Race Recap: Luckython 5K (and more)

Entering the Reserve Vineyard & Golf Club (photo by Tung Yin)

Entering the Reserve Vineyard & Golf Club for the Luckython (photo by Tung Yin)

The Shamrock Race may be the biggest running race all year in Oregon, but the Luckython has offered a great alternative race (or supplemental race for those who wanted to run both days of the weekend!) for three years now — with the last two at the Reserve Vineyard & Golf Club in Aloha. As with last year’s edition, there were three separate Saturday race times: 4:00 p.m., 6:15 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., plus a kids’ dash just before the first race.

Aloha may seem like quite a distance from Portland, but it’s usually been a pretty quick drive for me (and I’ve been out there for two Luckythons and two Halloweenathons now). From southwest Portland, it’s just the 217 and then a straight shot down Highway 8 toward Hillsboro.

As I noted in my preview of this race, all past Uberthons races at the Reserve have been on the north golf course, but this year’s Luckython was run on the south golf course. The food, medical care, and day-of-race check-in were all located in the usual spot underneath a big canopy just behind and below the main building, but the staging area was different:

Start/finish of the Luckython 2014 on the south course of the Reserve (photo by Tung Yin)

Start/finish of the Luckython 2014 on the south course of the Reserve (photo by Tung Yin)

I had signed up for the 7:30 p.m. race months earlier when there was an $8 off discount, but I wasn’t able to make it to the pre-race packet pick-up, so after parking my vehicle (there were plenty of available spaces, one of the reasons I really like this venue), I headed over to the check-in station shortly before 7 p.m. It felt like pretty close to a perfect evening for running. Last year’s Luckython was afflicted with steady rain during the earlier races, but it was dry and mild on this day. I was comfortable in a longsleeve tech-shirt and shorts with no need for running tights, gloves, or a cap.

Race director Darwin Rasmussen and Uberthoner Eileen Kuffner (photo by Tung Yin)

Race director Darwin Rasmussen and Uberthoner Eileen Kuffner (photo by Tung Yin)

After picking up my race bib, I stopped by the Accelerated Sports Medicine station to chat with Dr. William Martindale about the medical view about footstrike mechanics (which will be the subject of a future Obsessed Fortysomething Runner column).

Then I bumped into two of my favorite Uberthoners, race director Darwin Rasmussen and frequent runner Eileen Kuffner. As you can see, Darwin was enjoying a baked potato from the potato bar. Eileen had run the 15K in the 4 p.m. race but was having such a good time that she had stayed around this long.

Speaking of the earlier races, I knew that Run Oregon blogger Brian Bernier had run the 4 p.m. race. and from his social media postings, had been excited/apprehensive about the presence of elite runner Scott Pinske in the same race. Here’s the Brian take on what it meant to be racing with Pinske:

[I was e]xcited because it is fun to go against somebody fast and have someone to chase. Apprehensive because someone at his performance level is an elite whereas I an seen as a semi elite competitor. I knew I didn’t want to start with him and burn out, but to lose him early would be the same as running alone. So it is a question of strategy. I ended up starting well, but pushing too hard in the middle.

Not surprisingly, those two finished #1 (Pinske, 15:36) and #2 (Bernier, 16:51) in the 4 p.m. 5K. I had wondered if Brian started off stride-for-stride with Pinske, but Brian said, “No, not at all. I settled into my own pace and he pulled away.” The 10K and 15K races also had some pretty fast finishes, with four 10Kers running under 40 minutes (#1 Nicholas Crouch, 37:52; #2 Logan Phillips, 38:26; #3 Jeffrey Alberghini, 38:56; and #4 Adam DiVergilio, 39:16), and two 15Kers running under an hour (#1 Ryan Marquandt, 58:27; #2 Ross Crowley, 58:43). All in all, three course records had been broken, with Uberthons paying $100 for each.

The rarely seen other side of the Reserve building (photo by Tung Yin)

The rarely seen other side of the Reserve building (photo by Tung Yin)

Past 7 p.m., there was still plenty of natural light, and I was wondering if I really needed my headlamp. It isn’t heavy and it’s pretty secure, so it doesn’t bother me much, but at the same time, I’ve found that it throws off so little light in the dusk that it’s not very useful. But I am a rules follower (must be all that law school, both as a student and as a law prof!), so I put the headlamp on.

With a few minutes to go before race time, Psy’s “Gangnum Style” started playing but was, to my great relief, replaced quickly by traditional Irish music. Race director Darwin Rasmussen took the microphone and made a few announcements about upcoming Uberthons races, the role of nutrition and exercise in warding off obesity, the new repeat customer incentive (more below on this), and course notes (there were three mile markers out there, but only the third one actually read the correct number of miles; the orange cones marked potential hazards; there were no out-and-backs; the only hilly part would come near the end, a downslope followed by a rise).

Most of the 46 runners at the 7:30 p.m. race were wearing green, with one family all decked out with some kind of green frilly stuff. We all massed together in a big clump and started in one long stretched out wave, with Darwin leading the way in a golf cart.

Luckython (South Golf Course) route, courtesy of RunKeeper

Luckython (South Golf Course) route, courtesy of RunKeeper

The course started off heading southwest, with a couple of U-turns, and then a jaunt to the northwest edge of the course, and then a long slide down the southern edge, and then a big loop back to the finish.

In the beginning, I found myself lined up with a lanky teenager wearing a high school track sweatshirt. He got off to a quick start, as did a couple of other guys and a young woman. At that first U-turn, I was somewhere in the top seven or eight (although, of course, with chip-timing, it’s hard to know exactly where you are in the standings). I caught up to a couple of young pre-teen kids who it was clear had gone out way too fast and were already starting to burn out at a 6:00 pace; one of them were spurred by my arrival to try to speed up, which lasted for a little bit….

After a half mile, I was in the third position, having just passed the kid in the high school track sweatshirt. Ahead of me was Kris Meyers, and ahead of him was 16-year-old Justin Miller. I didn’t know this at the time, but this was a familiar scene, as Justin won the Monster Moon Run last October, and Kris finished just behind me (i.e., as the second fastest adult in that race).

I had a strong (for me) first mile — 6:22 — but I’m a bit undertrained right now and I started a slow fade. The course was peaceful, though missing the glow-in-the-dark markers that make the Halloweenathon’s evening race such a fun event. It was also visually less interesting than the North Course, which has a wooden bridge and a rest stop to look at. Here’s Brian Bernier’s review of the South Course:

[T]he south course was much better than the north. The north course had too many switchbacks and tight turns. The south was much better but I still found it difficult. That kind of course is fun on the trail but not really on the pavement. It was negligible when I ran with my brother in law at his pace but not fun at race pace.

As for the hilly stretch at the end, it wasn’t that bad. The downhill portion wasn’t long enough to give a speed boost, and the uphill portion didn’t faze me. Thanks to Ms. RunKeeper, I knew that a PR was well out of reach, but I figured that a finish in the 21 something range would be a decent enough personal victory. Final time for me: 21:29, and #3 overall.

Luckython race medal, pin, and chocolate coins (photo by Tung Yin)

Luckython race medal, pin, and chocolate coins (photo by Tung Yin)

At the finish line, a race volunteer handed me a bottle of water, and another handed me the finisher’s medal, race pin (new for the Luckython!), and a bunch of chocolate coins. According to the race directors, upcoming race medals will have the race pin attached directly, so that you can either leave it in the medal or take it out to wear separately.

Speaking of race swag, Darwin Rasmussen announced a new Uberthons’ feature — anyone who runs four (4) Uberthons events (i.e., actual races put on by Uberthons, not ones where Uberthons provides timing services) will get a free Uberthons race jacket. Except if you’ve placed first, second, or third in your age/gender group in three (3) Uberthons events, you get the jacket faster!

Now, what about the post-race refreshments? “Awesome,” according to Brian Bernier.

The potato bar at the Luckython (photo by Tung Yin)

The potato bar at the Luckython (photo by Tung Yin)

The potato bar had been pretty active when I first arrived at the Reserve, with so many of the 6:15 p.m. runners having finished their race and enjoying themselves. Now, there was no line, but plenty of food left. The baked potatoes were kept off to the side (i.e., to the left of this picture). The table contained broccoli, chili, cheese, and other toppings. I’m spartan about my potatoes, so I took just a baked potato and broccoli on the side, although I would’ve drizzled some olive oil if it had been available.

One of the funny things about running is that while over the course of the day it makes you eat more food than you normally would, in the short term it has something of an appetizing suppressing effect. Even though it was close to 8 p.m. and I hadn’t had dinner yet, I wasn’t feeling terribly hungry. But I did wolf down that baked potato, and I would’ve considered having another one or two if I weren’t heading home for a movie night with my sweetie.

Crabfest inside the Reserve

Crabfest inside the Reserve (photo by Tung Yin)

Meanwhile, this is what was going on inside the Reserve: that’s right, a crab feed! Mmmm, crab…. You know what would make for an incredible race? How about Crabathon? I’d even consider running a full marathon for a post-race crab feed.

Although I’ve always wondered, who exactly came up with the idea of eating crab in the first place? I mean, they’re kind of creepy looking creatures, not unlike armored underwater spiders. Yet someone thought to himself or herself, “Think those might be tasty?”

Anyway, crab-dreaming aside, the 2014 edition of the Luckython was another expertly run race, with a well-marked route, nice support on (aid stations) and off (medical staff) the course, good food, and nice race swag.

For those of you who want to get one of those Uberthons racing jackets, here are upcoming Uberthons races:

Scholarship Run, Champoeg Park, April 19

Oregon Spring Half Marathon, Canby, May 3

Freedomthon, Beaverton, July 4

Oregon Marathon and Half, Mt. Angel, Sept. 13

Halloweenathon, Aloha, Oct. 25

Luckython Race Results

4 p.m. (5K, 10K, 15K, 15K relay), click here (searchable and organizable by race, age, gender, and age/gender)

6:15 p.m. (5K), click here

7:30 p.m. (5K), click here

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