I’m embarrassed to confess I’ve always passed over the ORRC Champoeg Run because nothing pulled me in, the carrot logo included. A carrot logo for the ‘No Meat Athlete’ made perfect sense, but I knew this run wasn’t geared for vegetarians and, sadly, didn’t bother to do any research. Instead, I just skipped over it. When another blogger had to drop out due to an injury, I agreed to jump in and give the new 20k distance a run. I might not have given this one a try without that injury and I would have been the one to miss out.
The carrot logo isn’t technically a carrot, but as close to a ‘yampah’ or wild carrot as they could get. Wild carrots were found in the Champoeg area and were a staple for the pioneers settling in the region. That little history lesson alone made me change my mind about this run. Not knowing how long it would take to get out there, I showed up super early. I picked up my race socks and number and found a lucky sticker on the back of my bib. The sticker meant I won a pie and I must say it was pretty fun, winning a prize before the run even started.
I was a little distracted with the whole pie excitement, since I think it’s the first thing I’ve ever won, but had to re-focus on my pre-run checklist. Top of the list: hitting the port-a-potty. Their Port-a-potties matched the whole Pioneer/Western feel of Champoeg. With a little moon on the door, they looked like an old fashioned outhouse. I was so distracted with the cute decor of the port-a-potty, I missed the huge gap in the door. Figuring it wasn’t a good sign I could see outside, it was the fastest trip ever. Maybe that’s what kept the port-a-potty lines so short. Regardless, it helped me hustle to the starting line.
The 20k and 30k both started at 8AM and the 10k ran at 10AM. This was the inaugural year for the 20k and the weather couldn’t have been better. A 10k loop that starts near the shelter area and follows paved trails all through the park. I’m always nervous I’m going to be the person taking a wrong turn and getting lost, but I felt a little better when I heard the entire course was in the park. If I ever headed out of the park, I was going the wrong way. For some reason, just knowing that made me feel better.
Mile markers were every mile with one exception towards the end of the loop. I compared the first several mile markers with my Garmin, only for the blog, since I would never be that geeky on my own and they were right on. The course itself is absolutely gorgeous. You start next to the Willamette River, weave out along the road for a short section and then follow the paths the whole way. Mostly flat and absolutely beautiful, sections in the sun and stretches lined with trees. It was pretty enough I didn’t mind running it two times for the 20k. I was pretty excited Huber Timing was there with a pad at the turnaround, giving me more opportunities to geek out with splits and my Garmin.
The good thing about loops is you know what to expect and, in theory, the second loop should be faster. Mine was not, but I still had a great time and that’s really what matters. It was kind of fun having so many different distances out there running the same loop. I tried to take my mind off the miles guessing what distance people were doing and there were plenty of participants for my guessing game. Water stations were strategic, partway out and near the start so people running a loop or three had water every trip.
I was a little jealous of the 10k runners, getting to sleep in, but I must say it was nice being done earlier. I also loved the staggered start time, it kept the crowds under control and I was able to see my 10k friends before they started.
We got two medals at the finish line, which I asked the volunteer and he confirmed the 20k runners got two medals. Considering I don’t run for the bling, I would have been content with one. I don’t need extra medals, but can always use more socks. I love that ORRC runs often have socks as their giveaway, perfect and practical for runners. We also had food options galore at the finish line. There were the typical orange wedges, gummy bears and licorice, but they also had subs and crepes.
The crepes alone would have me running this event again. Several options with savory or sweet and they also had them available to purchase for spectators. I’m not usually big into the post-race food, but I definitely stuck around for some crepes. Now I just need to find a race that finishes with crème brulee and I can die happy. I don’t think anyone left there hungry.
A great course, lots of encouraging runners, fun medals and socks, sunshine and crepes all made this new 20k worth the trip to Champoeg for me. Plus I won a pie. My sweet tooth was definitely satisfied after this run. While I’m not excited Annette had to transfer her bib to me due to an injury, I’m happy it pushed me to try the run with the running carrot logo. I learned a little bit about Champoeg, got some miles in, saw some friends and had a blast. I’d run it again, just for the crepes.