Race Preview: 2017 Molalla River Trail Race


The quaint, rural community of Molalla, Oregon is located about 30 miles from Portland in the scenic Willamette Valley.  Just a few miles from the city, the Molalla River Recreation Corridor boasts many multi-use trails and lovely scenery. The Corridor sets the scene for the Molalla River Trail Race, scheduled for September 23, 2017. You might recall that this race used to be later in the fall – last year’s race was in October. The date was moved to avoid frequent storms and strong winds that can occur in late October, and it’s a change you’re not going to hear me complaining about.

It’s a true trail race – no pavement anywhere!  It has three course options: a 5K, a 10K and a Half-marathon.  The 5K is open to runners and walkers, whereas the 10K and Half-marathon options are for runners only.  The 5K is the flattest (a relative term to be sure) and the 10K and Half-marathon courses have more elevation gain. There are participant caps on each distance; only 150 people can sign up for each distance.

All races will start at the same location, with the half marathon leading the way at 9a.  The half marathon starts out running north on Huckleberry Trail then heads to the southern section of the trails for the second half. The race runs on a variety of trails, but the course will be exceptionally well marked so you don’t get lost. On two short segments, traffic will be two-way (which is part of the reason for the participation cap).

The 10k is the second race of the day, starting at 9:15a. The route for the 10k starts out running south on Huckleberry Trail, where at about 3 miles there is a very short, very steep trail segment on the Bobcat Trail named by previous race participants as “the wall.” At the aid station immediately following said “wall,” there will be extra snacks – including pretzels – because who couldn’t use a little more salt after sweating it out to get up that hill?

The 5k starts last, at 9:30a, and runs on the same Huckleberry Trail for a little more than a mile before turning onto the Rim Top Trail at an aid station. The 5k follows the trail onto the “Deep Skull Trail,” going over some gentle rollers, and then returns to the finish line along with the other two distances. It is highly possible that runners from all three races could finish together, so keep that in mind if you hear someone moving quickly coming up behind you. As long as all participants stay to the right on the trail, there should be no trouble.

The 5k will run past one aid station, the 10k will pass by three, and the half marathon will pass four. Aid stations will be stocked with water, energy drink, and Gu, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s other goodies at some places. The volunteers at this race are super-supportive and thankful for the race participants who are helping raise money for causes local to the Molalla community.

Please note that there is no cell phone service in the area.  However, keeping your phone on you for the camera feature might be a good idea as Bigfoot allegedly has been seen in the vicinity! Yikes! All participants will park at Foothills Community Church located at 122 Grange Avenue in Molalla, and ride a shuttle to the staging area. Buses run from 7:15a to 8:15a, and there are restrooms AND a gear check at that staging area, which is about a quarter mile from the actual race start. An excellent map is on the race website here. Those same buses will return participants to their vehicles in Molalla starting at 10:30a and until 12:45p, which is why there’s a 3 hour 45 min time limit on the half marathon.

The Molalla River Trail Race will be timed by our good friend Jeff Huber of Huber Timing. All finishers will receive a really nice medal for their efforts, and everyone will also get a soft, warm beanie with the race logo on it. This year’s are a bright blue color.

Here are the race vitals:

Date: Saturday, September 23, 2017

Time: Half-marathon: 9:00am. 10K: 9:15am. 5K: 9:30am.

Location: The starting line is just uphill from the Hardy Creek Trailhead, but parking and shuttle bus service is at Foothills Community Church – 122 Grange Ave, Molalla, OR.

Cost: 5K: $35.00. 10K: $40.00.  Half-marathon: $50.00.

Register: CLICK HERE to register!