Olympians Racing In RNR Portland Half

Among the highlights of the Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon course are two bridge crossings over the Willamette River. Photo: Ryan Bethke

One of the highlights of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon is running over the Willamette River twice on the loop course. Photo: Ryan Bethke

A 10K race has been added to the mix this year.

Several Olympians will compete in Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon. In the women’s race, Olympian and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series veteran Nuta Olaru of Longmont, Colo., will join Costa Rican Olympian Gabriela Trana, and Jess Petersen, a Danish Olympian as defending champion Christina Overbeck Crawford returns to defend her title. Olaru was the women’s masters division runner-up at the Boston Marathon on April 21.

In the men’s half marathon, Youssef Baba Zirari of Vancouver, Wash., will carry his PR of 1:03:54 to the start line against a field of Oregon locals, including Dan Kremske of Team Run Eugene and Portland athlete Jason Griffiths. Travis Boyd of Edmonds, Wash., will return sans stroller–in 2013, he set a world record half marathon time of 1:13 while pushing his child.

PHOTOS: Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon

The race will kickoff May 18 in downtown Portland. A signature Rose Festival event, the 13.1-mile block party will celebrate its third year with more than 11,000 runners expected to participate.

The race will once again start and finish on Naito Parkway downtown, running along the waterfront and across the Hawthorne Bridge into East Portland, Laurelhurst Park and over the Steel Bridge before heading into Waterfront Park for a celebratory finish. Runners will join friends and family for a free post-race concert featuring G. Love & Special Sauce. The public is invited to attend.

Along with the half marathon, runners can take on a new 10K race. The 6.2-mile distance welcomes runners of all abilities and spots are still available in both races.

“We’re thrilled to bring this running celebration back to Portland. It’s a beautiful tour through a great city and the new 10K invites a whole new audience to participate in this unforgettable experience,” says Alex Bennett, event director. “We hope the community will join us as well, as spectators cheering on the runners, volunteers lending a hand or at the post-race concert at Waterfront Park.”

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