If you want to be a runner in Oregon and you hate the treadmill as much as I do, you’re going to have to make peace with the fact that you’ll be running in the rain. The sooner you realize this, the better, and if you have kids, you might want to clue them in as well. This year, I ran the SW Hope 5k and my whole family ran the 1k Kids Fun Run as well. It poured on all of us. It didn’t let up until the race was over, and it was a soggy, muddy mess out at Gabriel Park for everyone. This is the third run my kids have done and you would think I would have figured out by now that summer races wouldn’t require them to wear race shirts over rain coats.
So why did I sign my kids up for this race of all races? Well, because it’s a really good cause. All the proceeds go to Neighborhood House, which has a mission to feed the hungry. Last year’s event raised $5000 and this year, over $11,000 was raised which equated to over 44,000 pounds of food for the Emergency Food Box program. This is so incredibly helpful to the community.
The kid’s 1k started at 9:00AM in the middle of a huge field. The entire loop was in the grass, which had not been mowed in awhile. Unfortunately, a lot of the smaller kids had trouble running this terrain, especially because it was also soft and muddy. I took my 5 year old’s hand and we trekked through it okay, but I was wishing we were wearing boots instead of tennis shoes. My 3 year old didn’t make it very far before the excitement of all the kids running around him freaked him out enough for him to stop and start crying. My husband picked him up and carried him the entire way. Thankfully, it was not a long course. Most of the kids seemed cheerful and they all got cute plastic medals at the end, which was a nice touch.
After the kids finished their race, my family went to warm up in the car since everyone was drenched and dirty. Those of us running the 5k didn’t have to wait too long before it was our turn to race, though honestly the mushy grass was not an easy way to start. Luckily, we weren’t there for long and most of the course was on a paved path. There were a few wooded areas on the course, some mud and slippery areas to contend with in the unpaved areas, and there were plenty of hills to keep us all occupied. Some friends of mine ran with strollers and said there were a few areas that the stroller did not maneuver too well. The course was two loops long, which always sort of messes with my mind mentally, but it was a good mix of terrain and it was well marked pretty much everywhere.
After I finished the race, I was approached and asked for my name, because I had come in 3rd in the women’s division. The person who won 2nd was my racing partner and if I had been paying attention and known there was only 1 person ahead of us, I might have pushed a little harder. I don’t remember my final time, and it wasn’t a chip timed event so there were no results on the website to look up. This run was not really about getting a PR for anyone anyway, as it was just a good way to bring together a community.
The snacks at the finish were provided by Trader Joes, and they had better options than I’ve seen at even some of the larger races. There were whole bananas, delicious granola bars, trail mix, and other stuff too. We stuck around for the raffle and the prizes had been donated from places like Portland Running Company, Nike, Adidas, Trader Joes, Chick-Fil-A, and a bunch of others. The raffle packages were really nice and everyone’s race bib had an Adidas Employee Pass on the back of it.
My family got out of the car for the raffle and we got the kids dancing to the music in the finisher’s area. The race shirts the kids got with registration were made with tech material, which surprised me since the adult shirts, while also nice, were made of cotton.
Overall, I’d say it was a fun race despite the weather. It was well organized and everyone was super friendly. Small races can be a nice change of pace, and family-friendly ones that fund a great cause are even better. If you want your kids to do something good for the community as well as see the benefits of being active at a young age, this is a great event for that.