I say this is race “Where Magical Things Happen” because I somehow managed to run a PR. My previous PR of 23:55 is from about ten years ago, before I was married and had two kids. But friends, if you want a fast 5k, be sure to put this on your calendar for next September. And tell your friends – the more, the merrier!
Saturday, September 9th was the Beaverton Celebration Parade – an amazing time was had by all (especially those under the age of 12 who went home with a Halloween-worth lode of sugar). Especially appreciated at this parade were the spectators who went out early to watch those running in the Beaverton Celebration Run 5k.
The Beaverton Celebration Run is a really good race, so I was shocked to see less than 100 participants as we lined up for race instructions and removed our hats for the anthem. Race organizer Ernie Conway and his team from the Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee, along with some very friendly volunteers, set up a welcoming start area graced by the Portland Running Company finish arch. Before we started, two volunteers from Second Home, an organization that provides structure and support for homeless youth in Beaverton, talked about the cause that registration funds supported, which was really nice. I like races supporting worthy causes, but to meet some of the people who have benefited from the organization makes it really hit home.
The race started at Griffith Park, which is just west of 217 in a quiet business park anchored by the Beaverton Police Department. The small field of runners, including many runners under 18, set out running south on Griffith Drive to 5th Street, where we all turned right and made our way over the railroad tracks for the long stretch to Erickson. Running past the 5th Street Park, Lutheran Pilgrim Church, the Beaverton Library, and the City Park, nearly every spectator offered applause or cheers.
I was in that no-man’s land between the leaders and, well, everyone, so I got a lot of specific cheers from the little ones lining the course. I waved at one young girl and it made my day that my wave totally made her day. When the emotionless (but maybe a little judgmental) MapMyRun lady announced my mile split was 7:32, there was some definite trepidation in my heart. I actually felt pretty good, though, and before long we were at Evelyn Schiffler park for a loop around the playground, playing field, wetlands, and past the skate park, and then we were on the way back. I like this loop – it’s beautiful, and you can see the other participants. Another friend that was running cheered me on from across the park, but I failed to notice he was in the lead and on his way to his first-ever first-place finish.
Here I finally passed the young runner I’d been impressed by for the first mile-and-a-half … who are these tiny Beaverton speedsters? … and again was on my own. I saw my friend Will Cortez, one of the bike course monitors, and accepted his cheer with a wave, starting to look for the 2-mile marker. There was, of course, another young runner ahead of me (and making it look easy), so I tried to catch up to her. Unfortunately, she began to flag shortly after the mile 2 sign and I was able to catch her. I encouraged her, and she ran with me for a while; but soon enough I found myself running solo again. (After the race, I got to tell her parents how strong she’d run and that I was highly impressed.)
Coming through the finish chute, I was shocked to see that the time read 23:30. I actually asked the volunteers, “Is that accurate?” (I was half expecting them to say they’d forgotten to start the clock with the gun.) I collected my finisher medal from players on a Hillsboro Soccer Club that were volunteering, got my goody bag, and zipped back to drop my swag in the car and collect my water bottle (I had four miles to do after the race to complete my long run, on top of the race). I cheered in my friend’s wife and then plodded along at a slightly slower pace, eventually meeting my family along the parade route where my toddler proceeded to open approximately 47 candy wrappers and eat about four pieces of candy.
I missed the awards ceremony, but because my friend picked up my award, I learned that I was the 5th overall female and 3rd in the “open” category (one master’s runner and one U19 runner finished ahead of me). I counted up the number of finishers – there were only 52 finishers – and decided I had a duty tell Run Oregon readers to sign up for this race next year! Advance registration was only $20 and day-of-race was only $25, and the course will remain flat and fast. This is a fun, well-organized race – and next year my friend Will, who has put on a number of ORRC races, is going to help as well.