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Race Preview: 2018 Summer Solstice 5K at the Oregon Zoo (Portland)

This year, the longest day of the year will be on June 21, 2018. To give you a quick refresher, the summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest altitude of the year. To celebrate the official start of summer, Oregon Road Runners Club will host their annual Summer Solstice 5K at the Oregon Zoo.

Last year I had the pleasure of running my first race at the Oregon Zoo and it was a fun experience; being able to run in the zoo after-hours is not something you get to do everyday! It was also the second ORRC event my husband participated in, so it made it extra special. This year, the summer solstice will fall on the day of ORRC’s 2018 edition of the Summer Solstice 5K at 7:00 pm (June 21st, for those who haven’t checked their Farmer’s Almanac in a while).

The loop course takes participants past the Elephant Lands exhibit, through the African Rainforest, down through the Pacific Shores and past the Primate Forest. I especially loved the downhill part of the course that went underground in the Pacific Shores exhibit—this provides a welcome break from the summer heat one might expect. If you time it just right, you may be able to watch the Harbor Seals swim and play as you run by.

Registration is now open online. Each race registrant will receive a specially designed bib for the Summer Solstice, a meal voucher, and an ice cream or popsicle at the finish. New this year: purchase a Summer Solstice Limited Edition T-Shirt! The navy blue 100% cotton T-shirts feature a portrait of all four beloved Oregon Zoo chimpanzees. 100% of proceeds from T-shirt sales benefit the Oregon Zoo chimpanzees—present and future—including new construction, exhibit enhancements, and enrichment items. Please note that T-shirts can only be purchased by ordering them in advance during the online registration process—and T-shirt orders can only be placed through June 7th.
This event is family friendly and includes a Tot Trot free for children aged 2 and under. For kids ages 3-11, the price for entry to the Kids’ Fun Run is $20. For kids ages 3-11 wishing to participate in the 5K, the cost is still $20. For big kids at heart (12 and up), the registration cost is $35. All Kids’ Fun Run and all 5K participants also receive a meal voucher and popsicle or ice cream at the finish line. If family or friends want to come to spectate and join you for your post-race meal, the fee is $20 (including a meal voucher). For those who wish to only purchase admission to the zoo (no meal voucher), the cost is $15. Packing your own picnic is welcome, but please note that you cannot bring in items from outside vendors.

I hope to see you in June for this super fun and memorable event. Since this is a casual 5K, there will not be chip timing. However, there is a clock positioned at the start/finish area for those who want to keep on pace. Don’t count on taking it too seriously though—the cute animals will be quite a fun distraction while you run!
What: Oregon Road Runners Club Summer Solstice Sundowner

When: Thursday, June 21 at 7:00pm

Where: The Oregon Zoo. 4001 S.W. Canyon Rd. Portland, Or 97221

Registration Info: Online here. Cost is free for kids 2 and under, and $20-$35 depending on age.


About Abby Meek (119 Articles)
Abby was raised in Tigard, Oregon and moved to Denver, Colorado in 2007. While in Colorado she ran her first 5K, which led to a 10K, which led to a half-marathon. Abby moved back to her native Oregon in mid- 2015 and has since completed more 5K's, 10K's and more half-marathons. Abby's favorite distances are the 10K and the half marathon.

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