It’s Your Journey

Natalie’s Story

Natalie’s Story

I’d like to share my fitness story in hopes it might help or inspire someone else. I always considered myself healthy, but I was never athletic nor did I exercise, unless you count chasing our little boys. In 2007, I nearly died from the loss of a partial molar pregnancy – my first girl. Besides losing my baby, the experience left me extremely physically weak and emotionally devastated. I felt I didn’t want to live.
One day my husband took me out for a walk on a local track. For the first time in months I actually felt a little better! It was so therapeutic to be outside in beautiful nature and was liberating to be moving forward. We progressed to jogging.

Due to his sweet resolve to stay with me, I finished a 5k with my son, who ended up winning first place in his division. I started running regularly for my mental as well as my physical health. It was literally like turning on a light, balancing my chemistry and restoring a brighter perspective.
Miraculously we were blessed with a baby girl a few years later. I trained for and ran a half marathon to get back in shape and beat my typical postpartum depression and hypothyroidism. It worked great! But in 2013 I had another painful miscarriage which left me confused and despairing again. After many weeks of grieving, I decided that for my family’s sake I needed to take charge of my health and start running again, making a marathon my new goal. I talked my husband into it, and we trained for several months, painfully pushing back our “wall” each week. We ran at different paces, so it wasn’t always easy to stay together, but it was worth the effort. All that talking time strengthened our relationship!
I was ecstatic at the Pacific Crest Marathon starting line to be reaching our running dream together. Halfway through the race, however, my husband, who was wearing some old shoes, hurt his foot (plantar fasciitis) and couldn’t run another step. Even though most couples were running separately, I didn’t want to leave him alone since I knew he wouldn’t leave me. Encouraged by some friends who’d made a surprise trip to support us, we walked/limped the remaining 13 miles. I was proud we endured and finished, but still felt like we never reached our goal.
Now, I was ready to try sharing my health with a child one last time. The child was born the next spring, and though I was 37, due to all the running and eating right it was by far my easiest pregnancy. For the first time, I had no threat of gestational diabetes. On top of that, one nurse commented I had “runner’s legs”.
This year my fitness goal is to be able to get back in shape enough to run every step of a full marathon! I’ve lost five pounds this month since I started running again. We were very excited to learn about The Pacific Northwest Marathon, especially since it’s on a Saturday (“Chariots of Fire”). Our 16-year-old has been running every day after school since I told him about your marathon. He was born with only one kidney, and was told by doctors, “no contact sports.” But, running is something he can excel at, and he loves how much stronger it makes him look and feel. I just want to attest that running is worth the time and effort you give it. I recommend it to everyone as medicine for so many things!

On May 2nd, 2015, Natalie and her husband achieved their goal by finishing the Pacific Northwest Marathon. What made it even more fulfilling? Because of Natalie’s example of persistence, their 16-year-old son also ran the race, becoming one of the youngest to finish the Pacific Northwest Full Marathon.

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All packets that are not collected at the expo will be available at their respective start-lines.  Please plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before your event start. No ID is required to pickup your packet.

Hold my packet at the start.

Thank you!

Start Times and Locations
Marathon: 7:00 AM September 19th at Norma Pfeiffer Park in Coburg, OR
Note: Drop-offs are welcome, limited parking at start (see Parking and Shuttles for Race Start below).
Half Marathon: 8:00 AM September 19th at 33325 Wilkins Rd, Eugene, OR 97408
Note: Limited drop-off capacity, if you are dropping off a participant, plan to arrive at least 1 hour before the race. No parking at start. (see Parking and Shuttles for Race Start below)
5K: 9:00 AM September 19th at ​7th & Smith St, Harrisburg, OR 97446 ​(at Harrisburg Middle School)
All races end at the bus turn-around at 7th & Smith St, Harrisburg, OR 97446 ​(at Harrisburg Middle School)

Information regarding start times, parking and other useful information is also available via our interactive race map.

Parking and Shuttles for Race Start
The expo and finish line are in the school bus driveway just east of Harrisburg Elementary School on Smith Street. You can not drive in or park there. There is limited parking at the full marathon start, and there is no parking at the half marathon start. The 5K start is the same as the finish line.

The best parking areas are:
1. Harrisburg High School parking lot on 9th Street (on Friday during the expo, we will be competing with a football game, starting at 7:00, so fill the other areas first)
2. Harrisburg Middle School parking on 6th Street (only on the west side so you don’t block the 5K course)
3. Gravel lot between school bus parking and Middle School
4. On city street north of Smith so you don’t block or congest the race course

On Friday for the expo, we will be competing with a football game, so if the parking lots fill up, just drive a little farther north in town to find open street parking. Make sure to park correctly, and don’t block driveways or fire zones.

On Saturday, parking will be easiest before the full marathon, from about 4:15am to 6:15am. If you are going for the half marathon, go a little early in case the parking lots are full and you have to park on the street (not along the race route).

Catch the Shuttle Early
You can catch the shuttle from the high school parking lot as early as 4:45am on Saturday to the full marathon start line. For the half marathon the early shuttle starts at 6:00am and several others come at 6:30am. There are more large buses than last year, so we hope it will be less stressful for everybody.

If you are staying at either of the host hotels, Hilton Garden Inn Springfield or Life Northwest Harrisburg, the shuttle will pick up on Friday for the expo and on Saturday morning early for either race. Full marathon shuttles start from the hotels at 4:30am from Life Northwest and at 4:45 from Hilton Garden Inn. Life Northwest in Harrisburg, is only 1.5 miles from the high school.

Watch for more communications by email.

Packet Pickup
Packets are available at the expo only.  If you cannot have your packet picked up for you at the expo click the button below to notify our packet crew.