Race Recap: 2016 Spring Classic Duathlon 10k (Portland)

The weather forecast was gnarly for the day of this year’s Spring Classic Duathlon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k. The day before the race we got a special email with weather related policies and procedures and instructions to think sunny thoughts. It must have worked, because Sunday morning couldn’t have been any better: Temperatures around 50* and partly cloudy skies greeted me when I parked my car next to the start/finish area of the Spring Classic Duathlon. The duathlon is in its 32nd year, while the running distances were added as new options this year.

Full results for all events can be found here

Packet pickup in the garden shed

I was able to take advantage of the early package pickup on Saturday, so I arrived at the race venue relaxed and ready to go. The duathlon transition, as well as vendor tents and race management was set up in the back half of the Home Depot near Airport Drive. Packet pickup, volunteer check-in and gear check took full advantage of the fact that this is where garden sheds were displayed! Had the weather been as rainy and stormy as predicted, the solid walls and roofs of the sheds would have kept people and gear nice and dry.

The start line was located just a short walk away from the transition area. Duathletes were starting to set up their gear as I made my way to the start line. The half marathon started promptly at 7:45am, and the 101 participants ran to the west. After the half-marathoners had cleared out, more runners filled the area around the start line, and at 8am the 5k and 10k runners and walkers had their start.

The course was very easy and very pretty. 5k and 10k started the same way heading west on Marine drive. The only elevation change was the dip in the road to pass underneath the Interstate, and with crosswinds from the south, running conditions were pretty much perfect. There was a water station at the turnaround at mile 1.6 offering water and Gatorade. I always appreciate when volunteers let me know what they are handing me, and this group of enthusiastic helpers did a great job of that. Heading back the way we came, I was able to cheer on the runners and walkers behind me. The next water station was located underneath the interstate bridge, which was great planning in case of rain. I took more water and Gatorade, and then was pointed to the next turnaround point, while 5k participants would go straight to cross the finish line.

Where the sidewalk ends.. The end of the trail just beyond the finish line.

The second half of the 10k was another out-and-back, but this time instead of running on Marine Drive, we ran on the bike path next to the river. The field was stretched out and at no point was the path too narrow for the two-way traffic of the race. During this section of the race, my Garmin’s mile markers didn’t match up with the markers on the course anymore, and when I reached the water station at the final turnaround point, my wrist assistant told me I had completed 4.8 miles, I knew the course would be a little longer than 10k. (The post-race email from WHY lists it at around 6.55 miles.) Heading back towards the east again, I had enough left in me for a strong finish. Immediately after crossing the finish line, volunteers handed me a bottle of water and my finisher’s medal.

Food after the finish!

After catching my breath, I walked back to the transition area. By this time, the duathlon had started, and the runners were returning from their first 5k into the transition area to get their bicycles. I got myself a Deschutes beer and a plate of the most amazing post-race brunch I’ve ever seen! We were offered bananas, oranges, gluten-free bread with optional Nutella, honey, and jam, there were scrambled eggs with a variety of toppings, yogurt with granola and berries, chocolate milk, and of course water. Lounging chairs were set up next to the transition, so we were able to cheer on the duathletes while munching on recovery food.

Shortly after I finished eating, the awards ceremony started. Top three finishers male and female, as well as the top masters finisher in each race distance received a prize bag (not sure what was in it, but it said Deschutes Brewery on the outside), and the top three finishers in each gender/age group received a medal. My effort was good enough for 2nd place in my age group, so that was exciting.

Overall, this was a very nice race and a pleasant experience all around. I hope to be back again next year!

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