Race Preview: 2014 Zena Road Runs in Salem, OR

The Zena Road Runs (15k, 6m, and 3m) are back again for their 46th annual running in Salem on Sunday, February 2, 2014. This running staple in the Willamette Valley is in inexpensive rural race, complete with local feel and hills aplenty.

The 2014 event will follow priarily the same blueprint as in year’s past. All race distances start and finish at the Spring Valley Community Center in rural West Salem.The 3 miler and 6 miler are both out-and-backs that start at the community center and head south along Spring Valley Road. While the course is simple, it does feature a few rolling hills, some of which are pretty steep. I am planning on the 15k this year, and everything I have heard has promised a hilly challenge. This distance is a large loop, beginning north on Spring Valley Road, turning onto Bethel Heights Road and Zena Road, before the final stretch back along Spring Valley. The 15k will also pass at least 5 wineries along the way. It is important to plan that right from the gun, runners head up a very solid incline. Actually, according to our blogger Brian’s 2012 recap of the event, he stated that “The 15K made the term ‘rolling hills’ an overt threat as the first 3 miles were practically all uphill.” Duly noted.

15k runners beginning the incline at the 2013 Zena Road Runs. - Photo by Mick Evans at OregonPixels.com

15k runners beginning the incline at the 2013 Zena Road Runs.
– Photo by Mick Evans at OregonPixels.com

Even though this race is rural, the rew locals along this stretch of road who have witnessed this race for 45+ years bring out signs and cheer for runners.Parking can be a bear with cars lined for long stretches along the road (carpooling recommended). However, there will be shuttles available from the Noble Mountain Tree Farm (5115 Bethel Heights Rd) to avoid trekking a long ways. The race will feature a bag check and indoor registration and food area for if the weather is crummy. It’s a pretty small area, so don’t expect much mobility, but it is nice nonetheless.

Check out out own Brian Bernier’s 15k recap from the 2012 event or my 3 miler recap from the 2013 event to know what you are in for.

Zena Road Runs 15k, 6-Miler and 3-Miler (Salem)
When: 11a
Where: Spring Valley Community Center
Register: Online registration or mail-in is open through. $15 through 1/14, $20 from 1/15-1/31, $25 DOR; $25 for long-sleeve tech shirt (must register by 1/18 for shirt).

About Matt Rasmussen (1591 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
%d bloggers like this: