There are many ways to ring in the new year in Portland, but the one that provides the best views and a great start to New Year’s resolutions is AA Sports’ First Run 5K in downtown Portland.
At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2014, thousands of runners and walkers celebrated by traveling Portland’s waterfront loop. New this year, race organizers created a 10K event, which was the 5K route twice, in the days before First Run in response to many requests for a longer distance option.
The 5K route was held almost entirely on the Portland waterfront trail, a paved sidewalk that runs parallel to the Willamette River. It crossed the bottom deck of the Steel Bridge and also included the pedestrian walkway of the Hawthorne Bridge.
The route was mostly flat with a few small inclines, but the views path were the real treat of the race. The Portland skyline was visible throughout the entire race and some festively lit boats shone from the river.
With the early sunsets Portland has during the wintertime, many people enjoy these views during evening runs along the waterfront, but for those who don’t normally get to see such sights, it was breathtaking. The mild and clear weather, unusual for this time of year, was also a benefit of this year’s race.
With the last-minute addition of the 10K route, there were many volunteers who were helpful in directing runners to the correct routes.
And the party itself–before and after the run–was spectacular! Giant illuminated snowflakes above and strings of lights created a frosty ambiance. Runners, walkers and supporters were able to enjoy fun music, costume contests, hearty snacks and soup and both warm and cold drinks.
First Run provided fitness and fun for the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration!