If I had to sum up the South Santiam Half Marathon last Saturday in Lebanon in one word, that word would be AWESOME! I knew this was going to be challenging, but was really blown away with the course and what it had to offer. The start/finish line was tucked in a very private setting about a half mile of the main road. It was evident when I reached the parking area we were in for a treat with the sun shining and 60 degree weather.
There were about sixty runners who came out to participate in this inaugural outing. The atmosphere was very low-key and I had plenty of time after I got my bib and laced up the shoes to say hello and meet some of the other runners.
The race started on time after a brief course overview from the race director. Runners started out heading through the meadow for the first mile or so before heading up into the hills and trees. We carved our way up into the hills rolling back and forth through the wilderness. There was a trade of uphill and down over the next couple miles. I was definitely ready for some Heed and water when I reached the first aid station at mile three.
Miles 6 -10 were mostly through an open pasture that was nicely mowed to create the running path. They had also marked it well with flags, but even so you had to keep your eyes out for cattle droppings here and there. It was also during this time that I encountered the two creeks crossings; one a rocky crossing that is pictured, and the other was a bit deeper (the picture of the second crossing didn’t turn out). They also had two more aid stations during this stretch which were welcome sights.
The last three miles were by far the most challenging as there were some pretty crazy elevation gains in the trees. I was really feeling it by this time in my calves and had to stop a couple of times to stretch them out. One of the last cool things was a pond tucked into the wilderness about a mile from the finish. As I crossed the finish line I was cheered on by the others for going the distance. To say the least I was glad to be done. At the finish line they had plenty of water to re-hydrate as well as hot dogs, snacks and beer. After presenting awards to the top finishers they did a raffle as well.
Overall the event was well planned; course well-marked and race went really smooth, not to mention the whole thing was very unique. The volunteers were plentiful and encouraging and having food after such a good work out was perfect. Very well executed race!
If you’re up for a challenge and like the off-road back woods events this race is for you and you’re in for a treat. Next in line for Run Wild Adventures is the Detroit Lake Mud Run on October 11!
Check out results from the event here!