Race Recap: 2018 Oregon Trail Game 5K


Growing up, the Oregon Trail Game was always a highlight during computer class. I loved the thrill of taking my covered wagon through dangerous terrain and getting to choose what to do along the way. Would I make it to the finish, or would I be taken out with dysentery? When I found out there was a 5K with a theme of The Oregon Trail Game, I knew I had to sign up.

For those who have never heard of this race, it is based on the classic 1980’s computer game and take runners on a cross-country adventure from Missouri to Oregon. Participants have to make decisions along the course, such as whether to ford a river, go hunting, and much more. Each decision made along the course, determines your ultimate fate. Runners also received a timed score, as well as a game score. This was the fourth annual race of the Oregon Trail Game 5K, held on Sunday, August 5th, 2018.

For this event, I was able to pick up my packet the day before (believe me, this never happens!). Although, I honestly think I would not have had any issues picking up the day of, as there were zero lines at the packet pickup booth. Race organizers urged participants that parking would be an issue, due to being downtown Oregon City, but again, I had no issues and found a parking spot two blocks from the starting line. It was very well-organized.

The race began at 9:00 am, I had just enough time to use the restroom and get to the starting line, or so I thought. Once I saw the restroom line, I knew this would not be an option! Unfortunately, there were only 4 port-a-potties, and at 8:45 am, had a line that reached nearly two streets. There was a slight delay in the start, but we were off around 9:10 am.

The course was challenging, with hills, zigzagging streets, up several flights of stairs and along narrow pathways, just like the challenging terrain in the game. There were also 5 stops along the course (some offering water), where participants choose their fate of choosing between two options per stop, for the game portion of the race.

When running the course, I was very optimistic. I had no idea what to choose, when it came time to make a decision. The choices were on a large table, with papers folded on each side and participants were to choose one paper at each table along the course. And honestly, I was more concerned with running the 5K and my time, then the actual game. This did pose a challenge when getting to each table. I always choose the paper on the side of the table I was on. There was even one table, where I missed grabbing the paper and had to turn back. This made for an interesting outcome, in the actual outcome of my game.


Once the finish line was in sight, I booked it to the finish. My overall time was 22:39. Once crossing the finish line, I was greeted by volunteers and handed my medal. The medals were floppy disks, with a sticker of the Oregon Trail, which was very clever! I then wanted to check results, and see how I did in the game. I gathered the papers I collected along the course and headed to the results booth. Once entering the numbers on each paper, I was given the results. I had placed 2nd for the category of women’s overall for the 5K race, and had made it 31 weeks on the Oregon Trail, but ended up dying of starvation. I knew I should have chosen to hunt at the second table!

The papers I choose read as follows:

  • Your wagon sank! You lost most of your supplies
  • Your oxen was tired so you had to stop anyways.
  • You stopped to hunt and rest.
  • Got stuck in rush hour that lasted 2 weeks on 205.
  • You rafted the Columbia without incident.

Once at the finish line, it was almost time for the kids race to begin. I had signed up my 5-year-old and 2-year-old to run when I signed myself up for this event. This race was free to all kids. It was pure chaos once the announcer announced the start. There were people in the raceway, and kids dodging adults. Thankfully, no one got hurt. Once the kids rounded the corner, they were near the finish line. Each participant was handed a race medal and a popsicle. My kids loved it, even with the hectic start.

The race ended at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, along with the Oregon City Brewfest. Each 5K participant was also given a voucher for a beverage. The finish area had many vendors, and several beverages to choose from. I decided on a cider from Portland Cider Co., called Sangria. It was delicious. Oregon City Brewing was also there, and had several beers from their brewery to choose from. Once I had my beverage, I made my way near the stage and found some lawn chairs. We all sat down and enjoyed our drinks, and popsicle and listened to the race director as he announced the 5K winners. I heard my name and went to the stage to collect my medal.

Overall, I would say the Oregon Trail 5K was a great family friendly event. My boys had a great time participating in the kids run, my husband loved the beer selection at the brewfest, and I really enjoyed the 5K. The weather was near perfect for racing, and the atmosphere and post race was great. I highly suggest you check out this event for next year, for the fifth annual Oregon Trail 5K.


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