We’ve been searching high and low here at Run Oregon to find races that are budget friendly. Fellow blogger Teresa recently posted about some races that fit the bill. I would urge anyone making notes for 2016 to remember the Roaring Run half marathon, 10k, and 5k events are fitting the bill nicely in this category! Not only is it budget friendly (for the 2015 event, early registration for the half marathon was $30), but the race supports the Lebanon High School Cross Country program.
After finding out last week that I was selected to be a 2015 The San Francisco Marathon ambassador, I was so thrilled that I had the Roaring Run half marathon coming up to gauge my fitness for marathon training.
The pre-race email from the race director urged participants to park at Lacomb School and take the shuttle to the start, which was at Roaring River County Park in Scio. I took the advice to heart, and planned my drive from Eugene to the shuttle point, instead of directly to the start line. This proved to be exceptionally smart. There was plenty of parking at Lacomb School, and the shuttle arrived promptly after arriving. There was ample space, yet the bus was nearly to capacity, shuttling race participants to Roaring River County Park. Taking the shuttle also proved a great way to get warm prior to the race.
The bus ride from the school to the start was quick, taking only 10 minutes or so. The shuttle driver was super funny, too. When passing all the cars parked precariously along the side of the road as we neared the park, I was so thankful, again, to have taken the shuttle. We were dropped off in a great spot, only having to walk a short distance to get to the bib and packet pick-up area. It appeared that Lebanon High School Cross Country participants were volunteering at all areas of the race, and they were very friendly. Thank you, volunteers! It was simple and quick to pick up my packet and race shirt ($15 extra when registering initially). The packet included some ads for upcoming events in the area, which I really appreciate seeing! That is one of the number one ways I find out about new events (besides on Run Oregon Blog, of course!).
There were a couple of tables set-up for participants to use to get their chip timing set-up on their shoes; this is always appreciated and often over-looked at races. Small details like this make a positive difference to races. Since it was very cold at the start-line, I kept my jacket on until about 10 minutes prior to the 9 a.m. start for the half marathon. I was able to quickly check my bag and coat with the friendly volunteers, and make it through the porta-pottie line in just the nick of time. There was a total of 5 porta-potties spread throughout the pre-race area.
Promptly at the 9 a.m. start time, some pre-race announcements were made but they prove difficult to hear. Then, the air horn went off, and us half marathoners began our journey. We ran along quiet rural roads and didn’t have much traffic to contend with. I love racing in the Lebanon area as the rural feel it enjoyable to run through. I love seeing the cows, chickens, sheep, horses; all the fun farm animals that you don’t get to see in the city. There was a quick out-and-back at the start of the race, but thereafter, it was a wonderful loop. The course was very flat, with just a handful of slight hills to make things interesting. At about the 4 mile mark we were treated to the first aid station with water, which was manned by more friendly volunteers. The next aid station came at about the 8 mile mark, which also served water and had one porta-pottie available. I’m assuming the Lebanon High School band was playing at this aid station, as well, which was a nice treat. You could hear them for about a half mile either way, so you could hear them for a good while. I sure put a pep in my step – thank you for being out there, band members!
After the second aid station, we began traveling along the 10k and 5k course. I enjoyed this, myself, as it broke the half marathon down into chunks. Once I saw the 10k turn around point, I knew we were getting close to that finish line! Then, the third aid station with water, and shortly after the 5k turn around spot was on the pavement.
Knowing only a short period of time remained on the course until I reached the finish line, I decided to pick up the pace a little bit to set a decent starting point for my marathon training. I saw some familiar faces during the last mile, and it was great to chat with runners as we neared the finish. After crossing a lovely covered bridge with wood slates on the bottom to serve as the road, it was the final dash to the end. Coming into the park, you could hear the finish line energy and music. As I crossed the finish line, the volunteers were cheering me in (and everyone else). I was handed my Roaring Run half marathon finish medal, was thanked for coming out, shown where to deposit my timing chips, and handed a big ‘ole cup of Dutch Bros. chocolate milk (um, YUM!). The finish line was very well-organized, and the volunteers, yet again, were amazing.
Now, it was time to check out the post-race food. Holy moly! It was a potato bar with all the fixings’, the potato were super hot and fresh, and everything was nicely laid out with plenty of food for all. Typically, at races where there is a large spread of distances, like a half marathon, 10k and 5k, and the 5k and 10k participants finish first, there usually isn’t much left for the half marathoners when we come across the finish line. This was absolutely not the case at the Roaring Run. Food was abundant.
I stuck around and watched some of the age group winners be announced, then, becoming frozen like an ice-cube again, headed toward the bag-check area to get my items. Again, friendly volunteers handed me my bag, and off I went to the shuttle pick-up point to take me back to my vehicle. I waited for maybe 5 minutes, and those of us waiting were whisked off to Lacomb School to our vehicles. It was a very well-organized, very smooth process.
The fog never lifted during the entire race, which was fine, but I would have loved to of taken a lot of photos along the course to show everyone. We did follow the Roaring River (I’m assuming that is what it is called), which was very beautiful. It’s small, quaint, and the type of place you want to be near during the summer. I’ll head back to Roaring River Park in the future just to check out the area more. What a great setting for the start and finish line. Huge thumbs up for the Roaring Run in all aspects, and I have already penciled it in on my 2016 race calendar so I don’t miss it next year!
Pros: Incredible volunteers everywhere. Nice, long-sleeved event shirts. Excellent post-race food. Easy and efficient shuttle to the start. Fantastic price point to register for any of the distances. Finisher medal for half marathon participants. Great organization overall.
Cons: Not many aid stations for the half marathon, only serving water (no electrolyte or energy gels along the way). Only one porta-pottie on the course at approx. the 8 mile mark.