Of all the places to run a race, Central Oregon is definitely one of the more scenic. Within Central Oregon there are many backdrops for the truly epic event, and Sisters is definitely one of those. For yours truly, living a mere 25 minutes away from this little town has afforded me the opportunity to run here on multiple locations, including for this particular race. Two years ago, I ran my first Sisters Better Half Marathon, finishing 4th, despite 35 mph headwinds coming out of the northwest. For all of us that ran it that year, the cool wind made things difficult, but it didn’t keep us away from this picturesque place.
The weather for this year’s race was anticipated to be much like it was in 2016, with the addition of rain and slightly colder temps, which certainly had a few of us worried. At 8am, when I showed
up to pick up my bib, the temperature was 37 and there were scattered clouds, but the wind was almost non-existent. I would gladly take freezing temps and even occasional rain, over driving wind, any day! Race organizer Bryn Singleton seemed very excited about the day, the weather and the race, even though numbers were down from the last two years. The race benefits the Sisters High School swim team, and because Bryn has been doing this for a few years (this was the 7th year), things have gotten a little easier due to using many of the same volunteers and special events people.
Prior to the race, I was fortunate to get in my warm-up run with good friend Peter Curran, who not only won this year’s race, but was also the winner in 2016 when I ran it the first time. Peter is a speedy dude and it is fun to run with him whenever I get the chance. On this day, I tracked Peter for about the first 5 miles of the race, who, along with the 2nd place finisher Neal Richards of Bend, began to pull away. I went into this race aiming to go under 1:30, for the first time ever, and ended up coming in 3rd place overall in 1:27:45! Immediately following the race, finishers enjoyed beer and wraps from Three Creeks Brewing as we cheered on everyone that came in.
All along the course, in perfectly placed locations, there were a slew of volunteers and 2 aid stations. Bryn and crew have created a perfect 13.1 mile course that is 2 loops of 6.55 miles. The beauty of this course is that it allows runners to do the entire 13.1 on their own, as a relay with another person (hence the name “better half”), or as a single loop of 6.55 miles. The race starts and ends at Village Green Park in downtown Sisters, a mere two blocks from the hustle and bustle of main street, with all the great little shops. Included in those shops is Sisters Bakery, which is a staple in the community and a regular stop for me, beacuse, doughnuts. Following the race and my cool down, I loped over to the bakery for a post-race treat, feeling I had earned a little something for my feat.
While I cannot promise such perfect weather for next year, I can tell you that this is a very well organized event, which is very affordable, especially in lieu of everything you get for your entry (super soft t-shirt, Three Creeks custom pint glass, 1 beer in said glass and lunch). Bryn and team have done a great job of staffing, marking the course, keeping runners safe and making it enjoyable. Consider making the trek to Sisters next year. If you do, I’ll meet you at the bakery.