Small races can be the best races: A Run Oregon recap of the 2018 Go Granary 5K (McMinnville)

On Saturday the 2nd I had the opportunity to participate in a local fun run. Low key and small, the Go Granary 5K had a simple course in the middle of town, avoiding most major streets. This was a key element, as the fund raising run for the Sheridan Japanese School was an open course event, with no closed roads. It was a small event, with a little over 30 participants, but checked off all the boxes for what a race needs. The most unique part was the performance by the Taiko drum team. The energy from the percussion instruments is awesome.

Check in and bib pick can sometimes be the most difficult part of a race. After enjoying the feeling of an easy run across town to the race start, it was humorous to be hailed before I even reached the registration table and given my number as I walked up. The Granary District is a quaint and relatively quiet area in the morning. I utilized the shady area to stretch as it was going to be a warm morning. I enjoyed a warm up with my girlfriend as we talked race strategy and the race course. The map was published online and there were paper copies at the registration area.

The amusing part was, the course was actually marked very well, with chalk arrows and even signs at most of the major areas. The only missing marking was the location of the start line. The finish area had prominent marking, balloons, and inspirational sayings. The start was about a block south on the same street. After the drum performance from the Taiko group, we lined up to go.

I was pretty confident about the course and knew it was relatively flat. The trickiest part would be the multiple tight turns and the two block stretch of gravel before the finishing stretch. A transition in surface can be difficult at the end of a race when the legs are already tired. I started a little aggressively and ended up running the whole thing alone. Starting on part of the route I used to walk to high school and passing by the track I raced on before going in front of my middle school, the route consisted of quiet residential areas. We even looped through the park I trained in while running for middle school. I was a little lucky in that I didn’t have to stop for any cars on the road and the volunteers were placed well at important turns.

The finish was as great as I imagined, as the area is under renovation. It is very picturesque and lends itself well to a race finish. It’s a good straight away for 6 blocks into the finish. After the run there was plenty of water and fruit as well as a coffee bar on site. The run lacked for nothing and was a blast. I’m hoping to return next year and enjoy the course again. Part of the reason it was smaller was due to a competing event at the same time about 12 miles away. With a non conflicting date next year, this could be a key running event for the McMinnville community.

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