When I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, it was dark, cold, and I heard the rain pounding against the window. Signing up for Terrapin’s Run Like Hell had seemed like a good idea back in August when it was warm and dry… So I got myself ready, waited for my carpool pickup, and we headed downtown to join the party.
It was a typical Portland fall day: cool, windy and rainy. We parked about three blocks from Pioneer Courthouse Square, the race’s start/finish area. I had no issues picking up my packet, and had plenty of time looking and vendor booths.
The start times for the three different race distances (half marathon, 10k and 5k) were spread 40 minutes apart, which helped keep down congestion before the races. For a short period of time before the half marathon start, there was a long line for the clothing check, but race organizers quickly reallocated volunteers to process the line more quickly.
The 10k start was scheduled for 8:20am. Announcements reminded us to make our way to the start line half a block south of the Square, and the race started right on time. It was a mass start with no waves of pace placements, so the first mile of the course was the typical dodge and dart until everybody settled into their pace and race order. Due to the staggered start times and the course layouts, half marathoners were mingling with and overtaking 10k runners during the 10k’s first mile. The 10k course is very flat, but in many parts the streets were very uneven with potholes and streetcar rails. Hearing the Amtrak train whistle in the distance, I was glad again that this year all Terrapin race courses are routed to not cross any Amtrak tracks!
A new addition to the course this year was the “musical mile,” ten city blocks where musicians were slated to play at every corner. While I don’t recall ten bands along that mile, the music was cheerful and encouraging. The three aid stations were well placed, and the volunteers kept the cups filled and ready. I loved watching all the costumes along the way! The “Under the Sea” theme brought out many sharks, mermaids, jellyfish, trash piles (!!), clown fish, mobsters with bricks tied to their feet, octopus, and other sea creatures.
The after-party was much better attended than my before-party picture above. My timing was lucky, and there was no wait for my first beer, the bowl of vegan chili, or the second beer. I did have to stand in line (in the rain) for quite some time to get my checked bag back, but since I had opted to keep my rain jacket for the run, I was not getting too cold. Again I noticed organizers on walkie talkies reassigning volunteers to keep the line moving more quickly.
Overall another well-organized race. Pioneer Courthouse Square is the perfect venue for a race this size (around 4,000 participants), and the staggered start manages the crowd well.
Complete results can be found here.