Living and Running on the Outskirts of Tracktown, USA

One area of town the Eugene Marathon Route won’t take you through is Santa Clara. If you are running the full 26.2 you will get pretty close once you cross the Owosso Bike Bridge on the northernmost section of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System.

Nestled two miles North, up the deciduous tree-lined River Road, you will find the community of Santa Clara, a.k.a. my neck of the woods. Sixty percent of the homes in Santa Clara fall just outside city limits in unincorporated lane county, my home included. And let me tell you, country living on the outskirts of Tracktown, USA is pretty much ideal for running.

I’ll admit, I felt more than slightly trepidatious  when we were house hunting and found our now-home. It seemed so far. But I remember sitting in the passenger seat as my husband turned right onto Spring Creek Drive and then left off of Scenic Drive onto River Loop 2 (yes, these are really the names of the streets). It was Spring, and pollen from the trees and tall grass was so heavy it was blowing in the wind like cotton or snowflakes. We saw hand painted signs for small organic farm stands and for fresh eggs. We saw horses, even cows, and of course, lots of chickens. The two yellow “traffic” signs on River Loop 2 read “Share the Road” and “Bee Friendly”.

And then I saw a runner on the soft shoulder, and immediately a grin made its way across my entire face. I instinctively knew that this was going to be my future neighborhood.

It seemed so far out of my beloved, quirky little Eugene, but I took to country life like a fish to water. And come on, compared to Southern California traffic, or even Portland traffic these days, a few miles down River Road is nothing!

Lots of avid runners, and even more cyclists, choose to live in Santa Clara because it is so conducive to an outdoor, healthy lifestyle. The roads are almost entirely flat, and not heavily trafficked by cars.

You can easily access the Ruth Bascom Trail for your long run, or you can head east for ten miles and end up at Fern Ridge for a refreshing dip!

Rather than having to wade through the swarming crowd at the Saturday market Groundwork Organics Farm stand, we can just ride our bikes or run to the actual farm. Or to Thistledown Farms. Or to Lone Pine Farms.


If you are traveling from out of town for the Eugene Marathon, or you are a local who just wants to explore new running or biking routes, I definitely recommend checking out this unique little area just on the outside of town.

Warning: You may fall in love, never want to leave, start cross training by horseback, and find yourself adding more chickens to your backyard flock every spring.  


Becca Marx

Location: Eugene, OR.

I grew up in Southwest Portland and attended Beaverton High School, where I absolutely did not run. I traded in my beaver tail for webbed feet in 2008 by becoming an Oregon Duck. It was here, in Tracktown, USA that I fell in love with the sport and the city of Eugene. I’m involved with the OSWIM Team in Training Chapter, a fundraising organization for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I also love me a good ol’ pub run (beer and running are great friends, especially in Eugene). I enjoy convincing friends to register for their very first 5ks, and adored coaching the 2015 Holt Elementary Girls On the Run Team. My favorite distance is 13.1, but 26.2 is a great challenge to stride towards every so often. I can’t wait for the 2017 Eugene Half!

Becca Marx