Kelly BartenThis year, my favorite race experience was the Beaverton Celebration 5k, which takes place on the Celebration Parade route each September. This was my first time running the race, which was only $10. I was trying to run my first post-baby sub-30 5k, and had three fast friends to pace my friend Abby and I. The course, which is lined with cheering parade spectators, is flat and broken up with some turns and a short jaunt through a park. We were able to finish around 27:00 which was a happy surprise for me. Beaverton Celebration 5K, September 2016 (Date TBD)
Brian BernierMy most memorable race was the Eugene Marathon. It was my first experience racing at that distance and it was at a very tough time in my life. I used this race to try to redefine my worth. I ran without a watch and somehow pulled off negative splits that put me in some esteemed company before the dreaded bonk laid me low, but I pushed through to finish in 2:47 and qualify for Boston. Eugene Marathon, May 1, 2016
I think the race that stood out the most for me was the Oregon Trail Game 5K in Oregon City. When I first heard about it, I was intrigued, but had mixed feelings. On the one hand I like races that offer some new creative element that rise above the ordinary; On the other hand I’m wary of the recent glut of “gimmick” races and wondered if this one would turn out to be a little amateurish and mediocre. So it took me awhile to finally take the plunge and sign up. I needn’t have worried, because the race organizers did an incredible job of combining the elements of a “normal” 5K with a game. Running fast was still rewarded (and possible while playing the game, despite the brutal hills), but you made decisions and played the game on the fly, grabbing game pieces of your choosing at several checkpoints. Everything was laid out intelligently so you could keep running while making game decisions. In the end, there were two sets of results: conventional race results and game results, and success in one didn’t guarantee success in the other. I was able to gradually move up and win the race itself, but to my chagrin I “drowned” in the game after having high hopes that my decisions had allowed me to “reach Oregon”. All race finishers received a cool certificate with their game results, and award winners were given a high quality plaque that had a space for their certificates. Despite a couple first year glitches (a course snafu for some runners and a long wait for the award ceremony), the event was a lot of fun and I would definitely run it again. It’s also impressive that the race/game was the brainchild of a high school student and served as her senior project!
Oregon Trail Game 5K, July 2016 (Date TBD)
The two races that stand out most to me are the Corvallis 5k, and the Haulin’ Aspen Half Marathon, as both of them were in beautiful settings that I had never experienced before. The Corvallis 5k was my first time ever visiting Corvallis, and I enjoyed the beautiful OSU campus and surrounding fields. The Haulin’ Aspen was my first ever run in Central Oregon (near Bend), and the dusty trails through Ponderosa Pines and Aspens were breathtaking (literally and figuratively).
Corvallis 5K, April 16, 2016
Haulin’ Aspen Half Marathon, August 6, 2016
My favorite race this year was Uberthon’s Oregon Spring Half Marathon, which took place just a mere 5 minutes from my house ultimately ending at the St. Josef’s Winery. It was most memorable for me because it was my first first place half marathon finish, which is obviously a feeling that will stay with you for awhile. I loved the race course because it included many of the beautiful country roads I run on a regular basis. Another thing that made this race memorable was having my mom run the 5k and being able to see her finish. I think racing is always more fun when you can get your family involved, and who better than the person who has supported me in my running throughout the years.
Oregon Spring Half Marathon, May 28, 2016
For me, my favorite running experience was the Sunriver Half Marathon For a Cause. I love Central Oregon and there’s hardly a better place to run. From the scenery to the event, it was just perfect all around. But what made it most memorable was my family coming along with me and us having a pre-school family vacation before school started up again. We stayed at the Sunriver Resort, went swimming, ate at the Sunriver Brewery, went down the tubing hill, and biked the paved trails. This is a race that I have now ran 3 times, and one that I always try to work into my schedule.
Sunriver Half Marathon For a Cause, September 4, 2016
Monkey Face Half Marathon at Smith Rock. I not only ran exactly the race I had planned, but met a few amazing fellow runners who were on a cross country adventure before starting grad school (all 3 were from New York). The race was well organized (it helps to have the course memorized) and everyone was amped to be there. I will definitely run this race again, even though the course is part of my regular running routes. I bragged about this race so much to my local running friends, who all thought it was going to be a road run, that every single one is planning to run it next year.
Monkey Face Half Marathon at Smith Rock, August 2016 (Date TBD)
This year mine was the Spartan Sprint in Idaho. Even though I had been injured and hadn’t run for about 3-4 weeks before this event (so I was really feeling out of shape) I enjoyed it because I got to do it with my sisters. My sisters are 7, 9, and 12 years younger than me, so I never really did things with them growing up – besides having to babysit them. It’s fun that now that we’re all grown up, they all have also become runners – at a variety of levels. It was great to have to work together, endure the hot, dusty hills and the craziness of the obstacles, and come out with smiles and lots of great memories.
Spartan Sprint, June 25, 2016 (Idaho) or August 6, 2016 (Washington)
I’m not a mom, but my favorite 2015 race was Uberthon’s Mommathon (it was, indeed, open to non-moms). The course was relatively interesting and not entirely flat, but what made the race stand out was the addition of post-running fitness challenges: push ups, planks, jumping rope, box jumps, and burpees. I actually spent a little bit of time in the month before the race developing my abilities in the fitness events. And for an early February race, the weather cooperated wonderfully, with temperatures in the mid-40s during the race, rising to the low-50s during the fitness events.
Mommathon, February 27, 2016
Thank you to all the wonderful race directors and volunteers who have made all these events (including those not mentioned in this post) possible. We are already looking forward to and planning for upcoming races in 2016.