The inaugural Mountainside High School 5k was run on Saturday, September 23 in Beaverton on the campus of the brand-new school. Because the school is only a mile from my house and it’s where my kiddos will go in about ten years, I was really excited to run this one. The 5k was the kick-off for an open house at the new high school, which has four floors of state-of-the art classrooms, maker spaces, and community rooms.
First up for the event was the kid’s run at 9:45a, a one-lap race with about 15 entrants, including my two kids. The Mountainside High School Band was lined up along the home stretch, and cheerleaders were standing around the track and on either side of the finish chute to cheer on the little ones.
After the little runners were all done, the 5k entrants made their way to the start line. The band played a beautiful rendition of the anthem and then we were off. The race started with a full lap of the track, so I tried to pace myself. I was doing the race as part of my 10-mile long run, and I didn’t want to push it too early, but after I got through the first half-mile when the field spread out, I found myself picking up the pace.
The course was full of twists and turns, touring the campus’ impressive athletic facilities. This was especially meaningful, and funds from the race will support the school’s athletic department and various student activities including band, choir, cheer, and dance. Despite the frequent 180-turns and corners, there were volunteers and cheerleaders at every bend in the road to keep us on course, and strategically-placed agility cones and caution tape. The course had no sections where traffic crossed, making it possible for the race to grow in future years, maybe adding a wave start to avoid congestion.
It was really fun to turn onto the baseball and soccer fields, run around the perimeter, and get cheered on by enthusiastic volunteers. We never once had to run on a city street, and aside from the turf fields were on paved sidewalk the entire time. There were two aid stations, one of which we passed twice. As with the course monitors, aid stations volunteers were incredibly enthusiastic. Many had cute signs encouraging runners and everyone I saw seemed to be having a great time.
I would estimate that about half of the field were walkers, and I saw at least 20 elementary-age kids or parents pushing littler ones in strollers doing the 5k.
The last mile looped around the school, then behind the home stands to get back on the track near the 100-meter start line. We went nearly all the way around the oval again, turning in front of the scoreboard to the finish arch set up mid-field. There must have been 20 course monitors lining the finish chute for the 5k, and they were so friendly. One of them must have been a track coach, because when I passed him on my warm-down, he jokingly said, “43, 44, 45 … ” (I can only dream of running a quarter that fast).
Just like the 5k I ran two weeks ago in downtown Beaverton, I got smoked by a couple of elementary students – Beaverton kids are fast. Even so, I was pretty happy with a sub-25 5k. My phone app measured the course slightly short, but a walker that I talked to during my warm-down said her FitBit had measured the distance at 3.4 with about 200 meters to go. Just goes to show you never really know how accurate your technology is (at least with free apps).
After the race, the winners in each 10-year age groups were announced and they all went home with a t-shirt and lanyard. The turnout for the race was really good, especially for a first-year race, and I hope they make it an annual event. I actually already offered to help organize it for next year if they’ll have me!
Results will be posted online at Athletics.net. A photographer was on the course taking photos at multiple places – look for the pictures on the school’s facebook page online here in a few days.