Close to 350 runners and walkers toed the line at Mary S. Young Park in West Linn on a beautiful Memorial Day morning for the Oregon Road Runners Club’s annual Up The Lazy River 10k. The course is one of those unique and memorable ones that is only used for one particular race.
In this case, the route is known for the notorious Glenmorrie Hill, an unrelenting half mile of agony that comes just after the 3-mile mark. This year, the race directors made a slight change to the course, cutting out an early out-and-back side trip, and adding a detour through a residential neighborhood later on. On the one hand I missed the chance to give and receive encouragement along the out-and-back section which always gave me a welcome boost early on, but on the other hand it was nice to be able to continue straight ahead and maintain momentum on the slight downhill.
One thing they didn’t change was the long, seemingly interminable stretch along Old River Road. I’m sure it’s a pleasant, shaded promenade for neighborhood strolls, but it seems to take forever in the middle of a 10k, and I swear they add a new curve to the road every year. Although Glenmorrie Hill is tough, it’s a welcome sign of progress once you reach it.
Although I dread the effort the hill will take, I was able to get up it at a consistent pace without giving up and walking part of it, which is all you can ask sometimes. Once at the top, I caught my breath and settled back into a quicker rhythm as the course leveled off along Hwy. 43.
In a nice twist this year, the race directors posted signs at various intervals with trivia questions on them. Questions included head scratchers like “How many states begin with the letter M?”, “What are the names of all the Star Wars movies?”, and “What are the men’s and women’s world records in the 10k?” Although potentially a nice distraction, the last thing I wanted to do was expend valuable mental energy trying to come up with the answers when I have enough trouble adding two plus two while I’m racing as it is.
A couple questions did amuse me though: A question posed on Glenmorrie Hill asked “What is the highest peak in Oregon?”, and a sign at the bottom of another substantial hill read “What is the name of the ‘Breaking Bad’ prequel?” For that one I chuckled internally as I answered “Better Call An Ambulance” The hill wasn’t that bad, but the humor came at a good time.
After the first two miles, I was running alone, not gaining on the woman ahead of me, and hearing no footsteps behind me. So I tried to enjoy the final couple miles of the course, keep up the pace on the final hill, and welcome the shade and woods as I re-entered the park. I tried to finish strong along the wood chip path, crossed the line, and accepted a small American flag from the race director’s 4-year-old daughter.
As always, Up The Lazy River combined great organization, a challenging course in a pleasant setting, a holiday atmosphere, and a great community of runners and walkers. Nice features of the event included the use of a covered picnic area for registration and post-race snacks, and separate starting chutes for runners and walkers. There was nothing trivial about the fun and high quality of Up The Lazy River 2016!
Full results can be found HERE.