Race Preview: The Great Escape in Salem

the-great-escape-salem-logoRiverfront Park in downtown Salem is one of the more popular places for races to be held. The Union Street Pedestrian Bridge traverses the Willamette and connects with Wallace Marine Park in West Salem. The combined trails of the two parks make an ideal 5k route. As a result many races utilize this route, creating a slew of events on the same paths. While this is mostly unavoidable (and definitely not frowned upon by Run Oregon – we love running regardless of where it is), it is great to see a race be a little unique. The Great Escape, held on Saturday April 5, is doing a new take on the same course.

The course map will remain primarily the same as usual, but here is the kicker – there is actually going to be a series of runs tied to the initial 5k. Check it out:

  1. The top 18 men and the top 18 women from the 5k will qualify for the Eliminator course, a quarter-mile loop around the Eco Earth and Amphitheater. Spectators will line the course.

  2. After a 15 minute break, the women will do five laps of the mini-course.  After two laps, the last five runners are retired, and the remaining 13 runners escape and continue running.

  3. One more quick lap, and the last five runners are retired, leaving eight.

  4. After lap number three, five more runners are retired, leaving the top three for a final 5th lap.

  5. The men’s race will follow.  All participants in the Eliminator get a special gift from our sponsor, Gallagher’s Fitness Resources.  The top 3 receive medals.

Runners taking off at the 2013 Great Escape event. - Photo by Harold Wood

Runners taking off at the 2013 Great Escape event.
– Photo by Harold Wood

Now, I think that this is a cool concept that encourages competition and pushing yourself a little more. According to the 2013 race results, this race was relatively small and was not filled with elite level runners. With hopeful growth and more participants, this could be a fantastic race in Salem for years to come. And with the entry fee being very small ($12), it’s worth it to make a gamble.

This is a fundraiser is hosted by the Exchange Clubs of Salem / Keizer and ESCAPE (Exchange Sponsored Child Abuse Prevention Effort) which operates a child abuse prevention program in the area.

The Great Escape 5k (Salem)
When: Saturday, April 5 at 9:05a
Where: Riverfront Park
Register: Online here; $12 until 4/1 ($20 DOR)

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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