Race preview: Wheatfield Half Marathon, 8k and 3k in The Dalles

A view of the Wheatfield Half Marathon course (see the runners past that field?) from 2011. Credit: Scott McMullen

A view of the Wheatfield Half Marathon course (see the runners past that field?) from 2011. Credit: Scott McMullen

The Wheatfield Half Marathon in The Dalles is one of the best-kept secrets in Oregon running. It’s a low-cost and well-organized race, on a gorgeous course, without the crowds of one of the big spring half marathons.

Joe Dudman wrote this preview of the Wheatfield Half Marathon back in 2012, and it’s all still true:

The out-and-back course takes off from the Petersburg School, dips down a hill, then turns left onto a gently winding road along a valley between farms and wheatfields (hence the name).  Cattle and horses outnumber spectators, but the peaceful, pleasant setting will help distract you from the gradual uphill and usual steady wind.

The 8k turnaround appears around a corner at the top of a hill, while the half marathon continues to climb gently along the valley, as the canyon narrows and the road begins to wind a little more.  Enjoy the downhill as you return towards the school, but be prepared for a headwind sweeping up the valley from the Columbia.
One final climb back up the dip leads to a welcome flat last half-mile back to the school driveway and the finish line at the far end of a grassy field.  Then it’s time to enjoy some sports drink and pastries, and soak in the rolling vistas of Oregon wheat country while you catch your breath.
Here are the details:
When: Saturday, March 29, 2014
What time: 9a
Where: Petersburg School in The Dalles (see directions below)
Register: Mail in the registration form with payment by 3/26 to sign up for $10 without the shirt and $25 with. Get the registration form online here. After 3/26 and day of race from 8a-8:45a for $15 without the shirt or $30 with. Ages 18 and under can sign up for only $5 even on race day.
How to get there: (from the organizers, don’t blame us if you get lost!) I-84 to Hwy 197 (bridge exit, #87). Go south, short .3 miles. Turn right. and swing down by Big Jim’s Drive-In. Road becomes Frontage Road. Continue going 4 miles to Petersburg. Note: after crossing a bridge, take the next road (.2 miles) to the left to Petersburg School, not far down the road on the left.
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