Race Recap: Hop Hop Half Marathon and 5K 3/26/16

Photos from the Hop Hop Half Marathon and 5K.

Photos from the Hop Hop Half Marathon and 5K.

I have officially participated in the "big three" Foot Traffic races; Foot Traffic Flat, Foot Traffic Holiday Half and the Foot Traffic Hop Hop Half. On Saturday, March 26, 2016, I was able to scratch off the Hop Hop Half/5K off my bucket list. I have always been extremely envious of my fellow Run Oregon family who have had the opportunity to participate in the Hop Hop Half/5K event, so I was determined to make 2016 my year to check it out, and check it off (the list)! The 5K was originally scheduled to begin prior to the half marathon. About a month prior to race day, race organizers alerted participants that the half marathon would kick-off first, at 8 a.m., followed by the 5K at 8:45 a.m. This was changed to allow a more uniform post-race party. If the 5K participants would have started at 7:30 a.m., as originally planned, the half marathoners would not have ever been on the course when 5K participants were beginning to celebrate at the finish line. I was pleased with the 5K being pushed back to 8:45 a.m., giving the half marathon participants a 45 minute head start. Also, 17 days before race day, the 5K race course was changed and was spectacular, providing participates the rare opportunity to run along the Peninsula Canal. As I had originally registered for the half marathon, the 5K changing to a later start and the 5K course being altered made me quickly "down-grade" from the half marathon to the 5K distance.

Two days prior to the race, organizers messaged 5K participants alerting us that the course had changed due to the turtles, living along the canal, were hatching. I was impressed Foot Traffic’s team was able to change the 5K course on such short notice – and extremely happy that they did change the course to protect the turtles.

Driving up race morning from Eugene to Portland, I was curious how race morning logistics would be – especially as I needed to utilize race morning packet pick-up to obtain my bib, chip and event shirt. After getting quite lost attempting to locate the start/finish/parking area, I finally arrived about 8:15 a.m. – way too close to the start time of 8:45 a.m. for comfort.

Parking was pretty simple, thankfully, with all gratitude going to the volunteers who were assisting participants get parked. Without the volunteers helping, it could have been pretty crazy.

After parking, there was a short walk from the parking lot to the start/finish line. I was the only one in line to get my bib (hooray!) and quickly found the vast oasis of porta-potties. All was well – it was about 8:35 a.m. and the race was set to begin in 10 minutes.

Lining up at the start line, I met a lady who was visiting Portland from Germany, and the Hop Hop 5K was her very first race. About five minutes prior to the start, race officially announced that due to the half marathon kicking off a bit later than 8 a.m., they would push the start of the 5K out 10-15 minutes to alleviate any congestion. As the half marathoners began their 13.1 mile journey by completing the revised 5K course, having nearly 600 racers merging with the half marathoners that were on this portion of the course could have caused unnecessary ‘roughness’.

A couple minutes before 9 a.m., we were off! The new-new course was an out-and-back, traveling along a paved street that had a portion of the street blocked off for participants. After about 3/4 of a mile, we travel through Country Club and along a sort of ‘hybrid’ trail that was a mix of pavement and gravel, to reach the halfway point, and turnaround. The wonderful lady I met at the start line from Germany had stuck with me to this point, and I was pleased to have the company!

Heading back to the finish line, it was wonderful to get to see so many participants dressed up in rabbit ears and Easter themed costumes. At about the 2.75 mile point, it was great to be able to see the finish line arch, and hear the music and energy. The lady from Germany crossed the finish line with me, and I was so pleased to congratulate her on her first race finish, and for doing such a brilliant job – we crossed in roughly 28 minutes and 30 seconds.

We parted ways, and I went to check out the finish line party. Mimosas, beer, scrambled eggs with croissants, and huge cinnamon rolls were available for participants – a classic array of brunch fare. I grabbed my mimosa in the adorable Hop Hop Half and 5K commemorative champagne flute, and watched more 5K participants come across the finish line. Half Marathoners were also coming across their own finish line, which was in the same vicinity. Having the separate finish lines was a fantastic idea by race organizers.

I am so thrilled I was able to finally participate in the Hop Hop Half and 5K event. It was a splendid event that really got me in the Easter spirit. And, it is very family friendly – even if the whole family doesn’t participate – the Easter Bunny was roaming around and there was egg painting for the kids.

Check out the full list of results for both the half marathon and the 5K.

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