After last year’s frigid temperatures, the 2018 ORRC Y2K Half Marathon and 10k felt almost balmy. Run on Saturday, January 6 in Forest Grove, this race was also the kick off for the ORRC Half Marathon Series and the ORRC 10k Series. Plus, it had a lovely 9a start.
Upon arriving in Forest Grove at 8:24 (thanks, Waze), I was able to easily find a parking spot (there are three large lots all within a few minute walk from the packet pick-up inside the Tom McCall Upper Elementary School cafeteria). There was a sizable line for day-of-race registration, I’m assuming in part because the calm winds and relatively warm temps drew people off the fence and to the race. I headed back to the line for pre-registered participants and got my bib after just a few minutes. I then checked in at the 10k Series table, said hi to a number of friends, and headed back to my car to ditch my giant coat, peel off one of my layers, and grab my sunglasses.
Many participants were warming up before the regular start (there was an early start for the half marathon at 8:30a), and it seemed like no one really wanted to be the first one across the line. When the horn sounded, a couple hundred runners and walkers, half marathoners and 10kers alike, thundered under the Huber Timing starting arch and onto the course.
The first mile and a half are run through the quiet residential streets of Forest Grove, with volunteers from a nearby XC team cheering participants on at every intersection. It’s a nice, flat stretch and it wasn’t long before I took a look at my watch and immediately began feeling trepidation about the final miles of the race: I passed the first mile marker at just slightly faster than my 5k race pace. That’s not a great 10k race strategy, for me, anyway. I slowed down and was promptly passed by at least 30 people in the next mile, but at least I could breathe.
At Highway 47, the course turns right onto a paved path, where it runs past the first aid station and the 2nd mile marker. This section passes pretty quickly, and then all participants turned north onto B Street for a very short time before making a left onto Stringtown Road. (I feel like it should be StringBeanTown Road.) It was just after the 3rd mile marker that the half marathoners turned away from the 10k course and started climbing.
For those in the 10k, there was a gentle rise to end the 4th mile, and another, slighter more impressive one at mile 4.5. That hill, which stretches about a half mile, finishes with an aid station and a right turn onto Ritchey Road, the “home stretch.” Those who haven’t run the Y2K before probably thought, “This is a nice flat section,” but those of us who have run this route before knew what was coming: a jerk of a hill stretching on for two-tenths of a mile and topping out at the mile 6 marker. Even so, it was a pretty run, with heavy fog blanketing the fields on either side of the road.
Then the hill – that stupid hill – and another 0.2 miles to the finish line. There was an aid station set up immediately after the finish, so runners could catch their breath and re-hydrate before heading inside for the pancake breakfast. Many participants didn’t head inside immediately, however, and instead cheered on their friends or the runners close behind them.
This race is well organized, with easy-to-access parking, ample potties (inside restrooms and porta-potties outside), chip timing, and that warm cafeteria in which participants could hang out before and after the race. The pancakes for finishers and volunteers were delicious, and there was rarely a line. The aid stations offered collapsible cups that could be flattened and carried in a pocket, so that each participant only needed one during the race. And there was a raffle at the finish, plus age group awards given out six-deep. This year, there were 160 finishers in the 10k run, 29 in the 10k walk, and 123 in the half marathon (run only, although competitors could walk).
Here’s a list of the top open and master’s finishers in the runs, for full results, click here and choose the race from the buttons at the top of the page.
Men’s: Christopher Shaeffer, 1:15:20
Women’s: Elizabeth Brim Snodgrass (masters), 1:37:54
Men’s Master’s: David Hopper, 1:25:34
Women’s Master’s: Melissa Van Doren, 1:38:50
Men’s: Brands Dennis (or is it Dennis Brands?), 34:29
Women’s: Katarina Mueller, 40:46
Men’s Master’s: Ahrlin Bauman, 34:36
Women’s Master’s: Renee Paradis, 43:19