Several years ago (2001, to be exact), during my quest to run a race in every county in Oregon, I was able to check off Umatilla County in the northeastern corner of the state by running the East Oregonian Butte Challenge 10k. It proved to be a great, well-organized community event, with a fun course that circled Hermiston Butte, a notable landmark in the center of town. The event will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year on Saturday, May 11th, and it continues to be a fundraiser for the Hermiston High School and Middle School cross country teams.
The Butte Challenge consists of three chip-timed races, a 5K Walk, a 5K Run, and a 10K Run, as well as a free Kids’ Butte Scoot. The 5Ks make one circuit of the course, while the 10K does two. The route begins and ends at Hermiston Butte Park, looping around the butte, and making its way around several residential streets with a spiral section and an out-and-back “lollipop” segment included so you can cheer on your fellow runners as you come and go. Despite having the word “Butte” prominently featured in the name of the race, the course (and most of Hermiston) is relatively flat. That’s why Hermiston Butte is such a prominent feature. Luckily, the race runs around the periphery of the Butte, and not over it!
Overall male and female winners of each race as well as age group champions will receive medals. And, as is often the case with community races like this, there will be a generous raffle drawing with dozens of prizes from local merchants. Your chances of winning a nice prize are pretty high. The Butte Challenge is one of the classic local races, well-organized, with enthusiastic and friendly volunteers, and a fun course. If you live in the area, you shouldn’t pass it up, and it would make a great road trip and destination race for anyone else!
When: Saturday, May 11th
Where: Hermiston, Oregon, at Hermiston Butte Park in front of the Spray Park/Funland Community Playground
7:30 – Registration and packet pickup begin
8:30 – 5K and 10K races begin
10:00 – Awards
10:30 – Raffle drawing
Registration: $20 (+$3.25 online fee) for the 5K and 10K. $75 (+$6 fee) for families of 4 to 8. Technical T-shirts are available for an additional $15 through 4/27. You can register online HERE.