Saturday, September 5th I laced up for the 3rd Annual Hero Up Half Marathon. It was Labor Day weekend and I had a gazillion other things to do to get my boys ready for school, but there was no way I’d miss this race. This event is a non-profit race and all of the proceeds help kids with cancer. In the first two years, the Hero Up Half Marathon has raised $22,000 to fight childhood cancer. Most events I check off my list and start the hunt for my next one, but this isn’t your typical race. Read the fine print in races and you’ll see a lot of them don’t give 100% of the proceeds to a charity.
This event is for a cause close to my heart, but that isn’t the only reason I love it. The Hero Up Half Marathon is just plain fun. Everyone loves superheroes and it’s a blast seeing the young and not so young (hand raised) out there running with spirit. Volunteering at this race alone would be fun, just to see all the costumes. Wonder Woman is always a favorite, as well as Batman and Superman, but this year Thor, Nacho Libre and the Nun made an appearance too. The people watching makes the 13.1 miles go faster.
The course is straightforward and, like many events from Cook Park in Tigard, takes advantage of the paved trails in the park, surrounding neighborhoods and some industrial sections of Tigard. There’s a spot to see the river, some forested areas though the park, but my favorite sights are the fellow runners. I love having non-stop entertainment. There’s no way to get lost on this course. Volunteers and their Hero Up cowbells are at every possible turn, so there’s never any doubt where to go. Intersections with lights had police officers directing traffic. The green in me cringed as I ran by police vehicles idling at lights, but if that’s my one complaint, this event is a complete success.
Music, chocolate milk and typical post-race goodies were at the finish line. Wolverine announced the finishers coming in and remembered me from last year. You feel the love with this run, race organizers genuinely make you feel special from packet pick up to the finish line. Most runs I’m just another bib number, but this one feels different and that’s just one of the reasons I think everyone should run this event at least once and, with a half marathon, 5k and kids’ run, there’s a distance for everyone.
The Hero Up Half Marathon has a flat and fast course, fun medals, a perfect fit finisher’s tee and the best participants and volunteers out there. Most importantly, it’s a well -organized event and great race for anyone looking for a run. For me, I like a good race, but I love an event with heart. Each of the superhero quotes along the course made me smile, but the picture of a true fighter almost made me cry. Near the finish, there was a poster of a young boy dressed as Batman reminding us just how real their fight to survive is, making our little 13.1 mile run seem pretty trivial.
This run pushes you in different ways and reminds you to hug your loved ones extra tight. Every day is a gift and health is a luxury not all of us have. Thank you Hero Up Half Marathon for another fun year and a huge thank you to the little Batman who gave me water at the first water station. He gave me a perfect hand off and I failed miserably spilling it all over, proving klutz is more of my superpower. I love the novelty of superhero stuff, but I appreciate the heartfelt reminder this event spreads. There are kids out there fighting harder than any superhero and parents just trying to keep it together, but most importantly, we can all do a little something to make a difference in lives around us. All of us have super powers to help others.