Packet pick-up was located at the Road Runner Sports in Tualatain, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the day before the race. I managed to get there around 1:30 and did not have to wait at all. Energy Events had emailed me a day earlier with my bib number, so all I had to do was go to the right section of the table with the number range that included mine (#377).
The goodies bag included a nice tech shirt, some snacks, and flyers for upcoming races, all in matching fabric bag. Outside the store was a photo backdrop to help runners get into the spirit of the event.
Day of Race:
Tualatin Commons (pictured below) is a very nice venue for a race, as there is an ample supply of parking available, even for a late-bird like me – I arrived around 8:20 a.m. for the 8:30 start of the 10K and had no trouble finding a space.
It sounded like the party was already in full swing. Although there were over 1000 runners present, it didn’t take long for fellow Run Oregon blogger Joe Dudman to spot me. He and Mike Allen and Chuck Coates (all local running celebrities!) were hanging out together, and not long after, Marilyn Tycer came by to say hi. It was another one of those Run Oregon parties!
Energy Events had set up three corrals for the 10K runners: those running under 8:00 minutes/mile, those between 8:00-10:00 minutes/mile, and everyone else.* There would be three waves of starts, with a minute separating each wave. The corrals were marked clearly with signs. Joe wished me good luck as I headed off to start area and settled into the first corral, somewhat near the back.
* My last Energy Events race was the Vancouver Marathon 5K, which did not use any sorting queue, and the first 1/8 or so of the race was one big clog, so this was definitely a welcome change.
According to the data on my Garmin Connect site, it was 54 degrees with 77% humidity. It felt pretty ideal for running, and I was ready to go.
The starting point was on 84th Avenue, just south of Seneca Street. We got a countdown from 10 down to 0, and then the first wave took off. Because of the wave start, I didn’t notice any clogging, although I can’t speak to the second or third waves. We hit Boones Ferry quickly and turned left, and then a quick right (where Boones Ferry becomes Tualatin Road).
The next junction was a T-intersection, and this is where we went off-course. Tualatin Road looked like it was turning left; straight ahead was a short dead-end that spurred into a trail. There were no cones, markings, or volunteers to direct us either way.
To be fair to Energy Events, the 10K course map showed a straight line into Cook Park, so if we’d kept the race map in our minds, we might have figured out where we should be going. On the other hand, the 10K pace, while not sprinting, isn’t conducive to the 2D-map to 3D-reality spatial recognition process. Anyway, what I saw was that the two guys in front, one of whom was fellow Run Oregon blogger Brian Bernier, were in fact heading straight toward the trail, while the pack just behind them made the turn. Brian turned back and quickly assumed the lead again. Here’s Brian’s take on what happened:
The bicyclists turned, I wasn’t aware if they were official pacers. The officer on the motorcycle just stopped before the park and I heard he was telling people to turn instead of going straight. I was clear under the trestle before I came back because everyone that was with me had already turned around. There was no signage or chalk in the park, but it was there by the time we got back.
Tualatin Road made another right, then left turn. We dutifully followed it. It was a mild morning, overcast but dry, and the road was mostly flat and wide, although it was not clear of all traffic.
All of a sudden, a Tualatin police SUV raced by to the race leaders. I didn’t even have time to wonder if something had happened to them before I saw the runners ahead of me slow down and then stop, some of them throwing their hands up in the air. I slowed down too, wondering what was going on. Then the front runners started heading back toward us.
Two thoughts occurred to me. First, this race was irretrievably blown for me in terms of anything like a PR: the pace for those first two miles was sustainable for 4.2 more miles, but not 7+ more, and if I’d been running a 15K from the start, I would’ve had more even pacing. (That is, if I were to try to reconceptualize this as an “unofficial” 15K for my own records.)**
** Writing this recap about 40 hours after the race gives a different (i.e., calmer) perspective. It’s not like this was a marathon that entailed months of training for the optimal peaking moment. I can run 10Ks frequently, so it’s just one brief lost opportunity for a good race time, but not that big of a deal in the big picture.
Second, this race was going to have something of a “Harrison Bergeron” aspect to it. The faster you were, the more “bonus” miles you had to run as sort of an equalizing factor. In looking at my GPX map plot, I can see that we went off-course around 0.27 miles into the race. I had covered 1.85 miles when I stopped, so I’d already added nearly 1.6 extra miles to my race. Which would have to be doubled to get back to the right spot. Runners who were faster than I was were, of course, farther ahead, which meant they had tacked on even more distance. In other words, everyone was going to have a different total distance run, and the finishing times were going to look closer than they should have because of this.
Another unfortunate result of the off-course excursion was that it negated the wave starts. As we headed back toward the correct course, those of us in the first wave plowed into the second and third waves, necessitating lots of weaving in and out. At times it was possible to run around people. But, as occasional police cars reminded us, the roads were not closed to traffic. Police officers admonished us on multiple occasions to stay off the road. (However, the sidewalk was just not wide enough to accommodate that many runners.)
The trail took us into Cook Park in Tigard, which is a familiar venue to me from various Uberthons races as well as the Ho Ho 5K. It was like seeing an old friend. That was, until I saw the “1 mile” marker on the course. Someone else said “just 5.2 more miles!” Ah, gallows humor…. Some of us had already run at least 4 miles by that point. At that very moment, it was a pretty soul-crushing feeling.
The 5K/10K split was located in the park. We 10Kers continued on the snaking path that followed the Tualatin River, while the 5Kers turned right to close the loop and head back to Tualatin Commons. Right before the split was when Joe Dudman passed me. “Go Joe!” I yelled.
Crossing through Cook Park, we then circled around on Durham Road, past the Tigard and Durham high schools. Somewhere around here I found myself running alongside Danielle Frost, and we started chatting. We had pretty identical 10K times, which made us compatible running partners for the rest of the race, although I don’t think either of us was going all out at that point. I’m normally a solo runner, and for the 5K and 10K races, I like to run fast enough that conversations aren’t in the cards, but this was no longer one of those days.
The second water/aid station was located on the corner of Durham and Boone’s Ferry, under a bright canopy. Danielle and I both slowed for water. (Okay, who am I kidding? I didn’t slow down; I stopped. I still have not mastered the art of drinking while actually running.)
The last two miles were down Boone’s Ferry – actually, first an uphill ascent of about 80 vertical feet over half a mile, then downhill the rest of the way. At about 9 elapsed miles for me, or roughly what would have been just under 6 miles in the original course, we were back to the Tualatin Commons area. The last stretch took us around the lake in the middle of the commons. Having not gone all out, I had a pretty good kick left in me and managed to finish the longest 10K ever with a good burst of speed.
After I crossed the finish line, a race volunteer gave me a finisher’s medal, which was a nice bottle opener attached to a Rum Rum lanyard. Having more tech shirts/race shirts than I can wear, I’m a big fan these days of race medals (although this race had both, so people who like race shirts weren’t disappointed). As is the norm at Energy Events, there were plenty of race sponsors with booths – I snagged another Clif bar and some Jamba Juice, and got some feedback from the Road Runner Sports employees about the new Nike Air Pegasus shoes versus Brooks Glycerins.
Of course, this being the Rum Run, I should say something about the post-race party. The race bibs came with two wear-away tickets for free drinks, which were redeemable in an area set off by portable fences with a single entry point for ID checks. I’m a teetotaler, so I gave my tickets away, but it looked like people were having fun inside.
Obviously, the missing course marker was pretty disappointing, though I’ll note that other than the first 0.3 miles or so, the course was well-marked with signs or cones or volunteers or some combination thereof. The volunteers were great, offering a lot of cheerful support and praise. I suppose it was something of a blessing that the off-course mishap happened so early in the race that I still had plenty in the tank when I realized I would have to run over 15K instead of 10K for the day; I imagine it would have been far worse to have gone 5 miles before going off-course….
Energy Events has an official statement available on its Facebook page:
At Energy Events we strive to provide a great experience for our participants, friends and supporters. Yesterday at the Rum Run, this did not happen for many of the 10k participants, and as Race Director I take full responsibility for this mishap. I apologize for the longer distance that many of the 10K participants ran.
We understand how frustrating it can be to run longer than you anticipated or trained for. We can assure you that we are putting measures in place for this to not happen in the future.
If you ran the longer distance and have your correct times and distance, we can adjust accordingly. Please send your FULL NAME, RACE BIB #, EVENT (Rum Run 10K) to Jon-at-aasportsltd-dot-com. Our timing company, AA Sports, will update your time to the results page in order to show your correct distance and pace for this event. Please send this information in within the next 5 days to be included in the official results.
If you have any questions about this situation please email registration-at-energyevents-dot-com. Thank you for your understanding, and continued support ~
Brian C. Davis | Race Director | Energy Events
This was dated May 25, so if you want to correct your time, do so by May 30. (Obviously, replace the -at- and -dot- with the appropriate symbols.)
Apart from the fact that it was the world’s longest 10K race, I thought this was a fun and well-supported event. The course itself – that is, the actual course – was laid out pretty well and included a good mix of road and trails, forest/park and suburban locations, and gentle ascents and descents. As with all previous Energy Events’ races that I’ve taken part in, the race was full of spirit and excitement. I saw one runner in a Hawaiian shirt, and another with a lei. The post-race festivities were full of fun, too.
For 10K results, click here.