In 2017, I was fortunate to remain uninjured and to participate in an average of two organized races each month. Some of them were races I had done before, and some were brand new to me this year. Apart from relays, I stuck to 5k to 10k distances. It was very difficult to narrow it down to just a few, so I picked my favorite race in each of the four seasons:
Wurstfest 5k/10k (Mount Angel):
In the first quarter, my favorite race ended up being the Wurstfest 5k in Mount Angel. I grew up in Germany, and I enjoy this little German settlement a lot! The Wurstfest takes place in mid-February, and after the run through the beautiful countryside, runners get a free beer, a Wurstfest pint glass, and have a chance to shop the food booths and other vendors. You can read my recap here. (Next year the event takes place on February 10, 2018)
In the spring quarter, I ran several races by well known local race organizers, and while all of them delivered excellent experiences, my favorite race was a small event in Canby in mid-June. The Canby 5k is organized by YoungLife/Wyldlife of Canby, and the proceeds support YL camp scholarships and the Canby High School cross country team. The course is flat and beautiful and great for a PR (which I almost achieved!). You can read my recap here and plan to attend the next event on June 16, 2018.
Independence Day 5k/10k (Champoeg State Park):
My summer favorite this year was a race that was also located south of Portland, this one in the beautiful Champoeg State Park. Run with Paula’s races have been great experiences for me, and the Independence Day 5k on July 4th was no exception. The course is within the State Park, and while the first mile is exposed to the sun, the second mile and most of the third are under the trees and along the river. If you’re opting for the 10k, the additional distance to its turnaround point is also shaded. Burgers and beer at the finish are a nice start to the 4th of July holiday. You can read my recap here.
December Holiday Races:
I didn’t run many race in September and October since my Saturdays were taken up by my Taekwondo Black Belt Prep class, but was able to squeeze in several races between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I really can’t decide between the two Christmas/Holiday races I’ve run, so I’ll talk about both.
The HoHo 5k in Tigard’s Cook Park is small and low key on a beautiful hilly/rolling course along the Tualatin river, and you receive an evergreen tree seedling as your finishing prize. (Here’s my recap.) The following weekend I ran Foot Traffic’s Holiday 5k. The race has a large field of participants, is well organized, and you get a beautiful shirt and medal. The course is flat and beautiful, overlooking North Portland and the Columbia. There is also a half marathon, and next year a 10k as well!
Lots of great races to look forward to in 2018! I’m planning to run a mix of old favorites and new-to-me events.