Race Preview: 50th Annual Zena Road Runs – New Location & Same Great Race (Salem)

The 50th Annual Zena Road Runs has made some big changes this year! With a new date and new location this race has new appeal. This year’s run will start and finish at St. Innocent Winery – a location every runner of the Zena Road Runs has run past since 1983. This location change means a beautiful venue to stay warm and dry before/after the race and much improved parking (no more lining the roadway for miles and miles). It also means a commemorative stemless wine glass and a complimentary 5 oz. pour of St. Innocent wine (or sparkling cider) for all participants – an upgrade that makes complete sense considering all the wineries in the area.

As this is the 50 year anniversary of the Zena Road Runs, there will be a look back on the history of this long running event, which was founded by Chuck Bowles. The first ever event cost just a quarter to enter ( toss $.25 in a coffee can and toes the line!) and Coach Bowles had a stopwatch at the finish and recorded all the runners’ times on his clipboard. Results were mailed to participants, and at $.06 cents for postage – Coach Bowles still came out ahead. In an awesome call back to this time, there will be a giveaway to win a coffee can of quarters!

Inside St. Innocent Winery

While, things have changed a bit since the first event, the hills on Zena Road have not. Get ready for a challenging up and down course. Choose from 3, 6, or the very challenging 15k (actually 9.5 mile) course.

For 50 straight years, the 15k Loop has defined the Zena Road Runs. This year there is an additional .2 miles to provide a safe start/finish line at St. Innocent Winery, bringing the overall total distance to 9.5 miles. This course provides some solid climbs and rolling hills, but is really beautiful. In fact, the route passes 10 different wineries, as well as a number of the most famous vineyards in the Eola Hills wine region. The major change is that the killer hill and subsequent gradual that used to be right at the start, now comes around miles 4-7.

“New” 15k route

The 3-miler and 6-milers are both out-and-back, like in previous years, but the new starting location will obviously give these courses a different look. Expect about 630 feet of gain up to the halfway point in the longer distance and 377 in the shorter, before cruising quickly back to the finish. This race is capped at 350 participants, so register in advance to reserve your spot (there may not be Day of Race registration if the race fills). Due to safety reasons dogs and strollers will not be allowed on the course.

After the race there will be vegan food options provided by Chickpea (a new restaurant in West Salem), fresh fruit from Roth’s Fresh Markets, and free samples and snacks from KIND. There will also be age group awards, door prizes, and a celebration and commemoration of the last 50 years. Come for the challenge and stay for the celebration of the 50th year of Zena Road Runs.

Like this race and invite your friends on Facebook.

Zena Road Runs Details

Date: Saturday, February 18, 2018

Time: 10:00 A.M.

Location: St. Innocent Winery, 5657 Zena Road NW, Salem

Entry Fee: Online here; $25 before Jan. 20 (Willamette Valley Road Runners club members and those under age 19 save $5)

Race Website: Click Here

About Annette Vaughan (495 Articles)
Annette Vaughan is a runner and personal trainer in Canby, Oregon. She began running at the age of 30 and became hooked after her first race (even though she is a self-proclaimed slow runner.) She enjoys small local races from 5Ks to half-marathons, with a 30K on the books as her longest run ever. She has also become a huge fan of obstacle course races and just can't get enough of them. Annette is a certified personal trainer, who believes in promoting movement since our bodies were designed to move. The more we move, the better we move and function in everyday life.
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