Packet pickup was at Paddy’s Bar & Grill on the morning of race day. I understand now why the race director recommended early packet pickup because the line for packet pickup on race morning was very, very long. It took quite a while to get through the line but I made it through still with time to spare since the 5k didn’t start until 9:45am. When I got my packet they said they had more people register than expected so they ran out of safety pins and I was instructed to just hold my bib. Luckily for me I had a stash of safety pins in the car so I was able to pin on my bib and handed some out to other runners in need.
The staging area was set up along a section of 1st and Yamhill, next to Paddy’s Bar & Grill. That area was packed and very hard to move around, especially with a stroller, up until the 10k runners left. Once that happened there was a bit more room to wander so we explored some of the fun race activities. More about those later.
The start of the race was across the street on the Portland Waterfront. I lined up for the start of the 5k race with the rest of therunners. They started us in waves which I thought was helpful to spread out the runners to avoid congestion. The “unipiper” was there to help start the race, dressed in his Darth Vader mask, kilt, and blowing fire while playing the bagpipes. We started running north along the waterfront trail and then took a turn and ran across the steel bridge. On the east side of the waterfront we traveled along the Eastbank Esplanade which was beautiful and then back across the Hawthorne Bridge. There were no water stations along the course, but luckily I had brought my own on this very hot day. My costume did not last long during the run and I slowly disrobed along the course to avoid overheating.
As I got to mile two I started noticing runners traveling in the opposite direction as we were running. I didn’t realize it until we got to the Hawthorne Bridge but the runners that were going towards us head-on were the runners participating in the 2k race. I’ve never seen two race distances going in the opposite directions before, and although it might have worked on a different course it was very challenging for this course. I was running with a stroller and there was very little room to cross the Hawthorne Bridge without running into the 2k runners, let alone allow anyone to pass me or be able to pass anyone else.
Once I crossed the bridge it was smooth sailing to the finish line. Finishing a little shorter than a true 5k distance, the race ended where it started on the Portland Waterfront. Crowds of other runners decked out in superhero attire were there cheering us on as we crossed the finish line. After a quick stop in the shade to cool down we headed back to the see the race activities back near Paddy’s Bar & Grill.
Despite the heat there was no lack of costumed runners. Almost everyone I saw was dressed up in their favorite superhero outfits. Some of the costumes consisted of a simple shirt with a logo while others consisted of full head to toe superhero attire. There were hired superhero’s there as well, walking throughout the crowd just waiting to take their picture with anyone wanting one. My daughter would only allow me to take pictures of her with female superheroes so I didn’t get a chance to capture photos of all the awesome male superhero costumes. Aside from superheros there was also princess Tiana and some of the my little pony girls there. We also spotted Jack Sparrow and some other miscellaneous characters there as well.
We wandered around to some of the activities booths. My daughter was able to get her face painted and a balloon animal made for her for a small fee. We made our own masks at one of the booths and then went back over to center area and participated in the hula hoop contest. There were so many kids participating in dance contests, jumping through the bubbles that were blowing from the bubble machines, and competing in the kids costume contest. With all of the fun we were having we didn’t even notice that the port-a-potties didn’t show up, the people supplying the water hadn’t made it there yet, and the finisher ribbons didn’t make it there either. I wouldn’t have noticed had they not mentioned it on the loud speaker.
Despite the logistical problems that occurred on the morning of the race (course congestion with the 5k and 2k running opposite, running out of safety pins, the water, port-a-potty, and finisher ribbons not showing up) this race has far too much potential to miss. There was so much entertainment that any geek, superhero lover, or child would have a hard time not enjoying it. I can only see this event getting better in the coming years and would highly recommend this race to others. This race puts the fun in fun run!