Race Preview: 2016 First Run/Walk 5K and 10K


Do you enjoy counting down to the New Year?  Do you get a thrill when the count down starts before the race begins and everyone is off on the course?  Count down the New Year and start your race at the stroke of midnight with the First Run 2016.  I had the opportunity to run this beautiful course on New Years 2015 and seeing the lights of Portland reflecting on the Willamette River on that clear and cold night still sticks with me. Runners will run on the popular river front in down town Portland.   Temperatures are understandably cold, but costumes and festive running gear are sure to be in ample supply.  The festive event offers music before and after the race, plenty of people watching, fun with friends... it was the most memorable race for me in 2015!  I had a blast as I tried to trumpet on the noise maker I carried with me on the 5K course whenever a spectator cheered or wished me a happy new year.  (Blowing into a party noise maker is kinda hard when you are already trying to run your heart out... but then, that could just be me.  I wasn't too terribly nimble while I ran in a satin evening gown.)  

After kicking off the New Year with a run or walk, celebrate at The World Trade Center with food and beverages (including Deschutes Brewery beer), music and post race dancing with a DJ, a fun winter photo op with “snow” and wintery decorations all around, costume contests and prizes, also race shirts guaranteed for those who register before the 15th… So what are you waiting for?!

This year, participants are able to purchase a commemorative medal or charm as a keepsake to remember starting the new year off in a unique way.  Choosing if you’d like to purchase one (or not) cuts down on waste if someone does not prefer race “bling”.  Medals are an additional $6 to registration and charms are $3.

As mentioned above, the course is a loop on the waterfront, leaving the World Trade center and running along the Willamette River to the Steel Bridge.  On your way to the Steel Bridge, be sure to be on the lookout for the bollards on the sidewalk.  With the amount of participants and the location of these pesky steel blobs on the ground, they can jump out and bite you! (Or at least bash your shin… so be cautious here.)   After crossing the Steel Bridge, you will run back along the river to the Hawthorne Bridge.  Be sure to check out the cityscape reflected in the water after you cross the Steel Bridge.  Runners and walkers will be stopping to take plenty of selfies and group shots of themselves and running friends, so stick to the left if you want to veer around them!  However, if you aren’t out in this part of town in the middle of the night very often, I highly recommend taking a moment to savor it, whether that means stopping your race for a photo or slowing down for a moment to look over to your right.

A couple options are available if you’d like to avoid lines for packet pickup before the race.  The first option is on Saturday, December 26th, from 11 am until 2 pm with packet pickup and registration available at the Fremont Foot Traffic store (4020 NE Fremont St., Portland 97212).  If that doesn’t work out, there is a packet pickup (along with registration) on Thursday, December 31st, from 11 am until 3 pm at the Downtown Foot Traffic store (333 SW Taylor Ave, Portland 97204).  Day of race packet pickup and registration is available from 10 p.m. to 11:45 p.m on Thursday night at the Start/Finish area.

Race Details:

When:  December 31st, 2015
10Pm:  Pre race celebrations begins
Stroke of midnight:  5K run and walk begins as well at the 10K run

Where: World Trade Center (121 SW Salmon St.  Portland)

Registration:  Mail in registration must be postmarked by Dec 15th.
Online registration is available as well by clicking here.  Event is $45 for either distance and $50 on the day of the event.

Website:  AA Sports First Run/Walk

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