At the last minute, I decided to do the inaugural Tulip Trail Run. I was starting to feel some major race withdrawal just at the thought of not doing any running events that weekend, and wanted to sign up because it’s a fundraiser for the Oregon City Cross Country Team, I hadn’t been to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farms before, and it’s a dog-friendly event.
Ardara (my bestie), the dogs and I arrived and were directed by tulip farm staff to the parking lot. It was a little hectic at first–although there weren’t many people in line, it wasn’t clear what the lines were for or how registration was supposed to flow–this process definitely would have benefited from some signage. It appears that we missed the shirts, as we didn’t get the cotton race t-shirt that was supposed to be included. Blogger Joe received his, so we don’t know if there was a quantity issue or if we just missed the pick-up line. We wandered around for a bit, seeing what all there was before people started heading to the starting line. As the announcer gave instructions, I was a little confused because the race website’s info and the actual race procedures didn’t appear to be consistent – the website said that all events would start at 9:30am for all distances and paces (both runners and walkers), but instead the 5k runners were told to start first, then about 9 minutes later the 10k runners were released, and then the walkers. It all seemed to work out fine in the end, but it was a little confusing and would have been more of a bummer if the weather had been bad and some were forced to stand around in the rain and cold..
The course was REALLY pretty – particularly the hazelnut tree grove, which was level, dry, and beautiful. Lots of runners and walkers couldn’t help but stop and take a few pictures on the course. Described on the race website as an “off road run,” it was fairly flat but there was lots of slick muddy grass, slippery mud, and “potholes” in the dirt to watch out for. Additionally, the course was open to tulip farm visitors during and after the race also. It was fortunate that runners and visitors seemed to be fairly considerate of one another.
As we crossed the finish line, they collected the tags off of our bibs. There were no complimentary post race snacks or drinks of any kind, though there were lots of options available for purchase from the Tulip Farm vendors: coffee, beer, wine, shots, popcorn, cotton candy, sausages, elephant ears, burgers, etc. We bought ourselves beers and checked out the gift shop, as well as the outdoor vendors. It was very family friendly afterwards – so many kids activities were available at the tulip farm including photo ops, sand tables, carnival type activities. It’s surprising there wasn’t a kids race (maybe next year).
Both my friend and I felt that the race directors at other similarly sized and priced races tried to offer more perks for the participants than at this inaugural event. But the choice of venue was beautiful and conveniently had many additional things to do and vendors, and some tiny improvements can be made for future renditions of this race.