I’ve run 3 relays since summer began and mostly back to back. I’m doing the Hood To Coast Relay in a couple of weeks and some of my fellow teammates thought the Hood to Coast Race Series Crawfish Crawl Relay would be a good “practice relay” before the “Mother of All Relays.” This particular relay was a little different though, as we didn’t need to worry about securing a huge van or spending money on gas for the journey. The concept was pretty simple: 4 runners per team, each running the same 2.04 mile loop and handing off to the next team member, until all the runners have done the route 3 times each.
Honestly, I agreed to run this relay before I looked up the details on how it would happen, and I might have hesitated a bit more had I known I’d have to run the same route 3 times. I’m the sort of runner who doesn’t like to see what’s coming out on the course, so I don’t love running on tracks or doing the same races over and over other than the few races I repeat out of habit or tradition. And then, the heat wave came to Oregon, followed by the air control warning due to the fires in Canada. This was not looking like this was going to be the best race ever.
Except it was. The air quality started to get better the morning of the race and the temperature, while still a bit hot, was much more bearable than the 107 degree days we’d had earlier in the week. Our team of “Run Strong Moms,” (all Baby Boot Camp members,) was fast, motivating, and inspirational. The course was enjoyable too. There were a couple of rolling hills and one steep but short climb, and it was a very well marked course. The paved trails around the park and Tualatin River were relatively scenic and there was shade in some areas. There were quite a few walkers to navigate around on the 1st loop who were doing the 5k and half marathon, but the course was mostly clear by the 2nd loop. The event was relatively small but well-organized and everyone was helpful and friendly. We were chatting with a sweaty runner with his shirt off after the race who was very nice and he turned out to be the mayor of Tualatin. You never know who’s a runner or who you’re going to run into! The Crawfish festival started at 10AM, which was a super fun backdrop to hang out at while waiting to run and after the relay was finished. There was live music, lots of booths, and even some misting stations. There were plenty of places to eat and have some beer or wine in the shade too. It was very family-friendly, as there was a playground and so much to look at. Our team finished 1st in the women’s division and 3rd overall, so that was pretty nice too.
Mindy’s Impressions: When I first received the email from HTC about the Crawfish Crawl Relay, I knew I had to get a team to run. I love everything about relays .. The team comradery, the competitiveness, and the challenges they bring. Thankfully, Nikki, Alexa and Steffi all agreed to run this race on a team. Our team name was “Chicks with Kick,” which turned out to be pretty fitting, considering our placement and times. I couldn’t imagine a better team and look forward to running with these ladies in the future.
The race course was a short loop. However, that being said, it was very scenic, well-marked, and relatively flat (minus a hill around mile 1.05 or so.) The volunteers did a great job, ushering runners to the correct spots and making sure the race ran smoothly for all events. There were just enough racers, given that the race trail was small, that I never had any issues with bumping into other runners, and there was plenty of space to pass other runners when needed.
Once finished with the race, my family met me at the finish line and we all got to enjoy the Crawfish Festival. There really was something for everyone, from the balloon twister to the selection of beers. My impressions of the Crawfish Crawl Relay are great. I really enjoyed running this event and plan on running next year. The only thing I would change for future Crawfish Crawl Events, would be to have more acknowledgement for the race competitors at the Crawfish Festival. One idea is to have someone announce the awards for top teams on the stage. Overall, I am pretty excited to be walking away from this race with a “top finisher” mug, as it truly doesn’t get any better than that!
Alexa’s Impressions: I have a pretty deep love for relay races and this one is definitely ranking at the top for me. Like Nikki said, I agreed to this race before knowing anything about it. When I saw it was 2 miles and the same course continually, I was a tad nervous. For me, I was concerned about how to pace 2 miles. I know Cook Park well so I was excited to get to run it and run it fast.
I loved that the race wasn’t too big and overwhelming. There was plenty of room to see everyone and cheer everyone on. The other teams were so nice. Countless people would come over to our team and give us praise and admire our running competitiveness. 2 miles ended up being a really fun distance to run. It was fast and it was hard but it was really nice to have a quick turn-around and a distance where you can go hard the whole time.
Having the finish be at the Crawfish Festival was one of my favorite parts. It was great to join a whole festival of activity and with people that didn’t run the race or even know there was a race going on. Session was pouring beer, and if you have ever had a Session, it is pretty darn delicious and a great post-race treat.
Overall, I loved this race and I wish I could do this every month. I can’t wait until next year!