The Willamette Valley Marathon, Half & 10K (formerly Keizer Iris Festival runs) are the big local races that my city has to offer. I have ran the half marathon a few times and the 10k once. These races have historically started at Keizer Station (the big shopping mall just off I-5) before heading into the rural farm land and iris fields. However, with Keizer Station stepping out of the historical recession and businesses going in so quickly, the Iris Festival has since moved its central location to just off River Road – the main thoroughway in Keizer. And as a result, the courses have a new feel, mixed with a little bit of an old vibe.
All distances will now begin at the corner of River and Manbrin Roads and take some neighborhood back roads before meeting up with Windsor Island Road. The 10k used to be an out-and-back near I-5, but will now be an out-and-back along Windsor Island Road. This will unfortunately take runners away from the Iris fields that are sometimes in bloom on race day. The Half will be an out-and-back that follows a good stretch of the same course that it has been in years past. For those of you familiar with the course and the race, the turn-around is PRIOR to the hill of death!
The full marathon is still new (first year was in 2014), and will also be out-and-back in nature. It will continue over the hill of death around mile 7 (bummer), and continue North along Wheatland Road. This is a path that I like to cycle and it is surrounded by quiet farmland. From the looks of things, there will be a sharp downhill around mile 8 (and subsequent climb back up around mile 18-19). Runners will also pass by Willamette Mission State Park around mile 10.
The races are May 17th, though there is a kids run and 5k on May 16th. Both of those courses are closed to cars and provide a safe out and back route along the parade route of RIver Road. As pre-parade spectators cheer on, participants in their first run/walk event or those looking to capture an age group best time will enjoy the experience.
Following the Sunday races stick around the Keizerfest Tent for drinks, pancakes, and tunes. Willamette Valley Craft Breweries will be offering tastings, and all participants will have a bib ticket that can be turned in for a free drink.
Willamette Valley Marathon, Half & 10K (Keizer)
When: 7am Full, 8am Half and 10K
Where: Corner of Manbrin and River Road
Register: Online here; 10K- $40, Half – $50, Full- $60 through 4/30/15; 5/1/15 through day before DOR – add $5; DOR – add $10