Race Recap: Lucky Clover 3/17/16 (Springfield, Ore.)

Holy smokes! Was it a gorgeous evening on St. Patrick's Day all over Oregon?! The weather was absolutely incredible for us in Eugene/Springfield, as close to 150 racers participated in the 10th Annual Lucky Clover 10K/5K event at Dorris Ranch, in Springfield. As crazy as it may sound, this was my very first visit to Dorris Ranch. It was spectacular! I was throughly surprised at the miles, and miles of paved paths and groomed trails. Needless to say, I will be back - often - to run here. I appreciate that the Lucky Clover event gave participants choices of which distance, and which surface, to run on. Runners and walkers could choose a 5K on either the paved paths along the recently completed Middle Fork Path, or, a 5K trail run through the beautiful filbert orchards at Dorris Ranch. I selected the 10K, which was also unique in that you ran both the paved (road) 5K, and the trail 5K - but - you chose which 5K to do first. I chose the road 5K first, as I decidedly wanted to complete the 10K on the trails through the orchards (I love the trails).

Locating Dorris Ranch (and the Tomseth House where the start/finish was staged) and obtaining parking was a breeze. I got to the event an hour prior to the start time, which always helps with pre-race logistics (like parking, getting your packet, and using the restroom before starting). Packet pick-up was super easy, and I noticed a number of participants registering day-of. It’s always nice when an event allows you to register on race-day, especially when the weather turned out so dashingly amazing on race day!

Level 32 Racing, who was the race director for this event, provided excellent pre-race instructions to participants, explaining the transition point for the 10K participants well, and getting us on the right 5K course (right for the road, left for the trail). I was expecting a ‘traffic jam’ to ensue, but nope! Perfect planning, and planning executed well, really shined in all aspects of this race!

As I chose to run the 5K paved paths (road) course first, I noticed that the sun sure was shining – it was a little toasty out there! I packed off my pace pretty quick as I was not dressed for the warmer weather (I packed my race gear that morning before work expecting high temperatures in 40’s to low 50’s – it was mid 60’s!). Also, I hadn’t hydrated well all week (amazing how important staying hydrated, regardless of running, is). I reminded myself over and over that this year, all races I do in 2016 are simply for fun, not for time/place/beating anyone. Thankfully, there was an aid station at the 1.55 mile turn-around point on the path, which was perfect.

Nearing the transition (by the start/finish line, so there was a good amount of energy!), I was certainly ready to get into the filbert groves where it was shaded – and to get back on the trails! I haven’t been on the trails running since the McKenzie River 50K in September. Ugh! Why do I deny myself like that?!

It was like heaven when my running shoes hit the muddy meadow that you needed to run through to get to the orchards. It was so quiet on the trail, too. When looking at the race results, the highest number of participants chose the 5K trail route, so they were mostly finished when I entered my 5K trail time. There were super-friendly course marshals out on the trail (there were course marshals on the road portion, too) making sure I went the right way. The trail was a series of loops, and if Level 32 Racing hadn’t planned so well like they did, I could easily envision participants not knowing how they needed to navigate the loops to get the 5K completed correctly. I was able to pass an aid station twice on the trail 5K, which was very much appreciated.

Seeing the finish line, I was so thrilled I was able to participate in this event. The weather was marvelous, the courses were incredible, the volunteers were helpful and friendly. Sporks A La Cart was at the finish line providing traditional Irish fare for post-race treats. A post-race Irish party was occurring at Claim 52 Brewings’ The Abbey.

Level 32 Racing always does a great job with their events, but I have to say – they are quickly becoming a race company that I can confidently say produces 100% amazing races, 100% of the time.


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