You can register online for any race individually; they are all $15 with the exception of Race #3 at Gabriel Park, which is $20. You can sign up for the entire series for only $50; add the TRL individual membership for just $20 more (that’s a steal, since TRL members get amazing discounts at local running stores like Foot Traffic).
Now, if you’re not a competitive runner, you can run XC in your regular shoes. Most participants prefer to wear a high-traction trail shoe; or if you’re a more technical runner you will find that spikes are helpful.
And if you’d rather just watch, bring a blanket (maybe a tarp to put down first), a thermos of hot chocolate, and a cowbell to the park and get ready for a fun spectator experience. Once the race starts, it’s usually pretty easy to criss-cross the park to see participants at multiple places on the course, so if that’s your plan, travel light and wear your own trail shoes. Check out a start from the 2015 Stumptown series here.
There are a number of highly competitive teams that participate in the series, including teams from Portland Running Company, the Bowerman Track Club, the Jacuzzi Boys, and my husband’s team, NAC. They’re fighting for their own team during the race, but after crossing the finish line they cheer across team lines. It’s a great environment and a wonderful way to introduce your kids to team running and good sportsmanship.