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Freedom while being restricted to a stroller: A review of Molalla’s wonderful Freedom 5k

The last time I pushed a stroller in a race, the wheels came off. Literally. At the 2013 Homer's Classic 8k in Silverton, after a long out-and-back stretch of gravel road pushing a non-jogging 2 seated stroller, one of the wheels literally fell off about a half-mile from the finish. Almost a year later, I was back at it with my now 4-year old daughter at the 2014 Freedom 5k in Molalla on July 4. I came better prepared with only 1 kiddo, an actual jogging stroller, and an almost completely paved course. I felt good, but still nervous with the previous experience surprisingly fresh in my mind.  I needn't have worried.

The Freedom 5k was voted as Run Oregon’s Best 2013 July Race. And it showed. The start was at the Molalla High School football stadium and track, offering more than enough space for parking, picking up packets and shirts, and spreading out to warm up for the race. Music was playing and the atmosphere was electric for the race-record 505 participants.

The first quarter-mile was the biggest challenge, as runners remained on the track for a brief moment before hitting a few short stretches of grass followed by gravel. I had started at the back of the pack as a courtesy with my stroller. But within that short time frame, I had already started inching up around some walkers and other runners.

As we hit the streets and race parade, it was an amazing experience. I knew that the race would have spectators as it was held just prior to the Molalla Parade. However, I was not prepared for the sheer numbers of people who lined the streets. It was literally jam-packed every square foot of the race route, some areas 2-3 people deep. It was amazing. I know we weren’t the main attraction of the day, but it sure felt like it. Spectators cheered us on and I expect that the encouragement and atmosphere powered me to a faster finish I ever would have imagined I could do with a stroller (7:40/mi pace). Thanks everyone!

The race had enough turns to keep things interesting, but there were good stretches of straightness too. It was super flat and I could imagine it being a PR course. The roads were paved, but there were a few times that the pavement was a tad bumpy for a stroller. Not “wheels fall off” level though!

It was fun for those pushing the pace, too. Eric Barten, who finished in 17:18 for 2nd place, says, “I made the drive from Beaverton to Molalla because I was looking for a fast and accurate 5K that would provide good competition at the front of the pack. The Molalla Freedom Run excelled will all these criteria and the course following the parade route was an added bonus.”

I don’t do a whole lot of 5k’s anymore, but boy am I glad I partipciated. It is no surprise that our Run Oregon readers voted this one so high last year and it is one that I would definitely do each year. The Independence Day parade which followed the event was also amazing and all participants received a free ticket to the Molalla Buckaroo Rodeo. It really is set up to be an amazing day in the country!

Huber Timing was on site and had results up and ready by the time we found our spots along the route to watch the parade! Check the results out here!

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About Matt Rasmussen (1405 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Shoe Review: Saucony Ride 7 – the 150-mile update | Run Oregon
  2. Free kids run at the Beaverton Celebration Fun Run on Sept. 6 | Run Oregon

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