Have you ever signed up for a race, more excited for the post race activities, than the actual race? And then find yourself blown away by the actual race, with the course and the scenery? This was the case, for the Bend Ale Run 2017.
This year’s race was on November 11, 2017, the date of my 6th year wedding anniversary. My husband and I rarely get any time to ourselves, let alone get away for a night or two. We have two busy toddlers, so I am sure you can imagine how getting some 1:1 time with my husband was needed. When I saw that the Bend Ale Run’s finish line was connected to the Bend Ale Fest, I was very intrigued and then when I saw the date, I knew it was meant to be. I had to sign up for this race! We could get away for a few nights for our anniversary, I could also get a nice run in, and my husband and I could enjoy the festivities of the Bend Ale Fest. A major win/ win.
The Bend Ale Run course was brand new to Central Oregon and headed further west than most Bend runners probably go. Racers had the option of running a 10K or a half marathon (I chose the half). The starting line was at NW Crossing Road (north of Summit High School), and then proceeded west to the new Tree Farm housing development. Mile three departed the Tree Farm and took runners into the Deschutes National Forest on Skyliner Road, then turning onto Forest Service Road 4606. Mile 4.5 to mile 10 was on a gravel road through the forest and across Tumalo Creek. Mile 10 turned onto Bull Springs Road (towards the town and ending on pavement). Mile 11 hit with a challenging hill out of Shevlin Park Canyon and finished back to NW Crossing Road.
I am not going to lie, this course was full of beauty, as was it a definite challenge. The terrain was a mix of concrete, gravel, and sand. And being that it was November morning in Central Oregon, there were a sections on the course where it was pretty icy. Thankfully, the half marathon started at 10 am, and the sun had melted some of the ice on the course. The course had some hills, but what was most challenging for me was the mix of terrain, that and mile 11. Mile 11 killed me mentally, I kept checking my running watch, only to see I had only ran .15 of a mile from the last time I checked. Thankfully my mental toughness kicked in and made me realize I was so close to the finish line and the post race party!
The course was very well-marked, and had plenty of volunteers. There were more than enough water stops, and they had several options of things to drink and eat, including Gu Gel, and bananas at each one. The views on this course were some of the most beautiful views I have seen. The Cascade Mountain Range was in full view, including Mt.Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Sisters and Bachelor.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:55, an average mile time of 8:47 /mile. I honestly thought my time would have been much slower, due to me feeling so slow and defensive running over the icy sections and that killer hill at the end!
Once I crossed the finish line, I was greeted by friendly volunteers who handed me my half marathon race medal (with built-in bottle opener), a custom Bend Ale Run Pint Glass loaded with Bend Ale Fest Tokens, and vouchers for both lunch and my choice of beer from Deschutes Brewery. Each participant also received a Bend Ale Run Beanie and a Bend Ale Run bag. So much awesome swag.
Once I completed the half marathon, I was so ready for a beer. I cooled down, by slowly jogging/ walking with my husband and then we ventured into the Bend Ale Fest, which was amazing! With over 40 beers to sample from 20 different breweries, it was hard to know where to start. I opted with a beer from Deschutes, and made my way towards other breweries. There were so many options from pale ales, IPAs, and sours. They even had a Salted Carmel Porter, which was delicious! They had great options for things to eat as well – three different food carts, featuring a mix of yummy dishes. I decided on a loaded baked potato, with pulled pork. , which definitely hit the spot, after the 13.1 mile race.
I was blown away with how scenic the Bend Ale Run course was. I highly recommend this race! I was taken back by just how beautiful my home state really is. It is races like Bend Ale Fest, that make me truly proud to be an Oregonian. Thank you for having me Bend Ale Fest, I look forward to running again in 2018!