This distance is ran just prior to the Iris Festival Parade on the main street in Keizer – River Road. For the past few years, the start line for all the races has been just off of the River Road/Cherry Avenue intersection, which is where the festival booths, rides, and games are set up. The road is completely closed to traffic and the course is a series of out and backs. Once runners enter River Road, there is turn south for a half mile or so, before turning and heading north on River Road. After a longer stretch, runners turn once more to head south and finish back at the start. It’s simple, straightforward, pretty fast.
Since we were planning on hitting up the parade and trying our hand at a few carnival games, I took my oldest daughter in the stroller. We got our bibs in the huge food, beer, and music tent – which would have been very welcome if there was rain in the air (luckily there wasn’t). There wasn’t a ton of direction given, but I’m not sure that there needed to be. We were given info about making sure that we stayed to the left side of the streets as the 3k would start shortly afterwards and everyone wanted to avoid collisions.
While the street seems very flat when you are driving in a car, I was surprised that there were actually as many rolling “hills” out there. I use the term hills loosely, because it really isn’t much – but just a note that I made when I was running on surface level.
My daughter and I started off pretty strong, but I was trying to hold up a bit as I was running in new shoes and didn’t want to get too crazy (I still got blisters). Once she saw that we were running behind another stroller runner, her competitive drive kicked in and she encouraged me the rest of the way. We never caught up to them, but I think we ended up going faster than we would have otherwise.
Even though there were only two turns, each was met with enthusiastic and encouraging volunteers. It would have been easy enough to just lay a cone out there and call it good, but I definitely appreciated the human touch.
While the race was relatively low-key, it was chip timed. My GPS had a finish distance of 2.96 miles and I heard grumblings of a short course from other runners as well. It may be worth a re-measure as adding distance would be a simple fix. The post-race was great, as all runners received a medal, shirt, iris, and a nice pancake and sausage breakfast. My daughter wolfed down 4 pancakes on her own, so you KNOW it was delicious. While I don’t typically run 5k’s anymore unless they are close, this is one that is well done and does a great job combining with a day of activities in the city. Come visit Keizer next year!