The Twilight Run 5k has been part of the Tigard Festival of Balloons for the past several years now. This year it took place on Saturday, June 21st, and 644 gathered in the shade of the tall trees of Cook Park to take part in this race.
The Twilight Run is an evening race with a 7pm start time. This way the race can be finished well before the Night Glow event starts at the Festival of Balloons, and racers have a chance to get themselves situated at the festival to watch the balloons be inflated and fly at night. Parking can be an issue for the festival, so allow plenty of time to park and walk to the start line.
Packet pickup was available on race day, but also on Thursday and Friday evening at Road Runner Sports in Tualatin. I did take advantage of the pre-race pickup, and it went very quickly and smoothly. Since I didn’t see a picture of the race shirt beforehand, I had opted to not purchase a shirt (it was not part of registration but available at additional cost). I imagine that some runners would have been disappointed when they saw their shirt. What was described as a “stylish lifestyle shirt” on the registration page turned out to be a white long sleeve cotton shirt with a single color logo print that was nowhere as pretty as the run logo pictured above. I much prefer the prior years’ tech shirts (by Nike one year and Greenlayer another year) that feature the multi-color logo across the chest.
Even though I already had my bib pinned on at home, I still tried to get to the race about an hour before the start. The Festival of Balloons has some designated close-in parking lots which charge a small parking fee, but I found street parking on Hall Blvd, just half a mile from the start/finish of the race at Cook Park’s picnic shelter. That area of Cook Park is a perfect race venue for several reasons: There is a big open space for race participants and vendor tents, the park has brick-and-mortar real bathrooms, there is a wonderful playground for any kiddos that may be cheering you on, and the tall trees keep you cool in the sunshine and dry in the drizzle.
New this year was the Twilight Mile, an untimed one mile run for kids or anybody who wanted to just run one mile. The Twilight Mile started at 6:30, and it was quite impressive to see the group of kids of all ages set off together, and even more impressive to see the top finisher fly across the finish line. All kids received a freeze-pop, juice and a ribbon for participating in the Twilight Mile.
The announcer did a great job keeping people appraised of the timeline of events and had us line up at the start line a few minutes before the scheduled start at 7pm. We were asked to line up according to our pace in the place designated by volunteers holding signs. I never saw those volunteers or signs (neither did anybody around us), but I lined up in the middle as usual. We were started in waves with about 30 seconds hold between waves, which helps stretch out the field on the narrow paths through the park.
All parts of the course are closed to traffic, and most of it is on walking/biking paths throughout Cook Park. About two miles of the course are out-and-back, which makes those portions a bit more crowded. I had to take care when passing or slowing to make sure I wasn’t getting in the way of someone behind me. Additionally, the walking paths were open to the public, so we also had to look out for families out for a stroll or on their way to the festival. The course is mostly flat, just some minor rolling up over a bridge, and a very short, very steep hill at mile 2.1. Fittingly, one of the several motivational signs was posted on that hill, and it read “I love hills. They make me stronger.” There is only one water station on the course, but you pass it three times, so there is plenty of chance to rehydrate.
On the last stretch towards the finish I was able to hear the announcer and the cheering crowd, and the path through the woods was a great way to end the run. Volunteers handed us water bottles just a few steps after crossing the timing mats, which was greatly appreciated. Official results were available within seconds of crossing the finish line: At the timing table there were four tablet computers hooked up to the timing equipment, and participants were able to input their bib number to see their official time and where they placed overall and in their age group.
Post-race activities were simple but nice. Delicious bread rolls, bananas, and plenty of water was provided. There was a beer garden, but since there was no free drink included in the race entry, only a very small group of runners enjoyed their cold Rogue beer. As most runners and walkers had finished the race, a raffle drawing was held for some amazing gift baskets. Medals were awarded to top overall finisher and ribbons to age group winners.
Overall this was a very enjoyable event. I loved the course, organizationally it was great, and the handful of vendors had enough interesting displays and samples to make the wait for the start go by fast. I would definitely recommend this race, and I have it on my radar to run again next year.
Race organizer Reason To Run works closely with the Foundation for Tigard-Tualatin Schools, and in past years the Foundation has posted pictures of the Twilight race on their Facebook page. I look forward to seeing this year’s pictures there as well.
1. Chris McIsaac of Portland, OR – 16:22
2. Nick Speth of Tigard, OR – 18:05
3. Kyle Hunt of Portland, OR – 18:24
Overall Masters Males:
1. Ross Crowley of Tigard, OR – 18:57
2. Ed Deets of Tigard, OR – 20:02
3. Jeff Woodhouse of Tigard, OR – 20:03
1. Bethany Kozak of Hugo, MN – 18:10
2. Katherine Tomlinson* of Damascus, OR – 22:20
3. Avery Rosenbalm of Sherwood, OR – 22:41
Overall Masters Females:
1. Christy Westover of Tigard, OR – 23:43
2. Robin Haas of Lake Oswego, OR – 23:47
3. Kirsten Crowley of Tigard, OR – 24:02
* Denotes Masters
For complete results, visit Hubert Timing’s results page.