The fifth annual Holiday Half and 5k took place in North Portland on December 14, 2014. Over 3,000 runners and walkers gathered on the chilly Sunday morning under blue skies at the Adidas campus to tackle this festive event. Full results can be found here for the 5k and here for the half marathon.
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!