Annette: This year the race that stands out to me the most was the Portland Spartan Sprint (actually held in Washougal.) Despite having a less than stellar running year, the Spartan race was tons of fun. I enjoyed participating with my friends, I improved on multiple obstacles, and overall felt stronger than I expected to. Even though I typically don’t get excited about large events, I have fallen in love with obstacle course races over the past few years. The excitement of the various challenges never gets old. Instead it encourages me to work harder so that I can improve next time. I’m already looking forward to the 2017 Spartan races (I might just do 2 this next year!)
Robin: It’s so hard to pick a favorite race. So many races offer different aspects that make them fun, challenging, and some offer chances at those extra little moments made into cherished memories…I instantly fell in love with A Very Poplar Run and quietly shed a couple of tears in the back seat of my carpool on the way home because this was the last year the event would be held. Of course I would wait until it was the final year before I would run it for the first time but that is my only regret. I am so grateful that I made the trek out to Boardman (from the Portland area) and experienced the beauty and mystery of the poplar tree farm. The whole experience was so surreal. The light is filtered through the trees at different colors, depending on the age of the trees and density, and the noises from the world outside and inside the groves were changed and muted. Sometimes I was enveloped in golden light, and when I reemerged into the light of day, the world, the light… everything was so blue! The younger trees make everything a misty green color. I was in another world.
Joe: A few races stood out for me this year, including the inaugural Hood To Hood Relay on a beautiful summer day with fellow bloggers Teresa and Kate, and of course completing my long term goal of running at least one race in every county in Oregon with two good friends at a sprint triathlon relay in Lakeview. But I think my favorite race of 2016 was the Panda Burro Invitational, the brainchild of Run Oregon blogger Marilyn (“the Panda”), her friend Ardara (“the Burro”), and Ronald “I need an animal nickname” Homer. The event was a pet project of theirs (literally, since the proceeds benefited The Pongo Fund, an organization that helps provide pet food for animals whose humans are struggling financially), and it was friendly, fun, and full of positive energy. I was looking forward to it ever since it was announced, and it was a great honor to win the 5k and receive a framed photo of the Panda and the Burro themselves as a prize!