Race Review: Bowerman 5k

Start Line at the Bowerman 5k

Start Line at the Bowerman 5k

The Bowerman Track Club is just about as close to an institution as you can get in running, so I admit I was curious to see what they’d come up with for their homage to running legend Bill Bowerman in the Bowerman 5k. I was not disappointed, in that I’ve never been more conscious of the fact that I was wearing exactly NO Nike gear. Obviously, I am great at planning out my running wear choices, and even better at considering them in relation to the event I’d be attending. Not even Nike socks. Nothing. Not a single, solitary swoosh.

If there’s a running cult, then surely the Nike campus is its theme park.  The atmosphere was palpable at first contact – everywhere lean & fit packs of runners raced past, forming a moving sea of spandex as far as the eye could see. The energy was infectious, even if signage and instructions about race day events were near non-existent. Thankfully for me, people are friendly, and I found my way to registration and the start line with moments to spare before the gun went off.

My excitement waned only a bit after we started, as I realized that the entire course would be on the paved portions of Del Hayes Way (2 loops around the center of campus). I tried not to focus on the bark dusted paths that stretched tauntingly out under shady overhangs while my feet trudged over the sun-baked asphalt. With so much prime running real estate around, I was a little disappointed to be looping, but for a 5k maybe it just made more sense.  I’m sure logistically it did.

I didn’t have long to pine after cushy paths, since the 3 miles seemed to speed by. The wide variety of runners made the time pass quickly, with participants spanning the spectrum from Olympians and elite runners to 7-year-olds trying their first distance run. Before I knew it I was hungrily eying the piles of orange slices at the finish.

This was the first evening race I’ve ever participated in, and though I can appreciate the novelty of it, the things I had anticipated being problematic about it absolutely were. My time of day sweet spot is unequivocally early afternoon, so I thought I might adapt fairly well to the 7 pm start time. It created a fueling issue for me, since I knew I couldn’t eat dinner and risk racing on a full stomach.  I snacked about an hour before but still ended up ravenous before I reached the halfway point.

I also tend to get my best sleep before midnight, but riding an endorphin high that late in the day made actual shut eye before then almost impossible. Obviously not an issue for those lucky enough to be late sleepers, but I have the circadian rhythms of a mockingbird. Add to it a pretty high daytime temperature (all things considered), and you’ve got what would have been practically a perfect storm of runner problems for any distance greater than 5k. One final suggestion for next time – have cooler race shirts (and this is coming from someone with a soft spot for Nike apparel AND 80’s-era neons, but this year’s shirt was personally a bit lacking).You’ve trained me to expect better than that, Nike!

While these appear nitpicky, and I knew what the challenges were going to be entering into this race, I want to be clear that the overall event – from the running to the post-race – was a ton of fun. It was great to see so many families and kids enjoying the weather and the sport, and it was visibly inspiring to see elite racers fully in their element.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, hanging around after the race for awards, live music, and raffles for Nike swag. Maybe next time I will have something more appropriate to wear.

Bowerman 5k Race Results

Overall Males

Chris Kwiatkowski of Washington, DC – 14:41

Willie Milam of Lake Oswego, OR – 14:48

Greg Mitchell of McMinnville, OR – 14:49


Overall Masters Males

Greg Mitchell of McMinnville, OR – 14:49

Oscar Bauman of Portland, OR – 15:28

Ahrlin Bauman of Vancouver, WA – 15:39


Overall Females

Anna Connor of Beaverton, OR – 17:13

Christina Overbeck-Craw of Beaverton, OR – 17:28

Laurel Manville of Portland, OR – 17:41


Overall Masters Females

Lorilynn Bloomer of Portland, OR – 17:59

Deanna O’Neil of Canby, OR – 18:58

Amy Ellingson of Portland, OR – 19:57

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