For my first ever Pac Crest, I decided I really wanted to do one event each of the two days that I was there so I could earn a BEAST MEDAL. Let’s be honest: sometimes, you run a race for the bling…and sometimes, you run a two races in two days, can get three pieces of bling–one for each event, and then a BONUS MEDAL. I mean, I was already THERE in Sunriver, so I MIGHT AS WELL run the Saturday half marathon, AND the Sunday 5k, right?! (Can you hear that crazy runner logic?)
Apparently I’m not the only one who is motivated by bonus medals: WHY Racing had a lot of Pac Crest participants signing up for a second event during the Expo because they created a an additional bonus BEAST MEDAL that would be bestowed upon any athlete who completed any two (or more) events during Pac Crest weekend. This extremely smart add-on resulted in lots of additional registrations the weekend of the race, particularly for the 5k–so many that they actually ran out of BEAST medals!
There were roughly 600 runners and walkers participating in the family-friendly 5k, and over 200 of them were 19 or younger. Like the half marathon course, the route was on Sunriver’s paved bike paths with a single wave start. It was quite crowded for the first part of the race, and it was difficult to pass other runners (having multiple waves, or corrals marked with pace ranges might help reduce congestion).
I personally felt pretty sluggish after having completed the half marathon the day before, and by the time the race
started at 9:00am, I was already feeling warm and tired. I slogged along as best I could, trying to gauge how much energy I had left in the tank! I was really grateful for the flat looped course, which helped the miles pass by quickly. The volunteers and course marshals did a fantastic job and the whole 5k race went smoothly.
Immediately after I finished the 5k, I volunteered at the finish line, handing out medals and water to the last of the 5k and 10k runners and walkers, and then to the triathlon and duathlon finishers. For me, that may have been the coolest part of the weekend. Although I was tired and just wanted to take a shower and sit down and get some food, it was so awesome seeing the tri and du athletes cross the finish line. Seeing them complete their events after having been out there for several hours left me awestruck, and I loved the huge range of ages and body types.
I was pretty excited to learn later on that I actually won 1st place in my division (Athenas 39 and under). While I had missed the awards ceremony and hearing my name called since I was volunteering, I was still excited to claim my medal and pint glass later that day, and to hang out in the outdoor beer garden. It was so nice to just sit and relax and hang out with my running friends!
I had already fallen in love with Sunriver, but Pac Crest made me love Sunriver even more. My first ever Pac Crest weekend was a really positive and inspiring experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a destination race/family vacation!