I’ve always loved the Country Girl race and this year was no exception. In past races, I have participated in the 10K, but this year, due to injury, I registered for the 5K. Because I ran the shorter distance, I had a much different experience than I did in the past. At the packet pickup, I received my race shirt, which is one of the many things I love about this race – their shirts are awesome. They are so soft and comfortable and the designs and colors are cute and flattering. They fit fantastic and aren’t the typical short tech shirts.
The runners at this race and the atmosphere is totally different than the norm. Because it is a women’s race, you are surrounded by excited and enthusiast females ready to run! A lot are dressed in cowgirl hats, cowboy boot designed socks, and tutus of course.
The 10K and Half Marathon started together and we cheered them on as they started their out and back along the river. This course, as I remember it, is beautiful and flat. After we kicked the race day off, the 5Ker waited for 45 minutes before being taken to the starting line of their race, which was a short walk down the street and was only distinguishable by the timing chip strip across the road. With a quick, 3-2-1 countdown, the race was off. The course winded its way down and through suburbs with volunteers and cones along the way guiding the runners. At the turnaround, we headed down the same lane as the oncoming runners. I don’t typically enjoy out and back races, but with Country Girl there is such comradery amongst the group that I actually liked it. As myself and my friend came back up from the turnaround, we were greeted with all the oncoming runners with cheers of encouragement.
Once we saw the big red finish line ahead of us, we were pushing it to get there. But, that finish line ended up not being ours, instead we finished on the same chip timing start line with a lack of signage or glory. As we crossed, we then walked down to the half marathon and 10K start line, which was the big red finish, and collected our medals. This was probably the only part of the race I was disappointed in. There was no excitement for coming in and finishing the 5K, we were far enough away from the after party that people weren’t really there to cheer us in and many of the families waiting for their 5K runners didn’t realize it didn’t end at the finish line. And similarly, I didn’t realize as a runner, that the race ended before the red arch and with our finish being closer than perceived, I wish I would have known to be able to give a good solid finishing kick. Nonetheless, the race aspect was fun and the girl power is contagious and finisher medal was a really cute and creative belt buckle.
The after-race party is what I love about this event. At most races it is a push and shove, line-filled cluster. At this race it is wide open with fun country music being performed by a band and booths with massages and prizes. The beer and cider lines are quick and easy and have a fantastic selection. The food is plentiful and there is no wait. Simply, you grab a plate and load it up with pancakes, sausages, eggs, you name it!
Next came the awards ceremony. The awards ceremony was quick and to the point, which I appreciated. There was no waiting for every single top finisher in every age group to grab their ribbon. Instead, they announced the top three finishers from each race. The finishers received nice plaques and gift certificates to future Terrapin Event races. Typically receiving a finisher medal, I was pleasantly surprised with an item to hang on my wall in pride and for a free opportunity to run a future Terrapin Event.
Although this race experience was different for me with the change of race distance, I was happy to be able to experience Country Girl in a different way. For me, the start and finish of the 5K race for me weren’t ideal, but I love the atmosphere and after party of this race. The prizes and shirts were incredible and overall, this is still one of my favorite Portland races.