Race recap: 2016 Hosford Husky Hustle

I admit I signed up for the Hosford Husky Hustle based mostly on the uniquely artistic course that took advantage of the geometry of the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood to take runners on a pendant shaped route. But it was also a school fundraiser, and those are always fun. And, OK, the abundant raffle prizes donated by local businesses didn’t hurt either!

But the highlight of the May 1st event was really the dozens of excited kids getting a chance to romp along the tree-shaded sidewalks of S.E. Portland with their friends and classmates. After watching a performance by the Hosford school band and high-fiving the Husky mascot, participants lined up underneath the start/finish arch. We waited for the horn, and then we were off, stampeding out of the school grounds and onto the sidewalks.

It was a little narrow and crowded at the start, and I followed the Hippocratic oath of school fun runs: “First, do no tripping.” Carefully avoiding tangling feet with any little runners, I bided my time, allowed plenty of room, and provided encouragement to those around me. Only when space opened up did I gradually pick up the pace.

The colorful chalk course markings were a nice complement to the artistry of the route map, and friendly volunteers at strategic points guided us along with a smile. It was fun to return to the central circle several times and take an out-and-back in each direction of the compass. As I started each “branch”, I spotted the race leader returning to the circle.

I completed the four “spokes” and began the return trip to the school. A few blocks from the finish I came to a woman and her tiny daughter, who reached out her hand for a high five. I think it was the youngest high five I’ve ever received, and it got me through the rest of the race with a smile on my face.

I crossed under the finish arch, got some snacks and water, and cheered on the kids, who finished with lots of speed and enthusiasm. Soon it was time for the announcement of the top three middle school boys and girls (who laid down some impressive times!) and the raffle drawings. To my slight embarrassment, I came away with two raffle prizes, but then I did buy 10 tickets (it was for a good cause after all).

The Hosford Husky Hustle was a great example of a well-organized and fun community run.

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