There are some running events where you know you’ll have an excellent time, but the weather is the big wild card. This year was my third time running X-dog Events’ Ho Ho 5k in Tigard’s beautiful Cook Park, and the conditions were as perfect as you can wish for in early December. It wasn’t raining and the temperature hovered around 43* for the nearly 300 participants in this year’s event.
When I got to the start area, I got one of the last close-in parking spots (unlike in past years, one big parking lot was closed and unavailable) and made my way into the park to the registration table under the picnic shelter. Bib pickup was a breeze, and I also dropped off my canned food donation to the Union Gospel Mission, which would earn me at $5 discount off an event shirt or off a future event.
Since there was still plenty of time and the park benches were cold, I decided to sit in the car for a few minutes before it was time to line up at the start line. At 10am, without much ado, the starting horn was blown and runners were off. The course starts with a nice uphill from Cook Park north towards Tigard High School. The next mile after the hill was weaving through a quiet neighborhood, until we reached the west access point to the river trail: a short and very steep downhill towards the river. Santa was giving high-fives, and I chose to walk down the hill instead of risking a slip on the wet, mossy pavement.
The trail along the river is beautiful! By this time the field was stretched out enough that the narrow path (no more than three people wide) was no issue at all. The gently rolling path is lined with moss covered trees, and beyond the trees to the right you can see the Tualatin River. When you reach the big field, you start seeing and hearing the finish line and think you’re done, but there’s still a little out and back to the boat ramp. When you see the finish line a second time, you REALLY think you’re done, but here’s yet another little out and back through the parking lot before you finally get to cross the line.
At the finish area, there was music, water, hot cider, hot soup, HoHo’s and Snowballs. We also received our evergreen seedling, which this year was a Colorado Spruce. Raffle tickets were handed out to all who wanted to participate in the raffle, and earn awesome prizes like beer, hatchimals, eight year old fruit cake (which you can trade in for a free race entry next year), stuffed animals, games, a turkey baster, and many more fun and goofy items. Awards were given to the overall and masters top finishers, and also to the top three youth finishers in three separate youth age groups.
Once again, the HoHo 5k was very enjoyable, low-key, and well-run event. Results can be found here.