It may have been only 27*F on the morning of this year’s Foot Traffic Holiday Half and 5k, but that didn’t deter the more than 3,000 participants who were making their way to the Adidas campus in North Portland for the 8am race start. Since there is very little street parking available near the start line, Foot Traffic gets permission to use the Daimler parking lot on Channel Ave and then runs shuttle buses from the parking lot to the start (or you can walk the mile as well).
The start/finish area is very well laid out: The start line is on the street, gear check is on street level in the parking garage (keeping bags dry if there’s rain). Up the stairs, there are big event tents set up for post-race food and drink, while inside the building there is space for vendor tables and to warm yourself up. I also noticed packet pickup in one of the food tents, although picking up shirts and bibs ahead of time was strongly encouraged (to the point of not even mentioning day-of-race pickup).
The half marathon started right on time at 8am, and by that time the 5k runners were filtering down into the street as well. Announcements were pretty tough for me to hear, but people were asked to line up by estimated speed, and soon we were off as well. The first mile of the course goes zigzag through the neighborhood, and at times it was pretty crowded and busy. Due to the cold (still below freezing) my lungs were hurting and I was okay with being held up by the crowds a little. I soon found my groove though and warmed up, and as I passed the 1 mile marker I had settled into a comfortable pace.
After the uphill start, the course is mostly flat, and by mile 1.5 it becomes an out-and-back. While a circle course gives you more varying scenery, I like being able to watch and cheer for other runner on out-and-backs. The sun was shining on Willamette Blvd, and I heard the first group of carolers along the way. The aid station serving water and gingerbread cookies was set up around mile 2, but unfortunately it was on the opposite side of the street such that 5k runners wouldn’t be able to get to it until the return trip, putting the 5k’s only aid station over 2.5 miles into the race.
Results can be found here.