Sunday, April 12, 2015 was a spectacular day for racing the Corvallis Half Marathon. Leaving Eugene to drive to Corvallis isn’t too big of a deal; about 40 minutes from where I live in Eugene. The sun was out, the air was crisp and cool … perfect pre-race weather. But, you could tell, by the middle-to-end of the race, it was going to be a ‘roaster!’ out.
Arriving at Reser Stadium to park about 8:45 a.m. proved simple, parking was available for those of us arriving fairly close to the 9:30 a.m. start time. The packet pick-up area was a short walk from where participants parked, and the lines were a tad long, which made me nervous. However, I was able to secure my race shirt, bib number and chip timing device with plenty of time to get back to the car, drop off the shirt, and get into the porta-pottie line. At the packet pick-up, race volunteers were informing participants to go to the start line area to get pins (to secure your bib on your shirt), as they were out at the packet pick-up stations. Thankfully, after cruising back by on the way to the bathrooms, pins were available again. Whew!
The staging for the race took place on the north side of the railroad tracks at 26th and Washington street, in the heart of the Oregon State University campus (which is lovely). Pace markers were lined up in the staging area to assist racers with lining up in the appropriate spot; I always appreciate this! After some race announcements, we were off on the course promptly at the 9:30 a.m. start time (I am a stickler for on-time starts! Thank you, Corvallis Half, for getting us on the course as advertised!).
The first ~3.5 miles took us for a wonderful tour through more of the OSU campus area. So gorgeous! At ~mile 3-ish, we ran over a delightful covered bridge. Farm animals abound, and I was able to capture pics of horses, cows, sheep and llamas. After crossing 53rd street just after mile 4, we began running on some multi-use paths (I believe it is the Midge Cramer pathway) with gentle rollers, taking us past the Benton County Fairgrounds and toward Bald Hill. Within the first 6.5 miles, were were treated to three aid stations (wow! this is excellent!).
For me, once we were running on 53rd heading toward aid station 4 (between mile 6.5 and 8), the course was following a bike path with the heat pounding down on the asphalt, making it the most unpleasant portion of the course and race for me. However, this was the “middle chunk” of the course, which can always be the least appealing … you have run half the distance, and you have half the distance left to go.
After aid station 4, we were treating to a tour of the Corvallis area neighborhoods. Once we arrived at 53rd and Walnut area, we turned onto Aspen drive to get off the main roads, and instead were running in the Timberhill neighborhood. I was so happy and thankful to see so many people in the neighborhood out cheering on runners, and be so supportive of the race. THANK YOU!
After passing the Timberhill Athletic Club, we proceeded back onto Walnut Street briefly to then turn onto 25th, which was near the 10 mile mark. Coming down a pretty short, steep hill to turn onto 27th, there was a live band playing in a resident’s front yard – and they were great! Such a wonderful surprise!
We followed 27th to Tyler, then jogged onto 26th. Again, we were mostly running through pretty quiet neighborhood streets during this time, and yet again, I was so pleased to see all the neighborhoods full of residents encouraging and cheering on runners. I love it and appreciate it when a community embraces a race like this, as there are many communities that are not like this, and the runners can feel it pretty loud and clear when racing.
Following 26th, we passed aid station six and turned right onto Jefferson. This was the wonderful 12 mile mark, too! Almost there! It was hot out on the course at this time! Following Jefferson for about half a mile, we turned left onto 35th for a short time, then quickly made a left after the railroad tracks onto Washington. Before I knew it, enthusiastic volunteers and cheering, energetic spectators were everyone cheering runners in the final stretch along 30th to the Reser Stadium parking lot, where we ran down the chute into the stadium, to finish on the 50 yard field!
The race announcers from Eclectic Edge Racing were doing a marvelous job calling out all the finishers as they crossed the finish line. WooHoo, we made it! I missed a new PR by 60 seconds … darn! After crossing, volunteers clipped our timing tag off and handed us a gorgeous finisher medal, along with some bottled water. It was awesome to stay on the field for a little bit cheering in fellow finishers. Having the finish line on the 50 yard line of Reser Stadium really was perfect; there was room for everyone to move, stretch, and just generally spread out after the event.
After cheering, cheering, cheering fellow runners in, I was ready to call it a day and head home. To exit the stadium, participants and spectators had to walk up the stairs; one labeled for participants only, and the other for non-participants. I did not check out the post race offerings for racers, and instead, elected to leave via the non-participants line. Across the street of Reser Stadium was a line extending with lots of runners wanting to get into the beer garden. This was definitely a hit, you could tell!
I was able to return to my car and get back on the road to Eugene effortlessly. Race logistics were fantastic with being able to get in and parked, and get out and on the road quickly and efficiently.
New this year, the Corvallis Half Marathon added a 5k event, which took place the day prior, on Saturday. Run Oregon Bloggers Geli and Joe participated in the 5k event and had positive accolades for the inaugural event. I was pleased with my experience at the Corvallis Half Marathon, and would certainly recommend runners (and walkers! this race is walker friendly) pencil this on their calendar for 2016!
Pros: Excellent finisher medal, pre- and post-race logistics were fantastic, nice participant tech-shirt, incredible volunteers and fully stocked aid stations (6 total!), on-time start, incredible community support along the course for participants.
Cons: Lack of pins for bibs at packet pick-up for some participants; pins were available at the start-line, however.
The full list of results can be found here. The top three overall men and women finishers are listed below.
Top three men:
Top three women: