The practice is illegal and occurred at a time when the Portland Marathon nonprofit lacked adequate oversight of a board, as required of nonprofits.
In all, $50,000 of the settlement covers costs for the state investigation. The rest will go back to the Portland Marathon, Inc.
Smith disputed the findings, according to a copy of the settlement documents, provided by DOJ.
But in addition to the monetary settlement, Smith has agreed not to lead or serve on the boards of any nonprofits, operate any foot races in the future, and, as a lawyer, will not seek to be reinstated to the state bar. He also agreed to dissolve his company, his for-profit company Next Events, LLC.
The investigation into the nonprofit began around the time the race was facing an uncertain future in Portland. Under Smith's leadership, the permit for the race last year was initially rejected by the city.
The race proceeded last year, and the Portland Marathon nonprofit is now under new leadership. (04/18/2018) ⚡AMP
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler will allow the Portland Marathon to hold a race in 2018, his office just confirmed. "We are proceeding in 2018 according to the status quo," he said. In 2017, the Oregon Dept of Justice opened an investigation into the nonprofit's corporate structure and financial relationships with other businesses owned by two Portland Marathon's two board members. In 2017, fights with the city over course layout and policing led to a delay in the marathon getting a permit to operate. (01/23/2018) ⚡AMP