With a December race, you never know what kind of weather you’re going to get. This is true year-round, of course, but the winter months have a special kind of unpleasant weather in store for you. Three years ago when I ran the HoHo 5k in Tigard, it was 20*F or colder; this year it was going to be very rainy! I heard the rain pelting against the windows as I was getting ready, but the forecast had promised a break in the rain for the the race’s start time at 10am.
I arrived at Cook Park about 45 minutes before the start, and the rain was starting to let off a little. There was plenty of parking, bib pickup was quick and easy, and runners were staying warm under the picnic shelter after dropping off their (optional) donation of food, blankets and pet food at the Union Gospel Mission van. The shelter was a great place for a start area: While the grass in the park was very muddy, the benches were dry and clean, and flush toilets are always nice. Shirts were not included in the registration cost, but there were three different past years’ designs to choose from for purchase.
We gathered at the start line just before 10am, and after some short instructions, “Santa” in his pickup truck “sleigh” led us off on the course. The first half of the course went through quiet neighborhood streets with a significant uphill to start, then mostly flat. The course was very well marked with cones. Around the half way point, “Santa” had parked his truck and pointed us onto the paved walking path along the Tualatin river. This stretch of the course had some gently rolling hills and was overall beautiful with views of the river lined by trees. We passed near the finish for an out-and-back towards the boat launch, then another quick “lollipop” past the finish, before crossing the finish line where we started.
The finish was very low key. While each finisher received a little spruce seedling, we weren’t handed the tree at the finish, but they were laying out on the tables under the picnic shelter for each person to pick one up. There were HoHo’s and SnoBalls, hot apple cider, and cold water. Raffle tickets were handed out as people returned, and the announcer promised raffles gifts that would be “really good, and some really crappy.” Unfortunately I couldn’t linger and missed the raffle this time.
Overall a very well done, small event. The course was accurate, and chip timing is nice. The start/finish and the course are beautiful.
Full results can be found here.