Terrapin’s Cinco De Mayo races took place on Sunday, May 4th, 2014. Close to 1,800 participants gathered under cloudy skies (hoping that it wouldn’t rain too much) at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to run one of the three race distances: the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. This was my first race with a start/finish at Pioneer Courthouse Square, and it really was a perfect venue for this event.
After the long lines I had experienced after the Bridge to Brews race, I was hesitant to really look forward to my post-race beer and burrito, but I had worried needlessly. The amphitheater design of the square lent itself perfectly to the setup of the registration tent, vendor, and food and drink booths along the perimeter,and tables in the center. The stage at the corner opposite the amphitheater steps was used both for pre-race announcement and yoga warmup, as well as the Latin band playing songs during the post-race party. Many porta-potties lined the outside of the square on the south side, and both times when I went to use them, the line was negligible.
The staggered start for the three races also helped avoid congestion in the start/finish area. The half marathon got going first at 7:45, followed by the 10k at 8:20 and the 5k at 9:00, which meant that when the first wave started, many 5k-ers probably hadn’t arrived yet. Packet pickup was quick and easy, and I was even able to exchange my shirt size after my run (after all races had started). A water table had cups of water ready and a bottle filling station to reuse cups and bottles. The bag check really encouraged each person to bring their own bag, but offered reusable linen bags for those like me who didn’t bring a bag but wanted to check their coat. Event staff was also on hand to check ID’s for the post-race beer since, like the MC said, the only thing better than beer is fast beer. About 15 minutes before the start of each race, participants were encouraged to warm up with some yoga moves lead by a local yoga studio, which was one of the vendors.
The start line for all races was on Broadway, just half a block south of the square. My 10k race started on time, and I enjoyed the mostly flat course. The many potholes and old train tracks in the industrial NW section (under the I-405 and Hwy 33 bridges) made me worry for my ankles, but I stepped carefully and didn’t embarrass myself by falling. The course was well-marked, and the running field stretched out quickly. Even when the speedy half-marathoners started passing me, it didn’t seem like the slower middle-of-the-pack 10k-ers got in their way. The water stations were well staffed and had plenty of drinks for everybody. I think I saw porta-potties at all the water stations as well (but for a change I didn’t need one this time).
We reached the finish line after a brief gentle uphill on Broadway. Runners were announced by name as they crossed the timing mat, which is always nice! There were three race clocks at the finish line, and they were clearly labeled which race they were timing. Water was available within a block of the finish as well.
Back in at Pioneer Courthouse Square, runners were milling about enjoying refreshments, and I was very happy to see well-managed and quick-moving lines through the food and beer. Pepino’s burrito was delicious, and Lagunitas offered two pints of their beer to each runner (with three choices available). The longest wait I endured was to pick up my checked raincoat, but even that wait was not more than five minutes. I met up with fellow blogger Anne, and headed back to my car just as a downpour started raining me.
Overall I was very happy with the how smoothly all parts of this race went. Downtown races can be tricky with crowds and parking problems, but I’ll be sure to put Cinco de Mayo on my calendar for next year.