Portland-area runners got lucky this year, with temperatures near 60 degrees and just a light sprinkle, if anything. I opted to stay fairly close to home this year and revisit one of my favorite area Turkey Trots, the Oak Hills Turkey Trot. This year’s race was not only collecting food for the Beaverton Elks Food Pantry, but financial donations went to families displaced by a fire directly across the street from the school.
This year’s race saw more than 1300 participants (they only had 1300 bibs, and ran out; plus they offered a virtual runner option that isn’t counted in that tally). They raised more than $5,000 and collected an impressive amount of food – check out the photo below.
I was set to walk the 2-miler while my father-in-law ran the 5 miler. Having run this event before, I knew it was extremely low-key, but was still impressed by how streamlined “registration” was. We arrived around 8a and easily found parking, then walked around the back of the school. Five volunteers stood behind two tables and called people up to the table as soon as they were open. Total wait time for registration: 45 seconds.
Here’s how they do it: You fill nothing out. Instead, the volunteers asks, “How many are you registering?” and then hands you the correct number of bibs, asking for the $2 per registrant. We donated a little extra, but the volunteer didn’t bat an eye, just took the money and handed us bibs, pointing to one tear-off coupon. “This is your raffle, put it in a jar on that table.” We also had four cans of food to donate, which she put in a box on the table. Within five seconds a uniformed Boy Scout appeared and took the cans out of the box to their food storage area. “Pins are the table over there, you’re all set,” said the volunteer with a smile and we were done.
Before the grown-up races, we helped pass out finisher ribbons after the kid’s race. My wild guess is about 100 kids finished the two loops and then breathlessly waited patiently for their ribbons, complete with a turkey charm. I then ran into fellow Run Oregon blogger Teresa Wymetalek, who was going to run with her youngest son.
The grown-up races started out on the road next to the school, which was nice because it was free of parked cars and plenty wide for the field. The 5-milers started first at 9a, followed by the 2-milers at 9:10. Quite a few of those in the shorter race were also running, but I was certainly not alone as a walker. Lots of families were running together, with kids setting the pace or coordinating a fartlek workout, as the case seemed to be for some young runners. I also had a fun time admiring all the adorable dogs walking and running in both races.
There were a good number of really speedy participants, including a few that couldn’t have been more than 12 years old. It would be good next year if they added a lead cyclist or two, to help clear a path for those lead 5-mile runners; but I could hear those around me warning their kids to watch out for the runners and get out of the way. It was fun to see the 5-mile runners early on in my 2-mile adventure.
There’s one long incline on the “Oak Hills loop,” as they call it, which I definitely noticed with my diminished lung capacity (thanks, baby). What made it really fun was to see the 5-milers again as they completed their loops, running in the opposite direction. There were a couple of intersections where runners did have to stop for traffic to go through; but for a race that costs just $2 + 2 cans of food … you really can’t complain.
At the finish, an inflatable arch gave finishers not just a great experience but also a great backdrop for photos. Volunteers reminded participants to check the raffle board to see if they won pie or cupcakes from Bliss Cupcakes – I did not. Water was set up right near the finish; more refreshments were set up in the covered area that had been used for registration.
The Oak Hills Turkey trot is an amazing race. Put on 100% by volunteers with all proceeds going to non-profit organizations, they also put on a good race. The porta-potty lines never got too long, and volunteers were decked out in brightly colored safety vests and huge smiles. It’s a great race for families and competitive runners alike, run very efficiently. And the fact it doesn’t start until 9a doesn’t hurt either!
Keep tabs on next year’s race by liking the Oak Hills Turkey Trot on Facebook and plan a fun, healthy time for your family!