2014 Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k Run / Walk Preview (Portland)

A mariachi band at the Portland Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k. Photo credit:

A mariachi band at the Portland Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k. Photo credit:

When I moved to Oregon last April, the first thing that caught my eye about the state– before I ever even moved here– was the extraordinary number of races to look forward to each month throughout the year. In Arkansas, our major road race is in March in the narrow six weeks between winter ice and patio weather. Only the bravest, sturdiest Southern souls would dream of racing in May when the temperatures are already in the 80s with sub-tropical humidity so thick it feels like you’re breathing at altitude. 

Like any good runner, I wanted to begin to plan out my race calendar for 2013 in my new home state. Cinco de Mayo caught my eye at that time, but after much consideration, I decided that running a half marathon two weeks after moving 2,700 miles across the entire country was a little crazy, even for me. Last year, Cinco de Mayo fell on a Sunday. As my then-boyfriend (now Future Husband) and I drove to our first Portland-resident brunch that day, we stumbled into road block after road block. “What on EARTH,” I huffed to FH as we looped and looped around the city blocks to no avail. Finally– I saw it: a lone runner scuttling along in a sombrero. The police officer waved our car through, and I arrived at brunch fashionably late and dripping in race envy. I vowed to poncho up and run the Cinco de Mayo half the following year.

In 2014 the Cinco de Mayo race celebrates its 20th anniversary of being a locally produced, centrally located, affordable “name your price” event for runners and walkers of all paces. You can choose from three distances: a half marathon, the 10k or a 5k. All race participants receive two (two!!) ice cold beers from Lagunitas, tasty food from Pepino’s restaurant (I can vouch for those burritos– KILLER), live mariachi music, and more at this fun late-spring tradition. Half marathon finishers even get a beautiful custom medal– especially impressive because the race price is a sliding scale purely on the honor system. For all you busy bees out there, here’s the single scoop version:

WHERE: Pioneer Square Courthouse, Portland, Oregon

DATE: Sunday, May 4, 2014

TIME: 7:45am HM; 8:20am 10k run/walk; 8:30am Kids’ Half Miler; 9:10am 5k run/walk

STYLE: This year, following the Run Like Hell (aka Train from Hell) debacle, they are re-routing the race to avoid all trains. Course map TBD at press time.

TIME LIMIT: 15 minute/mile pace minimum for the HM

EXTRAS: Beer, Mexican food, HM medals, mariachi music, chip timing, short sleeve technical race shirt (bamboo shirt can be added on for $15), clothing check, and mucho mas!

TEMPERATURES: Historical average high of 65° F, low of 48° F

PACKET PICK-UP: Friday, May 2nd @11am-7pm and Saturday, May 3rd 10am-3pm at the NE Foot Traffic; also, race day pick up @6:30am

©2014 Terrapin Events

©2014 Terrapin Events

Since I’m a big sucker for hilarious names for pricing schemes, here it is:


$39 – 5k run/walk

$44 – 10k run/walk

Sliding scale- Half Marathon run/walk (suggested price $50-$99)

$99 – 5k or 10k VIP Experience

$139 – Half Marathon VIP Experience

$5 – Kids’ Half Miler (no shirt)


$44 – 5K run/walk

$54 – 10K run/walk

$99 – Half Marathon run/walk

$8 – Kids’ Half Miler (no shirt)

cinco de mayo race runner-wearing-sombrero-and-holding-beer

While I haven’t run the race myself yet and can’t speak to race-day details, there are two things I love about Terrapin Events’ Cinco de Mayo potential. First, as a person who started running when she was radically broke as a cheap way to stay fit (the whole “my front door is my gym” thing), I love the idea of a sliding scale system so that runners of all financial backgrounds can afford to run and enjoy the half marathon. Whether you choose to shell out $40 or $99– pay what you can, on the honor system.

On the other end of the spectrum, I love the idea of their $139 VIP experience. The VIP Experience includes entry into the event, a limited edition long-sleeved, half-zip technical shirt (WHAT), a short-sleeved commemorative race shirt, private, heated/covered area to hang out in before and after the event, catered post-event breakfast by Madison’s Grill Private bar with micro brews and mimosas (my go-to beverage after a long run), commemorative pint glass, private clothing check, private bathrooms, and NO WAITING IN LINES FOR ANYTHING. Can I get a hallelujah? If you consider $99 the value of the half marathon, paying forty bucks to get all the rest of that swag is a huge steal– the long-sleeve, half-zip tech tee is probably worth that alone.

Regardless of how you run it– whether it’s for $40 or $140– the race field is limited to 2,000 lucky participants. Be sure to grab your slot now for this unique, close, and affordable spring race.

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