Today’s tip: Run a small race.
One of the main reasons I started Run Oregon in February 2007 was because I wanted more people to know about more races. Some races get a lot of coverage – the Shamrock Run and the Portland Marathon, but for runners who are new to the sport, don’t go to group runs, belong to a club, or have a network of running friends didn’t really have a good place to go to learn about smaller events.
A lot has changed since then, of course – Facebook and free websites like Google sites and WordPress have made it possible for even the lowest-budget races to be “found” as long as someone is looking for them. But Run Oregon still makes it a priority to preview and participate in smaller events, to level the playing field so that the Stoller Vineyards 5k (June 3, 2017 and my favorite 5k) gets the same local promotion as a big half marathon with national sponsors.
Once you’ve run a good small race, you know why they’re so fun. The primary reasons are usually interesting courses, a more laid-back atmosphere, and the opportunity to get to know more people and places in Oregon and SW Washington. Small races frequently either have a low registration price or benefit a local charity or school, too. They may not offer a medal for 5k finishers or have a fancy sponsored post-race spread, but they usually do a great job with the basics: course marking, friendly volunteers, and timing.
So check out our race calendars: The Pacific NW Race Calendar linked from our sidebar and put together (very well) by Mick Evans is by far the best local race calendar I’ve ever seen. We’ve got a whole lot of other local club and event company calendars linked from this page on our website, too, if you want to find something in a specific part of Oregon or SW Washington.