Hood River — This past Sunday, Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge once again provided the perfect venue for the fifth annual Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon, with more than 1,300 participants registered in various categories including a new category in the Half Marathon this year — the Dog Leg.
“Racers from at least 42 different states came to the gorge for this event, many make this a multi-day vacation with their families, some come just for the day from Portland, Seattle, Eugene or Boise,” said race director, Chad Sperry. “I consider our State of the Nation Challenge a big hit. The first runner from each state to register received a custom Columbia Gorge Marathon shirt.”
The race started and finished in Hood River at the Port Marina Park.
It started out flat through Hood River, then up to the old highway trail, with continued gradual climbing to the half marathon just past the Twin Tunnels.
As the full marathon runners continued, they headed downhill to Mosier, and then climbed up to the Rowena Crest turnaround.
In the two events, there were some top marks put up by the field.
Caldwell, Idaho’s Mike Anderson surpassed the field for first place in the half marathon with a final time of one hour and 12.34 minutes.
Joe Maravilla, 52, of The Dalles, competed in the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon and timed in at 1:47:49 in the 13.1-mile race.
Also on the local front, Hood River native, Brett Ely, led the women’s field in the half marathon with a final rally of 1:24.02.
Of the hundreds of athletes who competed in the 26.2-mile marathon, Portland’s Chuck Engle rampaged through the course to grab first-place recognition with his finish of 2:47.24. Out of Anchorage, Alaska, Molly Krehlik hardly broke a sweat in her trip through the courses where she crossed the tape in 3:02.36.
Now entering its fifth year, this event has seen steady growth.
The continuing spurt has Sperry feeling that there is something special brewing for many years to come.
“The community is great at supporting this event,” he said. “The marathon and half marathon are a major event for our area. No other current sporting event draws this number of participants that stay, eat out and spend money, especially in an off-season time for the area.”
For in-depth results visit or to find out more about running events, go to www.columbiagorgemarathon.com.