On December 23rd, a friend from Tillamook posted something about a street mile in her home town on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. I love mile races, so I was immediately intrigued, and this one was a straight point-to-point course and organized by the same race director as the great Three Capes Relay. I was already signed up for the Resolution Relay in Boring that morning, but I did a few quick calculations and realized I could do both with a little time to spare. So I quickly added the inaugural 3rd Street Mile to my calendar.
Race day dawned cold and cloudy, and I felt a little sluggish during my relay leg. But after I thawed out and congratulated my teammates on a great result, I met a friend for lunch, and the two of us headed out to Tillamook for the mile. It started snowing as we passed through Hillsboro, and we agreed if the Coast Range looked treacherous we’d turn back. The fact that my Tillamook friend Susan had posted a cautionary report of ice on Hwy. 6, complete with a photo of an overturned car, didn’t help my confidence about the road conditions.
But the drive was uneventful, and we arrived at the finish area at the appropriately named Goodspeed Park in plenty of time, finding that Susan had arrived about the same time. In fact we were so early that we briefly wondered if we were in the right place. I even reread my own race preview online to confirm that this was indeed the location for packet pickup (it turns out the Run Oregon Blog is pretty informative!)
Sure enough, Patrick, the race director, soon arrived to set up the registration tent, and volunteers and runners began to gather. Susan carpooled with us to the start, where we waited in the warm car until the last minute, before getting out, stripping off an outer layer (or not), and lining up at the start. Traffic was not officially stopped for the race, so we were instructed to run in the bike lane or on the sidewalk, but volunteers manned the busier intersections. In fact, traffic was very light.
Since the race was a fundraiser for the Tillamook HS track team, a high percentage of the participants were high school students. After Patrick finished final instructions he took off his jacket, pinned on a number of his own, and joined us at the start. It’s always fun when the race director gets to run his own race.
Once traffic cleared, a volunteer in a lead vehicle blew an airhorn, and the race was on! A couple young guys took off quickly, college and high school age, as my visual scouting report had predicted. I felt pretty good, but not totally loose, and settled into a solid but not blazingly fast pace. The two leaders pulled away, and I concentrated on just maintaining my own effort as best I could. For awhile I thought I heard footsteps on my heels, but I couldn’t tell if it was just the muffled sounds of my own footfall filtered through my hat.
In the end, nobody passed me, the orange finish cones came into view, and I kicked it in to the finish with whatever I had left. Soon my friend appeared, finishing strong in her first ever mile race, with a guaranteed PR, very happy with her fast time. Then it was time for Susan to speed to the finish, over a minute faster than she had predicted.
A short time later overall and age group awards were presented, and times were greeted with surprised grins. Susan gave us a ride back to our car, and it was time to head back over the snowy hills. The 3rd Street Mile was a great little race, and I hope it continues and grows. It could become a nice annual tradition, attracting mile enthusiasts from around the state.
For full results, click HERE.