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Race recap: Huckleberry Half

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I was super excited when I heard I was going to have the opportunity to run the Huckleberry Half and write a recap of it for the Run Oregon blog. Woo hoo! The race sounded so enticing to me. I mean I grew up in Nebraska in a “map dot” town and so let’s just say I have come to love and appreciate the small town races.

Having said that I was bummed when I had car trouble the day of the race and ultimately missed the event. I left the house Saturday morning with ample time to make it but my car died near Gresham.  I had a really nice guy help jump start my care but it wouldn’t stay running so I knew it was my battery. Fortunately for me, I’ve been hanging around the running community long enough that I had quite a few friends who were participating in this event. I reached out to them for all the details and this is what I came up with.

The Huckleberry half was a great small town race. The option to take a shuttle bus to the start was available and so was the option to just park at the start line. Those who chose the latter option had no problem finding a spot. General consensus was that the early packet pick-up on Thursday was a bit strange as only bibs and timing chips were given out. The shirts were handed out prior to the start along with a sample of deodorant and some coupons.

The shirts were plain white with a vintage designed drawing on the front, very low tech which added to the homespun vibe. Participants felt the shirts ran large but no one had any problem exchanging for a different size. At the start of the race there was an ample supply of fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries accompanied by donut holes and coffee. My only question: where were the huckleberries?

Participants were off and running around 7:40. The crowd was not too big so the start was smooth sailing. The course is a couple of out and backs, all on a paved road. The trees and the mountainside sheltered participants from the direct sunlight. The course was full of small, gentle rollers. It was challenging but very beautiful, running alongside the water and through some pretty neighborhoods.

The finish line was reportedly great; there were a lot more cheering spectators than expected from a tiny town. They handed out the greatest medal! A carved wooden Sasquatch! Coolest medal I’ve seen. Sasquatch himself was making his rounds and allowing everyone to take “selfies” with him. Awesome!

After the finish line and results there was pizza and beer for sale which hit the spot after the race..

From all the information and opinions I’ve compiled from my buddies, I’d give this race an A just on reputation alone. In my humble opinion, I hope they serve up some Huckleberry Pie at the finish line – it just … fits. Other than that I’d like to see the start on time (it was about 10 minutes late). Being a race director myself, I’m well aware of the pitfalls that can cause a race to start late. There are runners (me being one of them) who are psyched and prepared for a certain time and when the time hits, it’s time to go! I certainly do not hold this one tiny snafu against this event though. Not even close. See you next year Sasquatch – motor vehicle willing!

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