My friend Abby agreed to run this year’s 10k with me and we both signed up to volunteer before the race. Our job was at packet pick-up; always fun because you can see your friends that are racing while still doing your job. One half marathon participant, who was a little nervous, told us that she’d only started back up running again six weeks ago. Abby and I made her promise to look for us before the start, so we could run at least the first three miles together. The packet pick-up is inside the cafeteria at Tom McCall Elementary, which was spectacular … because it was below freezing outside! Around the perimeter of the gym, other tables were set up for 10k Series participants to drop their names in the raffle and pick up their great-looking 10k Series jackets.
The legendary Ralph Brown kept the crowd updated with announcements, and before long he let us know that it was “fifteen minutes to the race start.” The cafeteria cleared out, we made one last bathroom stop and braved the brisk air to find our new half marathon friend. Although there were quite a few people waiting to run and walk, we found her – looking for us. Then the race started, so we made quick introductions (I frequently make friends with people before learning their names) and headed out. Over the next three miles, we learned she’d just moved here with her husband from Australia, she’d visited more than 30 countries, and she lived near us. In other words, all we needed to know to decide we’d found a new running friend. We also learned her longest training run was four miles, so we decided we’d stick around to see her finish.
Despite the cold and the wind, it was actually a very pleasant run. There was only one section, in the 4th mile, where the wind got us. I’ll admit, both Abby and I (our new friend having left us to continue her 13.1-mile adventure) were ready to be done. We were only half-joking when we asked a spectator walking her puppy if she wanted us to exercise him so he could pull us up the hill.
The hill. The last half-mile has this killer hill. It goes around a curve, so you can’t see how long it is; and it also hides the school, so you can’t see the finish line. This is where my previous Y2K experience came in handy. As we passed two people on the hill, we got them to start running again because they believed me when I told them how little we had left. And I was not lying! Top of the hill: beautiful view of a volunteer less than a hundred meters away, pointing us to the finish. Past the timing mats, volunteers grabbed our chips, and we headed inside to put our sweats back on and warm up.
We knew our friend was still on the course and we anticipated she wouldn’t finish before about 2:20. Even though all race participants could eat yummy pancakes in the cafeteria, Abby and I decided a Starbucks run was in order. We drove to the Forest Grove Safeway, where the closest Starbucks was located, and ordered our drinks plus a tall extra-hot latte for our new friend. Back to the school, we sat in the car for just a few minutes, checked the time, and were talking to the timer when we saw her turn the corner towards the finish. With a smile on her face, she finished in less than 2:25.
The ORRC Y2K is a great way to kick off the new year. It’s a no-pressure race with great volunteers and a beautiful course. Volunteer race directors Bonny Benton and Mark Barrett did a wonderful job! Keep an eye out for the 2017 edition – almost always the 1st Saturday of the New Year.
2016 ORRC Y2K results: Click on each race distance for full results.
1. Jeffery Alberghini, 1:21:19
1. Carolyn Sykes, 1:38:59
1. Rich Stamps, 1:27:57
1. Barb Schimmel, 1:47:54
1. Christopher Roth, 37:09
1. Karlyn Nieland, 41:41
1. Dean Anderson, 37:49
1. Renee Paradis, 43:16
1. John Norton*, 1:21:12
1. Lizzie Cheney*, 1:16:37
1. Gary Shank, 1:24:55
1. Fenny Roberts, 1:17:04
*Denotes overall winner was master’s athlete.