I was feeling pretty lazy compared to my fellow Run Oregon Bloggers on January 3, 2015. You see, the majority of them have all participated in at least one New Year’s race, and here I was, heading up to Uberthons Newyearathon, and this was my inaugural event for the 2015 race calendar.
Newyearathons took place at Cook Park, in Tigard. I was excited to check out this racing venue for the first time. Also, the hot air balloon festival takes place here, and I have always wanted to attend that event. Now I know where to go!
You know me; I’m nit-picky about how good the race logistics are for events I attend. I am happy to report finding Cook Park was simple, parking was so easy, and the same day packet pick-up registration area at one of the park shelters took less than 2 minutes (and there was a line I was in). Since I was participating in both events, the 1-miler as well as the 5k race, I received one bib that had a sticker on it indicating I was participating in both events. This was helpful, so at the finish line the fantastic race volunteers knew I would be running again, and to not hand out the finisher medal yet.
Prior to the race, I saw some fellow Run Oregon Bloggers, which is always a fantastic thing! It seems that a lot of us end up at the start line for Uberthons races, so we always strive for a “reunion” photo. Joe Dudman, Tung Yin and Brian Bernier are three of our speedy runners. It was a treat to witness the three of them participating in the 1-miler and see them come across the finish line. Joe, Tung and Brian were in the first string of the 1-miler runners, as they were going to complete the event in 7 minutes or faster. Those of us completing the mile in 7 minutes or more ran in the second string, which started after the speedy runners crossed the finish line. I really liked this method, as I was able to see racers cross the finish line, which I always appreciate and enjoy!!
Marilyn Tycer and I were both competing in the 1-miler in string two. The course was very nice to me, as it included a small section of “off-road/trail” running. There was also a downhill/uphill spot, which was great for me. It was not just and boring, straight “flat and fast” course. There were a couple of sharp turns, too, which provided some interest. After completing the race, I was even more impressed in Brian, Tung and Joe’s finish times. Wow they are good!
A little after 9 a.m., all 5k racers were called up to get ready to run or walk. Run Oregon yet again had a nice contingent representing, with Joe Dudman, Tung Yin, me, Marilyn Tycer and Chere Nicholas participating. Darwin, race announcer extraordinaire, invited the kids to come up to the front to start the race off. So cute, and the kids were super excited! After providing the kids about 30 seconds to lead the pack, Darwin let the next group of racers hit the course. This continued, with groups of about 20-30 racers taking off in about 20-30 second increments, until all the participants were out running or walking their 5k.
Cook Park has some fairly narrow multi-use paths, more so (in general) than the ones at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, that I have notoriously been miffed about. Even though there was congestion, it didn’t slow me (personally) down enough for it to be a factor in my finish time. This is a good reminder to race participants – please, line up in the starting area according to your estimated finish time. If you don’t expect to cross the finish line first, please don’t start at the front of the pack (if you expect to cross the finish line in the middle of the pack of all racers, line up in the middle, etc.). It takes all of us race participants to do this to make things as congestion and frustration free on the course as possible. I mean this with much love.
The 5k course was beautiful, and gave runners a nice tour of Cook Park. There was a doozy of a hill at the ~2 mile mark. I love hills, but I had to walk this one! Coming back toward the finish line at about the 2.5 mile-ish mark, you could hear and see folks crossing the finish line. I loved the energy, knowing there was an “out-and-back” section coming up. Running past the finish line area, while ‘torture’ to some, is wonderful to me. I like the energy finish lines produce, regardless of where I am at in the race. The out-and-back section was on some pretty narrow paved paths, but seemed to be moving along just fine. Coming into the finish line, you could hear the music, Darwin and crew announcing, and the excitement of folks crossing the finish line for the first time; whether it be the first time in 2015, or the first time ever.
After crossing the finish line, the wonderful volunteers provided me my Uberthons Newyearathon finisher medal. These finisher medals are L.E.G.I.T. I am very, very, very impressed with them. Water bottles were handed out to finishers, and there was post race food available in the covered park shelters. A heater was available, too! As with all Uberthons events, mere seconds after crossing the finish line, participants can type in their bib number and receive a print out of their results. I found my fellow Run Oregon Bloggers, and we trotted over to obtain our print outs. The information did not contain age group/rank information, so we stuck around to hear the age group winner announcements. All of us ended going home with at least one age group pin; I have to exchange mine out at the next Uberthons event, as I received a gold age-group pin instead of the silver, second place age-group pin that I earned for the 1-mile event. These pins are really classy, I like them a lot!
The next Uberthons event on the schedule is the Mommathon, occurring Saturday, February 28. I highly encourage anyone who wants to participate in a fun, exciting, friendly racing environment to get an Uberthons event on the race calendar! I absolutely love these events, and always do my best to get them on my race calendar as far in advance as possible.
Pros: Exceptionally easy to find location of the race, parking was very fast and easy, same day packet pick-up was lightening fast, finisher medals are stellar, energy at the start/finish line is second to none. (*Personal pros: Got to officially meet Brian Bernier and Keely!!!)
Cons: Having to stick around ’til the end of the race to find out if you placed in the race.