Starting 2015 with one mile: A Run Oregon recap of the 2015 Capitol Mile


Photo credit: Gordon Cully of GCCPhotography

2015 got off to a humbling start.

It seems silly, but although this race has been around for years, the 2015 running of Salem’s Capitol Mile was my first at this event. The event, put on by the Willamette Valley Road Runners is an out-and-back sprint through the roads of Wallace Marine Park in West Salem.

Registration was inside the West Salem Courthouse Fitness Center, a nice spot to stay warm and dry. The nice 10am start time didn’t do much to warm up the Valley though, as temperatures were extremely brisk under 30 degrees despite the glaring sun overhead. I used my pre-race time to try to get my legs warm with a short warm-up run, though my mind yearned for getting warm in the fitness center.

The event had different start times and races for males and females. The women went at 10, and the men began as soon as the last woman crossed the finish line. This placed our start at around 1020am. I had known this was the case prior to the race, so I should have planned my warm-up better, as by the time we were ready to go, I felt a bit chilled again.

Looking at who was toeing the starting line, I knew I was not going to come close to placing well – and I had come to grips with that. Young and fit runners, decked out in their high school, college, and team uniforms were aching to start things off right with a little friendly competition. As soon as we took off, there was a clear delineation of who were the “pros” and who were not. The elites quickly separated themselves into one pack of about 12-15 and I fell into the front of the second pack.

Now let’s get back to humbling. A mile is a mile is a mile. It’s 5280 feet of pavement that most people can do, but a smaller number of people can excel at. After taking the majority of December off to nurse a sore knee (and a full appetite), I came to the event knowing I was out of running shape. But I still felt energized and my passion renewed from my time off. I had a goal in mind…and I fell way short. My lungs were short of breath quicker than I wanted (perhaps made more challenging with the cold winter air), my legs were tired earlier, and I had no push and drive at the end. Yes, it was humbling.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my time at the event – far from it in fact. With the cheap entry price I paid ($10+ service fee), I received not only a coffee mug, but the first racing mile of 2015. It got me up and out the door and got me 5280 feet into what is sure to be a great year of running and racing!

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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