I know the big runs get all the attention, but I love the small events. I’m not in it for the bling or fancy swag, but for the experience. It’s not that the big runs aren’t fun they most certainly can be, but I prefer the more intimate runs that have heart. I sometimes worry I might be the last one to cross the finish line, since there aren’t as many participants at the smaller events, but it’s still worth the risk. They bring out the best in volunteers and participants.
While most of the state was trying to spot Kevin Hart on a Hood to Coast leg, I was running the Every Mile Counts Half Marathon Relay in Redmond. Technically, it was a relay, but my relay team consisted of one. There was a half marathon relay at 7:30am followed with a 5k run/walk at 9am. After misreading pre-race information, I went to the wrong location and was lucky to get to the actual start line at 7:25am. My heart rate was already racing before the gun went off.
Not familiar with the area, I was concerned I’d get lost along the course. After grabbing my race bib, I asked about the course and how well it was marked. Getting lost is an even bigger worry for me than coming in last. I had skimmed the course description, but was still uneasy. If I followed their directions as well as I had with the ‘start’ location, I was in trouble. My nerves settled after she told me it was a series of loops, all paved, no turns and with plenty of volunteers.
The first loop was probably my favorite, everyone was excited and it was fun running in a new spot. The course was flat along Canyon Trail and took us by a baseball diamond some playing fields and under a super cool tunnel that was covered in artwork. Volunteers lined the course and I’m sure they were getting tired of telling me ‘good job’ by the last lap, but their enthusiasm continued. Kiddos were helping pass out water and I had to grab some even when I wasn’t thirsty because they were so dang cute. I usually run into a familiar face with runs around town, but in Redmond it was a different story. They are a pretty tight-knit community and most everyone seemed to know each other. Plus when you’re running with teammates, you already have friends there. Even being the outsider of the group, they were super supportive and very friendly.
Coffee was my refreshment of choice after our four loops. Starbucks was at the finish line and never has a coffee tasted so good. They had some other post-race goodies, including some chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk that were tempting, but I stuck with the coffee and had no regrets. Only in its second year, this run is organized by Central Christian School and all of the proceeds go back to the school. I was impressed with the organization of the event itself, but was even more excited to see so many people come out to support the school. The organizers, sponsors and volunteers pulled off a successful run.
There was plenty of water along the course, lots of friendly volunteers and happy runners. No fancy medal or shirt, but a fun run for sure and swag bag with some handouts. I don’t need more medals or shirts, but I can always use a good run and the Every Mile Counts was just that. Take the time to hunt out some of the smaller events and make a difference in the community. I like them all, but there’s something special about the smaller runs. You’re not just another number and have an opportunity to help out and support a cause. If you happen to be in Central Oregon for the 3rd Annual Every Mile Counts Half Marathon Relay and 5k Run/Walk, definitely check it out.