On race morning, I got up bright and early, scraped the ice off the windshield, and asked myself why I keep making myself get up in the dark on a Sunday morning. But crossing the Marquam Bridge in Portland, I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise behind Mt Hood! 🙂
I had purchased the shuttle ticket from the off-site parking lot at Freightliner on Swan Island, and I’m glad I did. Parking on the side streets around the start line at Adidas is very limited, and access roads were already closed off when I got there about one hour before start time. I had to wait for a shuttle bus for about 10 minutes for the 5 minute ride up the hill. Absolutely worth it.
At the start/finish area I saw the bag check (with no lines to speak of), a long line of Honey Buckets (with the usual line), and up the stairs were the tents for the post-race festivities, and vendor tables inside the Adidas gym. The 2,400 half marathoners started first with the 5k fifteen minutes later.
The course for the 5k was a loop on lightly rolling hills on neighborhood streets for the first two miles. The first half mile was a little crowded, as is typical for most races, but the group stretched out soon. Volunteers were stationed at all turns and other helpful locations, and I noticed that not only did volunteers wear a yellow t-shirt, they were also given bright orange stocking caps!
The final mile of the 5k was on Willamette Blvd overlooking the Willamette River below. I was expecting a water station near the 2 mile marker, but checking the map again later I realized that the first aid station for the half marathon was located past the 5k turnaround point. The finish line came on a downhill, which felt great to finish on! I crossed the line, and was handed a beautiful and very large finisher’s medal. I confirmed that they were intended for 5k-ers like me, and then accepted it along with a bottle of water.
I made my way up the stairs to the food tent. Bread, snacks, and a bowl of bean and vegetable soup felt great! Beer from Deschutes Brewery was also available, but I opted out this time. I circled through the vendor lineup one more time, then made my way back to the shuttle bus and back to my car.
Overall a great event. We were very lucky with the dry weather, but many large tents were set up who would have kept us dry on a rainy day. Race logistics went smoothly as far as I could see, and the route was well-marked and interesting. This race is a holiday gem!