Race Review: Cause + Event Portland

Half marathons are the Goldilocks of races. There’s enough time to settle in, find your focus, and it’s long enough to feel like a pretty good effort, without the mental slog and physical beating of a full marathon. Just right. Going into Cause + Event, I carried this enthusiasm for my favorite number of ks on top of the interesting, charitable vibe I got from the website. Upon sign up, the Cause + Event race has runners select their charity of choice, or add one to the list, then included charities receive a set donation amount from each registered runner.

Showing up early for race day, I found the start area already humming with activity from volunteers to various vendor booths and plenty of porta-potties (I really can’t overstate how important having plentiful port-o-lets is when it comes to making a race hospitable). There was a homegrown feel to this event, with its mostly local vendors setting up booths, area charities coming out to provide swag, and local businesses helping out wherever they could. It was also a relatively small event (I was one of two female racers in my age bracket) which added to the inclusive, community feel of everything.

I enjoyed the vibe of Cause + Event, and set out really wanting to like the race, and was not disappointed. Fully aware it would be hilly, I was still looking forward to it because I love a good hill climb. True to its “hillaceous” billing, the hills appeared early, steep, and often, and were pretty fun. Portions of the course were equally enjoyable, as the route took us off busier roads and onto trails behind the neighborhoods.

There were quite a few out and backs and turnarounds on the course, which gave runners plenty of time to get acquainted with the course and make any needed stop offs at aid stations. There was some confusion that came from having more than one distance overlapping the same routes, however there was a lot of effort put forth to manage this problem (colored tape arrows on sidewalks) to help runners figure out where they needed to go.

At the end of the day, this race was about so much more than the run, which made all the hills and doubling back worth it. The focus on community and fundraising was encouraging in its own right and cool to see in practice. They even have an option to  virtually run this event if you can’t actually make it out to support the variety of causes this race benefits. Now there’s no excuse not to sign up!

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