Exploding onto the Scene: A Run Oregon review of the 2015 Volcano Half Marathon

In my second weekend of back-to-back races, the inaugural 2015 Volcano Half Marathon exploded onto the scene and into my heart on Sunday, May 3, 2015. This race, put on by Run With Paula, was everything a new race should be: well-organized, unique, measured, and fun. And Paula knocked it out of the park.

After competing in the Sisters Better Half Marathon and Bend Marathon and Half in late April, and the Willamette Mission Trail Challenge on May 2, this race was the culmination of 4 races, 8 days, and 45 racing miles. I wasn’t necessarily tired, but I was just a bit sluggish. The perfect temperatures and blue skies were a natural remedy and elixir for a weary morning – and it didn’t hurt that the race was in my hometown as well.

The finish of both distances (half and 5k) were at Volcanoes Stadium, the home of the Single-A Minor League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Volunteers were extremely helpful through the quick registration and packet-pick up lines – a theme that was very prevalent throughout the course of the event.

Following the quick shuttle ride to Willamette Mission State Park, we all took off into the quiet and peaceful rural streets of unincorporated Keizer. This is an area I am very familiar with, as I have done many a training bike rides out on these roads. We got to pass hop farms (including a farm owned by Hood River’s Full Sail Brewery), red clover fields, and farmland as far as the eye could see.

While the course was not closed to traffic, there wasn’t much motorized traffic at all. In fact, there seemed to be more race personnel and local fire/police assistance than anything else. I never felt unsafe at all. The hill around mile 4 was a bit of a challenge, but we quickly headed downhill shortly thereafter and continued with a steady straight course. This portion of the course, I was also very familiar with, as it is a running route AND the reverse direction of the Keizer Iris Festival Half Marathon loop that has been around for a handful of years. The last few miles spit us back out into civilization for a straight stretch on Lockhaven Dr. and some neighborhood streets before the stadium came into sight.

As I mentioned initially, the organization and support were fantastic.The aid stations were never an issue and they appeared with great frequency. Additionally, the volunteers were amazing. Everyone was paying attention, smiling, and some were even blowing bubbles. obviously Paula’s happy demeanour had rubbed off on everyone!

After the race, we were treated to a free hamburger (hotdog or garden burger), drink, chips, and cookies – as well as standard post-race faire. Live music by the Ben Rice Band was providing a great auditory background as we waited for results soaking up the mid-morning sunshine.

If you haven’t run in Keizer before, I highly recommend this race. If you haven’t run a Run With Paula event before, I highly recommend this race. If you like quiet, rural runs to lose yourself in the serenity of, I highly recommend this race.


View full results here.

The next Run With Paula event is the Independence Day 10k, which takes place in the city of Independence and the famous Rogue Brewery hopyards.

About Matt Rasmussen (1569 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

2 Comments on Exploding onto the Scene: A Run Oregon review of the 2015 Volcano Half Marathon

  1. This is a great summary of this event, Matt — and your last paragraph is especially fitting for me. This was my first run in Keizer, my first Run With Paula event, and my very first half marathon; and I can’t imagine a more perfect introduction to the road racing world. The weather was beautiful, the course mostly flat, the scenery gorgeous, and the course support outstanding. I will be back next year, for sure!

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