Race Recap: 2016 Harvest Hustle 5k (Portland)

I signed up for the OHSU Harvest Hustle 5k on a whim, since it is the very first race in Portland that uses the Tillikum Crossing bridge on the course, and I am so glad that I did! The organization was great, the course beautiful, and watching the variety of participants was very humbling. The race is organized by OHSU's Institute for Developmental Disabilities, which works with families and individuals to improve the life of people with disabilities. The beneficiaries of the race are local organizations who run camps for children with autism and with stuttering, who provide wheelchairs, and who manages a hearing aid loaner bank. All theses organizations were on site with information and represented during the race as well. Full results can be found here

The fog was rather thick when I arrived at the start/finish area at OHSU’s Collaborative Sciences building at the west end of the Tillikum Crossing Bridge; so thick that I couldn’t see the other side of the Willamette! On the ground floor of the building was packet pickup, coffee and bagels, informational booths by the benefiting charities, and activities for children. Schedules were posted in several spots, and by 8:40 most people were outside to watch the kids run take place right on the plaza on the east side of the building.

After the completion of the kids run, the MC started filling the starting chute : First he asked the 1k runners/walkers/rollers to go into the chute and walk to the back. Next he called 5k walkers who expected to finish in 45 minutes of more, then those 30-45 minutes, and finally the runners faster than 30 minutes. The race started just after 9am, and runners were released in waves of around 50-100 in order to stretch out the field and avoid congestion on the course.

The course started with crossing the Tillikum Crossing bridge, then headed north on Water Ave past OMSI, across the Hawthorne Bridge. At the foot of the bridge, runners headed north on the Waterfront Path for a short out-and-back section, then headed south again for the final mile back to the finish line at OHSU. Right after crossing the finish, we were offered bananas, apples, water, and pumpkin pie! Costumed participants were happy to get their pictures taken, my favorite of which was the large contingent of Star Wars characters!

Overall this was a very nice event. I was a little surprised that there was no aid station along the course, but all along the Waterfront Path there were public water fountains where runners could stop for a drink. The inside space at the start/finish is wonderful, and should race day be a rainy day, it would save the day. The course is beautiful and away from busy streets, without the need for closing the course to traffic. And best of all, 100% of proceeds are donated to good causes. I will definitely keep this race in mind again for next year!


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