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Portland Marathon: Some facts and figures

    Maybe you’ve wondered about the 7,000 or so runners and walkers who finish the Portland Marathon every fall — including this Sunday.

    Where do these sweaty people come from? Why do they race in Portland? What do they do in town — besides inhale pasta and swarm the streets?

    Marathon organizers surveyed last year’s participants to find out.

    Results show that the marathon pumps money into Portland’s economy, longtime race director Les Smith says. He wanted to respond to recent reports that city fees charged to special events do not cover the costs of extra police coverage.

    The survey also floated the marathon’s new, MP3-friendly marketing strategy. Many other races ban headphones, saying music fanatics sometimes tune out their surroundings. Portland organizers say there’s no safety hazard, as long as marathoners use common sense. And, apparently, most participants agree.

    Read on for a profile of the athletes who will descend on Portland’s streets.

    — Excerpt from The Oregonian, October 2, 2008


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