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Race Recap: Julie’s review of the 2018 Cottage Grove Half

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I wasn’t sure what Saturday, April 7th, would have in store for the Cottage Grove Half. We had been having heavy rains and winds! I decided I was running either way, so I headed to Cottage Grove/Bohemia Park that morning with high hopes of a great race!

The directions given in the pre-race emails were very clear. Because I am from out-of-town, I didn’t make it to the early pick up, and luckily race director Mike offered a day of pick up for people like me! Everything that morning seemed very organized and easy to find. There were plenty of port-a-potties at bib-pick-up for runners and walkers as they all waited to board the busses between 8:30a-8:45a.

The half marathon was a point to point race which necessitated a bus ride to the starting point. Like many spring Oregon races, I had gotten soaked warming up so I was thankful for the heated bus! There were numerous runners betting on how wet it was going to be for the race or if they should just ride the bus back and skip out (joking of course). Everyone seemed happy despite the wet weather showcasing itself outside of our wnidows.

The (Dorena School) we started from was very small, and fortunately we could go inside the gym to stay dry. There was also a dry covered area next to a row of port-a-potties. There was plenty of room for people to stand undercover and not get drenched with rain. I appreciated the bag drop off that morning. I had bundled up, and was happy to shed a layer before heading to the start.

The starting line was on the Row River Trail behind the school. An announcer rounded up all the runners/walkers well before the start time and got us all in place. One thing my husband and I realized was people’s estimated finish times matched their bib numbers. For example, bib number 1 was near the front of the start and he was estimated to finish first. I was bib number 45, estimated to finish 45th. I haven’t seen a race do this before and I thought it was fun. I decided I definitely wanted to be faster than the 45th runner that morning!

The course was beautiful. Although this race was in their 3rd year, this was my first time running this race. I actually grew up near Cottage Grove, but had never been on Row River Trail. We ran this trail the whole way into town – flanking Dorena Lake on a nicely taken care of paved path, lined with trees. This particular morning, the winds were coming at our faces at 21 mph. We got lucky, however, as the sun did break and the downpour let up. I loved the peacefulness of this course and how it kept us off-road. There were four water/aid stations step up, each with plenty of volunteers who had clearly been trained to hand out water/electrolytes properly to runners with no hassles. I took water from each station with ease.

The course was nice and flat and mostly straight. We did cross the road a few times, but there were always plenty of volunteers and flaggers placed where needed to keep the runners/walkers safe. As we came into Cottage Grove and broke free from the trees I felt the full wind coming at my body. I knew the finish line wasn’t far as there were mile markers clearly placed along the course.

After crossing the the finish line, I was given a finishers medal and I walked around a little to cool off and check out their snack area with chips, cookies and water available. The Brewstation was giving out beer to finishers and Big Bites Food Truck was also there with root beer floats, hot dogs, and more!

Awards were given out about 11:30 under the gazebo near the finish line. I earned a 2nd place age group glass cup and I came in 37th runner, not 45th! (Happy Dance)! My family ended the morning at Buster’s Main Street Cafe for a hot lunch and espresso as they gave each runner a $10.00 gift certificate for food. I saw a great number of runners eating at Buster’s after the race!

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Finishing at Buster’s Main Street Cafe!

Mark your calendars for next years half and 10k! September 14th, 2019 (note the change of date). You can register now HERE!

  • The half is $60.00
  • The 10k is $$35.00

*prices go up 1/1/2019

Find Cottage Grove Half on facebook HERE!

I highly recommend this race for your 2019 calendar. It’s a fast course with stunning views. It was very well-organized and the trail wasn’t over crowded at all. Even with high winds, I enjoyed this race. If you have any questions email Mike at

About Julie Mullins (93 Articles)
I am a 41 year-old runner from Dallas, OR. I am married to Jerry (also a runner) and we have three kids (one who will run with us on occasion). I work full time at West Valley Hospital/Salem Health and run as often as I can. I ran in High school but as an adult, started running in 2008. Since then, I have completed 13 full marathons, numerous 5k, 10ks and 15k. I've run two Ultras and just completed my 31st half marathon. My goal is the get my BQ in 2018 at Eugene Marathon! (Pinch me, I DID IT!!!) I also organize a local running group called ZaoFit (on facebook). I LOVE running with others - it is what keeps me motivated to stay consistent, and to keep dreaming big.

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