With the Stoller Community 5k in its fifth year, the amount of runners has doubled since the first race, and two thirds of the participants are students of Stoller Middle School and surrounding schools. These kids are absolutely amazing. I was so happy to be a part of this event as it epitomizes community involvement and what this area of Portland is all about.
The community involvement in this race was amazing. When I signed up for the race I had no idea how many of the volunteers and sponsors I actually knew personally from working in the community (Villa Sport, Lee Davies Real Estate, and Foot Traffic – the latter providing their arch for the start and finish). I even knew the race director from having worked in the community for over a decade.
I mention all of this because I really wanted to convey just how involved the local residents and businesses are in this amazing 5k. In fact, all of the proceeds go to enhance the Stoller Middle School Physical Education and Health departments.
The race began in waves based on your pace – first of which is a 5-7 minute group followed by an 8-10, 10-12, and a walking group last. While the 5-7 minute group was the smallest, I was astonished to see kids in this group ranging from 8-12 years of age. Like I said these kids are amazing. The majority of the runners were in my group, the 8-10 minute group. I’ve never been to a race where kids were the focus group and it was so cool for me to see all of these families running together – kids running side by side with their parents and even grandparents. In fact, there were a lot of participants who just came out for the fun, not necessarily to run the race. This race is for everyone.
The race began at 9a and we passed over the Huber timing strip and under the arch. We proceed off of the school grounds, through the neighborhood, and took a right on Laidlaw Rd. Heading in the direction of the Bethany neighborhood you pass a number of businesses all cheering on the runners. We continued on Laidlaw until we reached the trail head for THPRD Morgan’s Run Park Trail and took a right. This paved path is surrounded by grass fields and wetland, so there is plenty to keep you entertained. You reach mile 2 just before Pirate Park.
Following this, there is a long (although not terribly steep) hill until pinnacling at Bethany Blvd. Here we were greeted wtih flaggers directing traffic and letting runners through in waves. The stop is just a short hiccup, as runners are not quite done with the long hill yet though. Following the road crossing, we entered THPRD Rock Creek Trail and passed mile marker 3. Only a few blocks remain until the finishing arch appears in view. We headed up the driveway and crossed the finish line, greeted by amazing volunteers holding water bottles for everyone and directed to the snacks nearby.
“Great job, son,” and “I’m proud of you, mom,” were among the comments I heard at the finish line. All of the kids were then congratulating one another – not a hint of criticism anywhere. It was apparent that everyone recognized that this race was about doing something together, as a group. Huber Timing is great, as within 5 minutes of crossing the finish line I heard my phone buzz in my pocket and was shocked to see my results already up and posted. Normally, I have to wait a day or at least a few hours to see my results, so this was a welcome surprise.
This race didn’t have your typical drink ticket or any of that. Everything was free, except for the Voodoo Donuts truck. Thats right, I thought, laughing. What’s a community middle school 5k without Voodoo Donuts?