The city of Madras sits in a tough spot. If one is coming over from Portland on the way to Bend, the road goes directly through this town. If one doesn’t think to slow down, it’s easy to miss the fact that this is just as much a part of Central Oregon as Bend is. In fact, the high desert landscape is truly on display in Madras, from the mighty gorges that cut through this area (Lake Billy Chinook, Simtustus Lake, Round Butte, Willow Canyon, etc), to the terrain that makes this area what it is. And if there is one sure way to experience the high desert, it’s to run it!
Madras Runners created a great race 6 years ago, called the Canyon Rumble Frozen Half, that takes advantage of this landscape while also exposing runners to the elevation, rocky terrain and frigid temps that are typical to the area in December. Racing up into Willow Canyon from town is a single track trail that sends runners over the infamous M hill on the way out, only to force them to race back up it just 1 mile from the finish. The course is slightly downhill on the way out and therefore slightly uphill on the way back, making negative splits tricky. Making things tougher is the weather. 2 years ago, the high was 25, the wind was up, there was ice everywhere and there was a fine layer of snow covering everything. Times were slow and finishers came in haggered but resolute. In contrast, last year the sun was out, it was 39 degrees at the start and the men’s course record was shattered. Having run this race before, the best parts are the scenery, the course and the organization. If you have never stopped in Madras before on your way to Bend, maybe this is your opportunity!
When: Saturday, December 2nd. Half starts at 10am. 10K & 5K start at 10:10am.
Costs: Half = $45. 10K = $30. 5K = $20.
Register: Ultra Signup online or day of race registration.