There are a few races that have been a staple of my running calendar since I started years ago, and this event is definitely one of them. The Zena Road Runs, put on by the Willamette Valley Road Runners, always falls on Super Bowl Sunday (February 7th). Taking place in the rural area just north west of Salem, it may be a drive from some locations, but it is totally worth it. With 3 distance options of 3 miles, 6 miles, or 15K, it can be good for any skill level. A word of warning though, it is unlikely that you will set a personal best on any of these courses.
With an 11 am gun time, you can ‘sleep in’ before this event. The three and 6 mile courses are both out and backs. The road has a gradual downhill, then a series of rollers. There are a couple sweeping turns, but it is basically a straight shot. The 15K is a loop, starting off with a 3 mile climb, and no, that is not a typo. There is a stretch of gravel, and some amazing views as you run along the crest of the hills. It then drops down on pavement and joins the other course at the 6 mile turnaround.
Registration is open via mail in registration and the internet. Until January 8th, entry is just $15 for any of the races. After that, it jumps up to $20 until February 4th. DOE registration is $25, but you can register online up until February 4th. Proceeds will benefit the Kelsey Oldham Scholarship fund and the WV Road Runners.
There is always plenty of food in the church after the race, and the standard age group and overall awards. My advice as a returning attendee is to carpool (parking is very limited), bring warm clothes as well as something to change into after as the weather can be moody and there is little shelter and be ready to have fun as this is always a great event. One of my favorite ways to kick off Super Bowl Sunday, making February 7th a fun day.