I knew this run was crazy popular so I allowed myself plenty of time, plus I wanted to park in the stadium lot, which closed at 7:30AM. The stream of cars along the freeway had me somewhat anxious, but between the Police Officers and Volunteers, traffic moved smoothly and I was able to park pretty close. Participants arriving once the lot closed had a short walk from the Intel parking lot. There were still plenty of spots, so this is definitely a great venue for a large race.
I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly the Port-a-Potty lines moved. Hippie Chick draws a big crowd, but organizers have this event dialed in. Everything runs smoothly and it’s easy to forget just how many ladies are out there. It’s fun to see how this run/walk brings ladies together. There were “besties” out there running, some mothers and daughters running and tons of groups, everyone having a good time. We got lucky with the weather. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was out and the temperature was perfect. It’s funny how small things can stand out for you with these events and, for me, it was the Hippie Chick announcer. When it came time for a young girl to sing our National Anthem, he asked the crowd to remove their hats and show their respect. It doesn’t sound like much, but I’m old fashioned and appreciated the sentiment. I also appreciated that pace groups were provided, making it easy, for the most part, to line up at the appropriate spot.
The Quarter and Half Marathon both started at the stadium and headed west. I’m not very familiar with the Hillsboro area, but it seemed to follow sections of the Helvetia Half Marathon course, minus the hills. The course was flat and miles were well-marked. Trees lined sections of it and there were long stretches of farmland, which was a nice change from my usual. Water and an electrolyte drink were offered every couple of miles and Cliff gel shots were around miles 7 and 9. The course was flat, which is nice and we got lucky with the weather, but I loved the heart of this run. It was an eclectic group with some serious speed out there, some ladies walking it with girlfriends and everything in between. Most importantly, ladies were just out there having a good time, smiles were all over the place and I think that is definitely an indication of a worthwhile event.
My only grumble with this race had nothing to do with the organizers or the Hippie Chick Run/Walk, but with event etiquette. The Quarter Marathon participants split off around mile 3 and rejoined again with a couple of miles to the finish, which is a fun way to keep people together even when they are running different distances. This can, however, create a problem if they are running/walking together in a line, blocking portions. The last mile and half included a lot of weaving in between people and I slipped on some gravel once, trying to go around some ladies off-road. This was just another sign that ladies were so into the experience and having a good time, which I love. If that’s the worst thing that happened at the Hippie Chick Half Marathon for me, I’d say it was a success.
The finish line was back at the stadium and I couldn’t help but smile hearing the announcer try to pronounce my last name. He stopped at Wyme and called it good. Volunteers were waiting for us with water and our Hippie Chick necklace. A bonus with it being an event for ladies only, they can give out necklaces instead of medals. I didn’t get to stick around for the Mimosas or pancakes, but they looked delicious. It made my heart happy to see so many dads out there with young kids waiting for mom at the finish line. They were giving mom a special, well deserved day and those moms were setting such a great example for their kids. It’s easy to see why the Hippie Chick Quarter and Half Marathon remains so popular. It’s very well-organized, attracts fun ladies, includes a flat course and encourages everyone to celebrate life with a little challenge. I’ve said before that every lady needs to experience this event at least once and am excited to still think that with the new organizers.