Race Preview: 2018 ORRC Garlic Festival 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon (North Plains)

Participants from the 2017 ORRC Garlic Festival events in scenic North Plains, Oregon.

[Race Preview submitted by Charissa Yang]

Fun stinks! What’s that, you say? That’s the motto of the Annual North Plains Elephant Garlic Festival, now in its 21st year… the setting for the Oregon Road Runners Club (ORRC) Garlic Festival 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon events, which take place this year on August 11, 2018. The 5K course is relatively flat and fast, as it winds through the town of North Plains. In high contrast, the 10K course is a lovely, scenic, hilly course (with one big ascent starting at mile 1.5 until mile 2.9) through the area of the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in North Plains, Oregon. The Half Marathon, now in its second year, is part of the ORRC Half Marathon Series; the half marathon course is comprised of two laps of the 10K course, plus a little bit added on to make it the requisite 13.1 miles. The 10K is part of the ORRC 10K Series. The 10K and half marathon courses are USATF-certified and the 5K will be USATF-certified.

Most ORRC events are both runner and walker friendly, and this one strives to be, welcoming walkers and runners in the 5K and 10K. But, for the half marathon, a strict 3-hour time limit is imposed because the Garlic Festival has a schedule to maintain and the course must be cleared for the parade that begins at 10 am! Thus for the half marathon, sign up is encouraged only for those who are confident they can finish comfortably within 3 hours. Those who would need more time are encouraged to sign up for the 10K.

New this year, both the 5K and 10K are serving as 2018 Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Oregon State Championship Events! RRCA is a national running organization; and you don’t need to be a member of either ORRC or RRCA to participate; anyone may participate and all are eligible for the RRCA and/or ORRC awards.

In fact, for both the 5K and 10K, because of its RRCA championship designation, if you are the top male or female in any of 4 categories: open, masters (40+), grand masters (50+) and senior grand masters (60+), you’ll receive a special RRCA medal recognizing your placement in the 2018 Oregon State Championship 5K or 10K. In addition, there will be awards presented by ORRC, including plaques for the top male and female open and master finishers in both running and walking categories for the 5K and 10K. These are awarded separately from the RRCA awards, so some top runners may receive both RRCA and ORRC awards! Note: Per RRCA Championship rules, the top 3 finishers will be scored according to gun time, and all others will be placed according to chip time.

For the Half Marathon, ORRC will award plaques for the top male and female open and masters half marathoners, but no walking awards for the half marathon, due to the course time limit of 3 hours. ORRC also awards ribbons three places deep in five-year age groups for both runners and walkers for the 5K and 10K race events, and to the runners (only) in the half marathon.

Regardless of your placement, there are finisher’s medals for all participants—and the 5K and 10K medals will have RRCA ribbons to commemorate their status as RRCA State Championship events. In addition, ORRC will also have their traditional giveaway, Garlic Festival-themed socks (wear them to baffle your friends who have no idea why they say “Fun Stinks”)!

Please keep in mind: due to the nature of the event being part of the Garlic Festival, and the course not being closed to traffic, pets and strollers are not allowed in the race events (sorry, pets are not allowed at the Garlic Festival at all). Headphones are also not allowed, per RRCA guidelines and for the safety of all participants.

One more thing, last but not at all least! Don’t forget to check out the Garlic Festival while you are there. Admission to the festival is free (always!), so plan to stick around for the music, food and fun for the entire family. You might even check out the festival on Friday and Sunday, in addition, as it is a 3-day weekend affair. Prices increase after July 14, so consider and decide on this race soon!


What: ORRC Garlic Festival and RRCA Oregon State Championship 5K and 10K; and Half Marathon.

When: Half Marathon starts at 7 am with strict 3-hour course limit. 10K starts at 8 am; 5K at 8:15 am. Course closes at 10 am for all 3 events.

Where: Jessie Mays Community Center, 30975 NW Hillcrest St, North Plains, OR US 97133.

Additional parking will be available at St. Edward’s Catholic Church on the corner of NW 313th and NW Wascoe Street, adjacent to the start/finish. Parking at the church is free until 10 a.m. There is additional on street parking near the start, but be careful to park in areas that have not been blocked off for the Garlic Festival.

Register online at:

Costs: Through July 14: $37 for the 5K, $42 for the 10K, and $57 for the half marathon. $10 discount* for ORRC members.

July 15 through August 9: $39 for the 5K, $45 for the 10K, and $65 for the half marathon. $10 discount* for ORRC members.

Day of Race (August 11): $44 for the 5K, $50 for the 10K, and $70 for the half marathon. Please note, on day of race, discount for ORRC members no longer applies.*

*Note: Discount for ORRC members applies only to online registrations through August 9, and is $10 (the standard member discount for ORRC events). If you are interested in joining ORRC, it is a simple add-on within the registration process, which will automatically include the $10 member discount with your registration, too.

Packet Pickup: Early packet pickup TBD; there will be packet pickup day of race.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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