American SaniCan is proud to provide portable restrooms for running events like the Portland Marathon. As any runner knows, having reliable porta potties along your race route is absolutely crucial! We came across a meme recently playing off the idea that runners spend a majority of their time at the starting area before the race begins waiting to use the porta potty. You’re guzzling water. You’ve got a nervous stomach. And once you’re on the route, you’ll almost certainly need to stop at least once.

A revamped Portland Marathon returned to the city of Portland, Oregon in 2019 to much great success. The 48-year-old race took a new route this year and we thought it a good time to look back on the history of the marathon and give our readers an idea of what they can expect in 2020.

History of the Portland Marathon

The Portland Marathon in 2009. Photo by eddiecoyote/flickr

The first marathon took place in 1972 with just 86 marathoners (and about the same number of people running the half). For the readers who also happen to be runners, can you imagine such a small race? Talk about lots of room! The race started out on Sauvie Island, but over time the small area on the island wasn’t big enough to accommodate all of the interested runners, so the marathon moved downtown.

The marathon ended up adding to the revitalization atmosphere of the downtown and riverfront areas of Portland, bringing larger crowds to see revamped construction and the new Tom McCall Waterfront Park. With the marathon festival and all of the runners and supporters, the marathon became a major event for Portland every year.

In recent years, the marathon has become well known for attracting a large number of women runners–something the city is proud of. In 2007, 58% of runners were women and in 2016 that number was still strong at 53%. The marathon also keeps an open approach, encouraging people to come and walk the marathon, too, if they wish.

Recent Winners of the Portland Marathon

Photo of the 2019 winner, by Kaylee Domzalski/OPB

Kallin Khan won the 2019 race, opening up a big lead around mile 9 in the race. And Jamie Gibbs logged the fastest women’s time. There were some issues with the new route, as some of the faster runners (running 6 minute miles) missed a turn and that delay ultimately cost them some precious time. But the new race management company is making sure such issues don’t happen in 2020. A few growing pains will hopefully make for a highly successful next year!

Other notable winners include Hiromi Yokoyama, from Japan, who holds the women’s record originally set in 1991. The men’s course record was set in 1997 by Uli Steidl from Germany. And the oldest person to ever finish the marathon was Mavis Lingren, who completed it at age 90 in 1997!

Portland Marathon Expo

Photo by Jeremy Jeziorski/Wikimedia Commons

The expo at the marathon is also a major event, attracting visitors to downtown and the Waterfront Park–two beautiful and bustling parts of the city. Runners, and their support teams, come from all 50 states and almost 30 countries. Additionally, over 70% of participants are from out of town, so the marathon isn’t just a race–it’s a trip or vacation for most, too.

In 2020, the Expo will take place on October 3rd, the day before the race, at the Oregon Convention Center. Runners will have access to coaching programs, presentations from doctors, and access to dozens of sponsors and vendors from local groups and national running vendors. All while they pick up their packets and get ready for race day.

The Expo is a great place to learn about new products, get free samples and snacks, and take advantage of special sales happening at running stores. Think of it as a big holiday sale…for runners! Plus, you can find us, American SaniCan, there making sure that all of your needs are taken care of on expo day and race day. See you there!