On Saturday morning we registered in front of the Riverplace Hotel in Portland and then waited to get our maps. Maps were handed out and some important information was shared, but instead of immediately darting off on our adventure as we had at other races, we were led through a warm-up by one of the trainers from ADAPT Training. As an ADAPT affiliate trainer, I appreciated the warm-up (as I rarely run without getting in a warm-up in,) but I have to admit my team and I were a bit distracted by the map and making some decisions about our route as we warmed up. Once our warm-up was complete, we were told what time we had to return and we were off with about an hour to get to as many locations as we could. The map listed all the locations we should try to get to and how many points each one was worth. Some of the places included a challenge, so we made sure to get to most of those for the bonus points. However, since some of us on team Street Smart are not super speedy (yes, I am one of the not-so-speedy runners,) we decided to forgo the outlying locations, even though they were worth more points, with the hopes of getting more locations racked up nearby.
Our first stop included a push-up challenge. There were a number of people at this first location, but teams quickly spread out choosing a variety of different routes. Our 2nd location was the Mill Ends Park, which is unmarked and is world’s smallest park, so it can be hard to find. We noticed several teams that seemed to be looking for it without any luck, but since we had been to this park on our last urban adventure race, we knew just what we were looking for.
As we darted around the streets of Portland, we encountered several cyclists who had some rather unpleasant things to say about our intrusion on their biking. While, admittedly, we may have crossed the street just milliseconds after the crosswalk light timed out, and there is a chance that we were inches (feet?) outside of the crosswalk, the cyclists were never in any danger – nor were we. Although, after running several of these types of events in Portland, I am starting to think that many of the local cyclists are just angry. Perhaps they should take up running!
Our run took us to many well-known (and lesser known) sites and including the Portlandia Statue, Chapman Elk Square, Nike, Lovejoy Fountain, the Melting Pot, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and more. Some locations involved just getting there and taking a photo, while others included a quick physical challenge. Despite one of the members of our team being a human GPS when it comes to Portland, we did have a few brief backtracks. For example, when we got to where the Portlandia Statue was, we ran completely around the block looking for the statue before our GPS teammate remembered that the statue was actually on the building. We found that getting ourselves and the Portlandia Statue in the photo was a bit tricky, so we enlisted the help of a passerby who was a great sport in helping us get that photo.
As we begin running low on time, we made our way back towards the start/finish hitting several more locations along the way. We made it back with a few minutes to spare and headed to check-in with one of the race staff. The process of checking in was quite casual. The volunteer didn’t even look at all our pictures, but instead took our word for where we had been saying, “We trust you!” We let her know that she probably shouldn’t be so trusting, as we saw several people skipping out on some challenges. But, since this was, after all, just having fun for a good cause, we reigned in our overly competitive nature. Despite feeling a bit disappointed that our pictures were all in vain, we were happy that we got to a decent number of locations within the allotted time. We were then given raffle tickets for the challenges we had completed and entered to win several fun prizes. Although we didn’t manage to win any of the big prizes, a couple of us ended up with a bunch of bananas to take home. And what runner doesn’t need bananas? I’d say that was the most appropriate “prize” ever! Armed with our bananas, we headed off with smiles and yet another fun adventure to rehash over lunch, because as we all know, the post-race food, drink, and good company is the most important part of any race.