the race course through the McNary Estates Neighborhood. Now typically a race occurring entirely through a solely residential neighborhood wouldn’t necessarily appeal to me. However, the 5pm race allowed us runners to combine two wonderful things: running and Christmas lights!
Almost 300 runners lined up in front of the Keizer Courthouse Fitness Center to take to the neighborhood. Christmas music was blaring courtesy of Silverton Health and pushed us merrily out of the starting area. The course was mildly different from last year’s inaugural event, with the first half mile taking place on the cart paths of the darkening McNary Golf Club. Following this section, we all took to the streets in a large, approximately 2 mile loop.
I had driven this route with my family about 10 days prior to the race and expressed my sadness that the lights seemed to be a little lacking. However, during the run, this was not the case. It appeared that the neighborhood had found their holiday spirit and illuminated their lawns and houses moreso than I remembered.
The next few miles had pretty cathartic qualities for me. December has been cruising by and I feel like I haven’t been able to enjoy the holiday season as much as I wanted to. The weather was cold (but not snowy), work was busy, and the kids have been on-and-off sick. I just have not been able to really feel like Christmas is just around the corner.
But that all changed as I passed by house after house of Christmas lights. It was the first real time in December that I had been able to relax, get my mind off all the extra burden that had been piling up, and just take in the holiday season. While not every house was decorated, there was always a lit-up house or two in my view that I was able to use as motivation.
Before I wrap up, I want to get a special shout-out to the high school-aged female runner in front of me. I overheard her talking with a friend at the start of the race that she was going to push herself today. That quicker pace caught up to her right after mile 2, when I noticed her stopped with her hands on her knees on the side of the road. After a few seconds, she was off and running again- still ahead of me. When I reached the spot where she was bending over, I noticed she left a fun little “gift” from the heart (stomach) on the pavement below. It isn’t too often that someone can “rally” like that and pick up pace to the finish. Nice work!
The final stretch to the finish was back on the golf course cart paths. By this time, the night had enveloped the sky and it was more difficult to see. There were bright generator lights and I found it awesome that there were actually a few volunteers who had heavy duty flashlights and would guide runners for 30-40 yards of darkness as each of us passed.
The post-race festivities consisted of the raffle I referenced earlier and runners were fed hot chili and liquid refreshments. While there were some initial techincal problems with the immediate results through ChronoTrack, awards were still given out. Given that we were nesteled warmly indoors, the delay was no big deal at all.
Overall, this is yet another great Keizer race out there. It has already grown larger, but not so much that it feels less overrun. I am proud of my hometown for races like this. Come visit us sometime!
View full results here.