This past weekend, I took part in the quintessential Portland area Mother’s Day weekend tradition called Hippie Chick, put on by Hood to Coast race series. The event is an all-women’s race to celebrate the ladies. Participants could choose to run the half-marathon, quarter marathon or the 15K. To be honest, I hadn’t heard the term “quarter marathon” before this race, and for good reason as it is a distance that isn’t too common. It’s a bit longer than a 10K at 6.55 miles. Being a 10K lover, I thought this was the perfect distance for me.
The day donned supremely crappy. After all the wonderful weather we had been having in the metro area in the past week, of course Saturday would have to be insanely rainy and cold for May. It felt like the type of morning you’d wake up to in the fall. I felt bad my friend had flown in from sunny Las Vegas to run with me, but she grew up in Molalla and was all too familiar of how Oregon weather can be. We hadn’t seen each other in 5 months, so the thought of staying at home warm and dry, enjoying brunch, sounded way more appealing. However, we bond over our shared love of running so after a split-second of complaining, we plied ourselves with coffee and put on several layers of tech gear, sad we couldn’t show off our cute tie-dye tank tops a la the spirit of “hippie” wear.
My lovely husband was appointed chauffeur to take us to the stadium since neither my friend nor I wanted to waste time finding parking and because we still needed to get our race packets as we didn’t pick them up within the two days before the race. (I live and work in Clackamas County so fighting traffic to downtown PDX to get packets after work was not going to happen). We left my house at 6:30 and got to Hillsboro in 30 minutes, found an amazing spot to park with just a few hundred yards from the stadium, and got our packet with virtually no wait in line. Diana and I decided to go back to the car to keep warm and decide which layers of clothing would remain in place and which would come off once we got warmed up and running. I have to reiterate what an awesome parking spot my wonderful husband got, especially since the weather was awful and there over 2,000 people registered. (Of that, it appears 1,577 finished). The stadium itself was nice and clean and the bathrooms were available so that the Portta Potties on the field and along the start were reserved for last minute nervous relief. Despite the weather, all of the participants and vendors seemed genuinely happy to be there.
The staggered start times were a nice touch, with the half-marathoners starting at 8:00, the 15K participants at 8:10 and the quarter marathon runners at 8:20. When it was time for us QM’s to take off, we veered south and then west on Meek Rd for a fairly flat out and back. The elevation gain was nominal and I was appreciative of that since we had a ton of rain and slight winds that made the effort I was putting in seem harder. Aid stations were stocked with water and some sort of electrolyte drink I couldn’t identify and about halfway were some Porta Potties for those who needed it.
Overall, the race course itself was beautiful and would have been more so if it was a dry day. Post race I quickly grabbed my finisher’s necklace, free mimosa and chocolate bars before darting to my car to change into dry clothes before reentering the stadium to meet my friend. Upon reentry, I ran into about seven different people I knew, which was really fun, especially since some I hadn’t seen in years! Hippie Chick is a very popular race.
To summarize my experience, I feel that it would be easiest to put it in a fill-in-the-blank -style memo bullet points:
- Did I like the course? Yes! Fast n’ flat is where it’s at 🙂
- Did I like the swag/give away? Heck yes! I’ve never seen so much free product in my life at a race! Participants were treated well. Participants could have their choice of a free beer or mimosa, chocolate milk, pancake breakfast, chocolate bars, jerky samples, electrolyte drink samples were handed out, among items for purchase in a coffee cart. Local running vendors were also on site so that runners could purchase clothes and gear.
- Was it well organized? Yes. HTC did a fantastic job keeping things running smoothly. Walkers and runners were well organized and didn’t crowd each other at the start, finish or on course.
My first Hippie Chick was a success! I hope to make this an annual tradition … perhaps I can talk my mom and sister-in-law into doing it with me next year.
Geli’s Impressions: The last time I ran any Hippie Chick race was in 2007 when it was still held at its old location at Champoeg Park, and I ran the half marathon in the (seemingly) blistering heat. This year’s event was a very different experience! Having “retired” from half marathons (for now), I opted for the unique “quarter marathon” distance of 6.55 miles. Race morning was an unseasonably cold 43* with pouring rain. I was very glad for the covered areas at the Hillsboro Stadium and the non-muddy AstroTurf field.
I enjoyed this race a lot! All my pre-race needs were met with quick packet pickup, and indoor flush toilets, as well as some vendors with snacks and hot coffee. The course was a well marked out and back course with a total of four water/Nuun stops. I warmed up quickly and powered through the rain. The cool, humid air made my lungs happy and kept my legs going, and I ended up with a respectable finish time for me on that distance. After the race I enjoyed the pancake breakfast and a drink, but due to the rain and cold, I didn’t stick around very long.