The energy before the race for the highly sought after inaugural High Street Hustle event in Salem was palpable. Over 1,100 participants took to the streets of Oregon’s capitol for an event unlike any other. Arriving in Salem about 6:45 a.m., and driving through downtown to the complimentary parking garage that was available to park in, proved to display just how excited Salem was for the event – the streets were alive with participants and spectators making their way to the pre-race festivities. For this event, you could choose to run or walk in a 5k or 8k (with a 90 minute course limit), and a kid’s race was offered.
After parking (which was very easy, thank you volunteers), I took to the streets to locate the “Information” tent where packet pick-up was available. Kudos to race organizers for offering multiple options prior to race-day for participants to collect their goodie-bag, bib+chip timer, and race technical event shirt. By doing so, it appeared the majority of participants had already gathered their race packets and were ready to go. At the pick-up area, I noticed fellow Run Oregon Blogger Joe Dudman in front of me. Go Joe, Go!
I was able to get back to my vehicle quickly thanks to the underground parking on site, and secure my goodie bag and race shirt safely. Approximately 10 minutes prior to the 7:30 a.m. race start, announcements were made for participants to begin lining up behind the start line.
The race began promptly at 7:30 a.m., and the start was a ‘mass start’, so all participants took to the streets at the same time. It was simply awesome running down the completely closed off streets, past the capitol building, and onto High Street.
There was a hill greeting us shortly after we turned onto High Street. This was actually perfectly timed, as it allowed participants to thin out a little bit. The descent was, of course, super nice. Shortly after the hill, aid station 1 was greeting participants. It was at this time that I saw fellow Run Oregon Blogger Joe Dudman cruising back toward the finish line, and at this point, in first place. The 5k turn around was just past this aid station.
8k participants continued straight, and the signage and volunteers present were excellent at making sure participants went the correct direction depending on if they chose the 5k or 8k distance.
Zipping along High Street some more, it was lovely seeing this area of Salem; it was an established neighborhood with lots of people out on their front porches cheering along participants. At this point, there was zero doubt that this was a race that had the communities support. And you can also tell that by the over 200 volunteers and 50 sponsors that came together to make this event a success.
After a couple turns through the neighborhoods, it was time for the 8k participants to head back toward the finisher line. Once passing the 5k turn-around point, the third aid station (for 8k participants) greeted us. At this point, the 5k and 8k participants were back on the same pavement together, but there was enough room for zig-zagging around folks if needed.
It was so awesome when, getting back onto the downtown streets headed directly for the finish line, you could hear the energy at the finish line – the music, names being announced, and people just lining the streets, sometimes 2-3 deep at points, to cheer us on.
After crossing the finish line, there was water available for participants, and after a very short walk about a block away, across the street from the capitol building, was the post-race party. At the post-race festivities, Roth’s market was handing out fresh fruit, and bags were being given to participants that was chock-full of yummy food. For participants 21+, Santiam Brewing Co. received a free beer (or cider, someone mentioned as I was passing by). There was ample post-race nourishment, and vendors were set-up so you could wander and check-out their booth.
Make sure to check out the event photos, taken by Gordon Cully of GCC Photography. High Street Hustle Results, as well as the option to print your personal finisher certificate, are available here. Search for and click on your name, then click “View Certificate”.
For a first year event, the High Street Hustle was organized and executed like a race that has been around a very long time, and had been perfected. Recalling other races that were as well put together as this one, I can only come up with one other. This is an excellent event, and for 2016, I strongly encourage you to get this one on your race calendar!
I’d like to leave you with some wonderful words from the race