Run Oregon’s Favorite Races: 5k

Run_Oregon_LogoThere are a LOT of races out there. And we tend to like most of them. We also tend to participate in more of them than an average runner, just because there are 17 of us and one of you. So here is a compilation of Run Oregon’s favorite 5ks which are still running strong.

(In alphabetical order by each blogger’s last name:)

Kelly Barten: The Stoller Vineyards 5k, usually held in the latter half of May in Dayton, Ore. Challenging course mixing XC with roads, major hills (up and down), beautiful setting, low price, great raffle, and benefits high school athletics. Bonus: Discount on Stoller wines for all participants.

Brian Bernier: Interestingly enough, my pick was the same as Kelly’s! My second choice is the Uberthons Freedomthon, a 4th of July race in Beaverton. A flat and fast course, usually with some speedsters up front and no shortage of families having fun, I enjoy it every year. Uberthons does a great job with top-of-the line timing, big medals, and plenty of refreshments.

Joe Dudman: It’s no secret that I run a lot of races, and the 5k is one of my preferred distances, so I have a lot to choose from. But coming up with my favorite 5k wasn’t as difficult as I expected. The Race For The Roses 5K, taking place each April in downtown Portland, has a lot going for it: A fast urban course that crosses two bridges; a competitive field but also a welcoming environment for the less swift; a large and warm indoor area for pre- and post-race activities (The Oregon Convention Center); and an average of 90 cents of every dollar earned goes to a local non-profit organization (Albertina Kerr). In addition, Race For The Roses is a stand-alone, independent event, so the race directors have all year to ensure their diligent efforts result in a high-quality race. Sure, there are a lot of downtown Portland races, but Race For The Roses starts and finishes on the east side, making the course somewhat unique, and there’s just something about the atmosphere surrounding the race that keeps me coming back every year. Next year’s race is scheduled for Sunday, April 17th. (Pssst… There’s also a 10K and Half Marathon).

Geli Heidelberger: My favorite 5k in recent years has been the Mount Angel Oktoberfest Road Race. This event takes place on the third weekend in September (Saturday, Sept 17, 2016) during the traditional Mount Angel Oktoberfest celebration. The weather is typically cool and dry. We can watch the hop harvest during the out-and-back of the first two miles and get cheered on by residents on the third mile that loops through the neighborhoods of Mt Angel. The race has a small town feel while delivering a well-organized, chip-timed race. The event also offers a 10k and a half marathon.

Jessica Mumme: The Lebanon Strawberry Festival is a huge to-do in Lebanon, Oregon every year in early June. Last year was the 106th running of the festival. In addition to The World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake, and a host of activities that are held over the course of the week and weekend, there is a Strawberry Festival 5k run and walk. This 5k takes place on the parade route, right before the parade begins. This is a flat, fast, out-and-back route, with tons of cheering fans lining the street! I’m a fan!

Rachel Peters : My favorite 5k  would have to be Uberthon’s Turkeython which, for the past couple of years, has taken place at Bridgeport Village in Tualatin. I usually try to get my family to run this one with me before our big Thanksgiving feast. One year, I was even able to run it with my relatives from California who were visiting for the holiday’s. The race atmosphere is always fun, friendly and family oriented. Race participants have the option of dressing up in their favorite holiday outfit, which just adds to the entertainment value. Another cool addition is that everyone is given an extra bib to write what they are thankful for; it’s kind of fun, mid-run, to read what everyone has chosen to write down. The course is generally always flat and fast, and the medals at the end are hands down the coolest; my relatives from Cali were in awe at the sight of their medals. I think this race will be a Peters family tradition for years to come.

Matt Rasmussen: The Aurora Colony Days 5k, held in conjunction (shockingly) with the festival that bears the same name, allows runners a flat double looped course each August. The race is small (2015’s event saw 76 finishers) and the swag is simple (a shirt with entry and pastries and coffee post-race). However, I think this race has a lot to show for it. Given the close proximity both from Portland and Salem, it is easy accessible yet probably somewhere that not a whole lot of people get to run. Aurora is also a cozy 160-year old city, with a myriad of antique stores and wineries lining the main street. From a running perspective, the course is really fast – so fast that I actually have two of my fastest 5k times ever at this very race. Add those all together, and this 5k gets my vote.

Drew Roberts: St. Paddy’s Day 5K dashes are, of course, easy to find throughout Oregon. But the one in Bend is just big enough while also being just low-key enough, that it gets my vote. Even though I’m not typically the dress up and run type (costumes and such), I have been known to find a green shirt for this race. Always held on St. Patrick’s Day, the race has seen major names, like Max King, while also being fun for the whole family. By running right through the heart of downtown Bend and finishing next to the amphitheater, runners get the thrill of the crowd (the guys and gals that start drinking at 7am) and a view of the river at the end.

Annette Vaughan: My favorite 5k has always been Lake Oswego’s Lake Run held in early May. If you like hills, you will love this little challenge. This scenic run includes views of Lake Oswego and Lakewood Bay. Not only do I enjoy the scenery and the challenge, but I love the atmosphere of this event. As you run through the neighborhoods, many people are out in their front yards cheering you on, playing music, and even offering impromptu water stations. With the annual Family Fun Festival near the finish line, it is a true community event. Even though it is a good-sized race, it has a small town race feel with the professionalism of a big city race.

Teresa Wymetalek: My favorite 5k combines two things I love: running and superheros. The Hero-Up 5k, which is usually in September,starts at Cook Park in Tigard and offers a half marathon, in addition to the 5k. The course isn’t particularly special, although I appreciate that it’s mostly flat and a decent portion takes advantage of the park. This is an event with serious heart, since all of the proceeds go directly to fighting childhood cancer. Awards are given for the speedy runners, but also the most spirited superhero costumes. It’s fun to see runners and walkers of all ages along the course in some pretty creative costumes. I love this run because they make you feel like family, cheer you on like you’re a genuine superhero, but mostly because all of the proceeds help kids fighting cancer.

Tung Yin: I have a soft spot in my heart for the old Zombie Apocalypse Run, but that hasn’t been staged since 2013. My favorite 5K still being run is the Halloweenathon. It’s always been run on a golf course (usually the Reserve), which makes for interesting scenery. Even more interesting are the costumes that many runners don; I even got into the spirit this year, running with a Darth Vader mask. And even though late October is starting to turn chilly, the weather isn’t so cold or nasty to inhibit your racing.


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