PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Portland Marathon organizers have a new plan after last year’s train snafu.

During the Portlandathon last year, a freight train blocked the runners’ route for more than 20 minutes, causing concern for some athletes who wanted to hit a Boston qualifying time.

“We were waiting five minutes, and then ten minutes,” Debbie Mannix, a racer delayed last year, said. “And then the people, the big runners, marathoners and half marathoners, started showing up. One girls was in tears, one guy started getting angry.”

There’s a new route and new organizers this year–and they’re making sure that doesn’t happen again.

According to this year’s course map, runners will cross three city bridges Sunday and wind through 20 different neighborhoods, passing many of Portland’s landmark spots. Along the way, racers will cross train tracks, but they won’t be stopped, according to organizers.

“When a train needs to cross the route where runners are present, we temporarily reroute the runners onto another block and have them run basically a different route for two to three blocks so that we can get a train through,” Jared Rohatinsky with the Portland Marathon said. “All of the runners end up still running the exact same distance.”

Rohatinsky says the Union Pacific Railroad has agreed to stop their crossings in Portland Sunday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., including on Stark and Southeast 2nd.

Runners still in the race after that will be sent down a different route so they won’t have to cross the tracks. The total distance will stay the same and racers will end up at the same finish line, organizers say.

So far, 6,000 people have registered for Sunday’s event. They’re split about 50/50 between running the full and the half marathon distance.

The race begins at 7 a.m. and concludes around 2 p.m. at Portland’s waterfront.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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