The Corporal Matthew Lembke Regatta Run in Tualatin is an old-school 5k. It doesn’t have giant medals, chip timing or fancy tech shirts but it does provide a solid course, great support and most importantly—raised nearly $18,000 for the Cpl. Matthew Lembke Scholarship fund. Corporal Lembke perished in 2009 from injuries sustained while serving his third tour in Afghanistan. The Tualatin native’s legacy lives on through this 5k that bears his name and the many students who benefit from the scholarship fund.
In a manner befitting a race named after a veteran, the beginning of the event was marked by a color guard and tribute to Iwo Jima provided by the Young Marines and a lovely rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, sung a cappella by two young friends of the Lembke family. The weather was fair, even a bit warm for the season. There were 459 registered participants for this race representing a wide cross-section of runners and walkers. Everyone from the shorty-shorts, super-serious and sinewy masters to moms and dads with strollers and everything in between, including seven year-old Caden B., who was running his first 5k with his Dad, Chris. There was even a couple determined to carry on their tradition of running this particular race even though it was scheduled on their wedding day!
There were plenty of beautiful fall colors to witness as we wound our way through Tualatin Community and Cook Parks, though I did find myself dodging an unusual amount of dog poop (step up your game Tualatin/Tigard dog owners!). The course featured a number of short out-and-backs (and the entire course was also out-and-back). This allowed the slow runners (that would include me!) to see the speedsters as they quickly progressed through the course ahead of us. Everyone was very supportive, cheering each other as the groups converged.
Tualatin High School teacher and Race Director, Kathy Hollamon recruited students and staff to serve as race volunteers, and her work paid off. Numerous cheerleaders lined the course and brought an infectious enthusiasm to the race. The water stations were well supported. This year had the best volunteer turnout in the seven years since
the race was founded.
A raffle takes place during the award ceremony; those who stuck around after the race had the opportunity to win some good stuff! Additionally, tickets were sold for a quilt raffle supported by a Marine mom who makes four American-themed quilts each year. The money raised from the quilt raffle goes to a Military charity of the Lembke’s choosing.
This is a solid race, and as a newly-minted Tualatinian (Tualatinite? Tualatiner?) I look forward to running this race again!