The announcer-turned-human-air-horn started the race and we were off. Starting from Griffith Park, the route quickly turned onto 5th St. and ran past the Beaverton Library, City Park and Fountain, and Farmer’s Market. I was hoping to better my 33:09 from Monday’s ORRC Greenway Trail Trial, but not by much. The first mile marker was right on, according to my friend’s Garmin, and there were families starting to line the route in preparation of the 10:00 parade. Somewhere around here, the lone guy in our posse offered to push my daughter in her stroller (or maybe I asked him and he was too nice to say no?) … very cool, if you ask me!
We made a turn onto Erickson and then around one of the nicest parks I’ve seen – Evelyn Schiffler Memorial Park. The park, I learned later, has nearly one mile of trails; I was hoping our route would follow the shorter loop but we had to take the outside path. I’ve already planned to take Eliza to this park sometime this week for some fun kid play time. Friendly volunteers kept us on track and before long we were retracing our footsteps. The second mile marker was a welcome sight; but I wasn’t watching our time and I was just glad (and a little surprised) to see it.
In the last mile, we came upon a young runner who was taking a walk break. We encouraged her to run with us, and one of my friends stepped up next to her and talked with her the rest of the race – helping her run the whole rest of the way and finish strong. Helping other runners is one of the best things about racing, in my opinion. It lets me forget about my own race and I usually do better myself!
What’s nice about this race is that you can see a long way down 5th St., but not have to worry about traffic because the roads are completely closed. Best of all is that the third mile marker is very close to the last turn back onto Griffith, providing a natural “kick” line. An electronic clock showing the race time was visible on the approach and I realized we were not only going to beat my time from Monday, but come in well under 30:00 (my official time was 28:39). The finish chute was well-marked and organized, as volunteers pulled our tags and recorded finish times. All finishers received a medal and a goody bag, including a Gu, a cowbell that could be exchanged for a Jamba Juice, and some other goodies. There were water coolers and cups available, and volunteers were hard at work filling and distributing the refreshing water.
Post-race, we had ample time to run to Starbucks (the one at Fred Meyer) and then walk to Beaverton City Park. My little one was able to get in some quality playground time, but the Beaverton Motorcycle Police pulled her attention away with their choreographed maneuvers to kick off the parade. The play structure was quickly abandoned as families found shady spots along 5th St. for the parade.
Let’s talk about the parade. I recall when I was little, the whole point of a parade was waiting for the “candy” floats. Hard candies and Tootsie Rolls would scatter across the road and little kids would swarm around to frantically pick up as much as they could before the next float came by. The Beaverton Celebration Parade has lots of entertaining floats and lots of floats that handed out candy. Good candy, too, like Skittles, Twizzlers, and Sour Patch Kids. Eliza was in heaven. (The cool cars that drove by helped; and seeing Elsa and Anna walk by was almost more than she could handle.) The Beaverton Library (part of WCCLS) handed out books to kids along the parade route, and a number of youth dance, gymnastics and cheer squads handed out fliers with passes for free trial classes.
I really hope this race continues to grow because it offers a truly great course for a very low-cost, followed by a family friendly and entertaining parade. Sgt. Steve Schaer, the Beaverton Police Department, and the City of Beaverton do a great job with this event and I hope to make it an annual family tradition. Keep an eye out for next August when we’ll be sure to remind you about the Beaverton Fun Run 5k!