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Race Recap: 2016 Tualatin Crawfish Crawl

They day couldn’t have been more perfect; clear skies, a light breeze, low 70’s temperatures and a group of enthusiastic women who had shown up to support a fellow friend who is set to be married in a few weeks. Wearing custom-printed tank tops that said “Team Bride”, we were ready for some fun. What a cool idea to kick-off a bachelorette weekend, eh?! My very first Tualatin Crawfish Crawl put on by Hood to Coast Race Series was off to a fantastic start.

To set the fun and festive tone for the day, the Kid’s Dash kicked-off before the half marathon was set to begin. Kids ranging in from ages 7-11, ran just three quarters of a mile. It was pretty cool to watch these young runners so determined. The half started right on time at 7:30 with the relay a half hour behind at just a few minutes to 8:00am. Our group had two teams: a running team and a walking team. The course was a 2.02 mile out and back loop that was along Tualatin Community Park. Most of the course was shaded until about 9:30, and then things started heating up. However, there was about a .5 mile section that was nice and cool when you left the pavement for the trail in a nearby forest.

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Most members of Diana’s Bachelorette Team #1 & Team #2 pose for a picture with their “Team Bride” tank tops.

Since this was only the second relay I’ve participated in, I thought it was neat that all of the teams were able to watch each runners leave the starting line and come back. It also provided extra motivation for each runner to improve their time with each leg. I also liked the camaraderie incited by being able to hear announcer John Hammarley make jokes and to call out each runner’s name as they finished their leg. I mean, who doesn’t like a little cheering section as they finish a race?! (Anyone who says otherwise, isn’t being honest with themselves!) With a total elevation change of 35 ft, this course was fast, flat and great for a PR. Since the group I was with was comprised of two teams (one walking and one running), it was fun to be able to see one of the walkers on course as you ran by, waving to each other and encouraging the other.

Post-race there was ice cold beer provided by Full Sail Brewing and wine spritzers handed out by Barefoot Wine to the 21-over crowd. There was bags of cookies and crackers given out by local bakery Franz and food for purchase, including the infamous crawfish the whole weekend was formed in celebration of, in the adjacent food truck area set up on the festival grounds. As the half marathon participants were just starting to arrive at the finish, one of the bands who was set to play that morning started warming up on the main stage, providing an even more festive atmosphere for race.

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Participants waiting for members of their team to finish their leg, enjoying the festivities.

Two things that I would like to highlight, is the fact the HTC website said that the relay would be capped at 250 teams…only 50 teams participated this year. While this made the event feel more “intimate” and provided enough space for everyone to utilize the area to rest between legs, hydrate, not wait for use of the Portta-Potties and sit down in what shade was available, I am curious to see how many teams are drawn to participate next year. I can’t imagine that there would be enough space for 75 teams. However, I’m sure that with proper planning, it could be pulled off quite well. Overall, the experience I had was better than what I was expecting for the comments I’ve heard about this race and the HTC series in general. I’ll definitely be back next year; maybe with some of the same ladies or a different team all together.

Diana’s Bachelorette Team #1 and Team #2 had a fabulous time participating in the Crawfish Crawl, and I’d like to note that our running team took second place in the female teams division! It was neat to have ladies from different states come together to support a dear friend and participate in an event like a race, rooting for and with old friends and new. This experience combined most about what I love about running: the community, support and love runner’s have for each other and the sport. It doesn’t get much better than that on race day.

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