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Race Recap: 2015 Alien Abduction Run

The UFO Festival is a fun, off the wall celebration in McMinnville based around a couple of photos taken locally of a UFO back in the 50's. It includes guest speakers, a lot of live music, a street fair, and many other activities. It is based mostly in the downtown area, which is very pedestrian friendly and flanked by old buildings. It also features a Fun Run. This event ran through the streets and a parking lot, traversing about a mile of this beautiful Willamette Valley town. It was populated by men in spacesuits, people from the Star Wars universe, little alien babies and much more. That does not even include the participants or spectators!

This event was definitely a fun run. Almost every participant had some sort of costume. I couldn’t get my hands on a cloak, so resorted to wearing a Star Wars shirt and holding a lightsaber (fake, of course). The man giving the pre-race instructions was wearing some sort of NASA spacesuit, as was his friend half a block into the course who had a super soaker filled with what we were hoping was earthly water.

As we dashed off, about 5 guys got in front of me before the first turn. To show my ferocity, I activated my lightsaber and sped up. Two blocks into the course we were given a task. We had to set a little alien baby on a plastic spoon and walk a block without dropping it. If it fell, we were to start all over again. Most of the participants had to restart at least once….myself, three times. That put me pretty far back in the pack, so I madly dashed the next several blocks to catch up.

Before entering the parking lot loop, there was a colored smoke area that was to be passed through, and holding your breath was the best way to go. I mimicked slicing some of the participants as I passed them, because I carried Darth Vaders lightsaber and wanted to pay homage to his evilness. But then I met my match as several Fetts and other nefarious characters ambushed us as we passed between some pallets in the road. I attempted to fend off the barrage of silly string with my dark side fueled skills but I was outnumbered and overmatched. Relegated to running the rest of the event with strings hanging off my body and lightsaber, it was time to accelerate for the final stretch.

There are two things silly string does not go well with, fire and water. Luckily, we experienced the less dangerous combo, as there was another enthusiastic super soaker wielding space man, deluging us even as we tried to dodge and avoid the water. He got me pretty good, but I believe I landed a truly damaging attack before passing by. Reminiscent of E.T. there were several police cars with lights on parked haphazardly in the road a block before the finish. We had to dodge between them and then pass through a tunnel of some form of wiggly tube wielded by exuberant teenagers.

This event checked all the boxes for a fun run. Short enough for the whole family to do, costumes encouraged, silly atmosphere, non- competitive, and very fun! Definitely a better time than I expected. The midday start time was handy, as there was plenty to check out and do before and after the run. The only thing it was missing was more participants in costume. It can only make the event more exciting. I don’t think I will allow my family to miss it next year.

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