It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this preview. My first ever trip into Oregon had me and my family mesmerized by the rows and rows (25,000 acres actually) of Poplar trees along I-84. Come to find out that these trees range in age from 1-14 and any untrained eye can see how neatly they are planted. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that there was actually a race at this place (the Boardman Tree Farm), and that once a year the public can come check it out up close and in person.
This race has been on my running bucket list for some time, and it appears I may have waited a little too long. As many runners already know, the tree farm was recently sold and this my very well be the last time that this race – A Very Poplar Run – will be conducted in it’s current form.
Each year, runners head out to Boardman to run on the packed soil and dirt roads in either a 5, 10, or 15k. As you can see from the hyperlinked courses, the routes are straight, relatively flat, and traverse through the many ages of trees.
Our very own Joe Dudman ran the event in 2014 and had this to say:
I was prepared for the visual spectacle of miles and miles of poplars of various ages showing off their fall colors, but I was surprised by the amazing quality of the sounds as they wafted through the woods…eerie and evocative sound[s], and added even more to the unique atmosphere of the setting.
Most of the course was on [packed-dirt] surfaces and wide roads, but there were a few stretches on soft soil along narrow paths between tree rows. This provided a nice variety of terrain and a contrast between merely running beside the trees and actually running among them. On these narrow sections, runners could choose between two or three “lanes”, which made passing easier and reduced congestion.
The course was made up entirely of straight sections and right-angled turns, not surprising, since the whole tree farm is planted in precise rows and columns. We passed trees of different ages, and at one point I noticed the wind pick up as I left a quadrant of larger trees and came alongside some smaller ones.
This event raises funds for the Hermiston Agape House, a Christian outreach whose mission is to provide basic services to those in need in Hermiston and surrounding communities. Follow the race on Facebook here for info leading up to the race as well.
When: Saturday, October 22nd
Where: Boardman Tree Farm (Exit 171 off of I-84 and follow the signs)
Late registration and packet pickup – 7:00a – 9:45a
1 Mile Kids’ Run – 10a
15k – 1030a
10k – 1045a
5k – 1115a
Registration: Register online HERE; $25 through 10/20; $30 day of race; T-shirts are $10 extra and available if pre-registered by Sunday, 10/16