This past Labor Day, I was once again in Sunriver for the 9th annual Sunriver Marathon for a Cause. This is the fourth time I have participated in these races (the 10k in 2011 & 2018, and the double half challenge in 2013) and is always one that I look forward to. There is just something about running through this wonderful Oregon running landscape as the last event of the “summer” and before the kids go back to school. The early morning smell of pine and high desert air, coupled with blue skies, mountain landscapes, and cool temperatures really paints the picture that a new season is coming. It’s almost comforting to have a few days of both running and relaxing to guide me into September.
The race weekend seemed to go off without a hitch again. As there are two days of races (the 10k/5k on Saturday and the Half on Sunday), packet pick-up was available as we arrived on Friday afternoon. The yellow long-sleeved tech shirts look great and I was in-and-out with my bib in a matter of minutes. As I was only running the half, we spent Friday around the resort and took in the Sunriver Resort‘s Cove pool for most of the day before I took off to stay overnight at the Spoke’n Hostel and run the Painted Hills Half on Saturday morning.
The half course remains the same that it has for years, which is both welcome and reassuring. With high altitudes always catching me off guard, it’s nice to have a pretty good idea about what is coming up ahead of me. The race starts just in front of the lodge and quickly spits runners out onto the paved golf cart paths on the Meadows Gold Course.
Just after mile 1, we crossed over onto the paths on the Crosswater golf course and snaked along the mesmerizing green landscapes for the next 4 miles or so. Considering that this is on a golf course, it’s actually quite a fun spot to run. There are enough twists and turns to keep things interesting, and most runners are always gonna be near each other the entire time – creating a sense of community or competition – but of which are fun. That’s not to mention that the views are quite amazing.
At around mile 6, the course shift from golf courses to the famed paved trails that Sunriver is known for. Even with tired legs carrying over from the 13 miles ran the day prior, it was easy to get lost in the beauty of running through tall trees and breathing in the crisp morning air. So much so, that I didn’t pull my phone out to take pictures. Oh well, here are more from the golf course.
Just after mile 8, we shifted into running through the Caldera Springs neighborhood, an area that makes me realize I may be in the wrong line of work. The final three miles have always been the most challenging for me, and this year was no different. Aside from my tired legs and feet, I know that we are so close to the end, but there is still some loops that need to occur. The first of which is doing some short climbing in the Sunriver Business Park just after mile 10, and then another climb near mile 11 to get up and under South Century Drive. Luckily the final few miles are downhill and on familiar paths that pass the SHARC, Village at Sunriver, and finally the paths around the Sunriver Resort. A final push to the lawn at the back of the resort leaves runners with one of the pretties finish backdrops in the state.
After the race, sore and exhausted, I watched a few runners come in before loading myself up with a free beer and enough post-race snacks to keep myself full for the rest of the day. Timing results were promptly given by Eclectic Edge racing and i finally finished my 26.2 miles in 26 hours Central Oregon extravaganza.
As I mentioned before, I am always thrilled and honored to run this race. Proceeds go to a great cause, and this race just feels “right” as a Labor Day staple. If you haven’t run it before, I highly recommend that you make plans to do so. Check out our posts on the Sunriver Resort and surrounding area to come out and make a day or weekend of it. You won’t regret it.