Race Preview: 2019 ORRC Blue Lake Runs (Half Marathon, 5K, and Kids Run)

The Blue Lake Runs are a decades-old traditional event put on by the Oregon Road Runners Club (ORRC) each year, now in its 45th year. While the traditional distances were 5K (in its 35th year) and 15K (its 43rd year in 2016), the 15K was converted to a half marathon in 2017. Some may bemoan the loss of the relatively rare 15K distance event in favor of the half marathon, while others may cheer for its rebirth as the 13.1 mile distance grows in its popularity and ubiquity. For ORRC, this means it was able to be incorporated into the inaugural 2019 ORRC Half Marathon Series, which provided registrants with entries to five half marathons spread throughout the year for $200 (a great deal!).

This event is noted for a number of its classic features: a later morning start (making it less painful for those non-“morning people”); well-marked, relatively flat courses; a post-race BBQ (hot dogs, chips, drink and dessert are included with every registration, even the free Kids’ Run!); and a start/finish area in a park with nice facilities (restrooms with flush toilets, pavilion, and playground).

The Blue Lake Half Marathon course will be much the same as when it started in 2017. The course is a true out-and-back, with a little meandering through Blue Lake Park for the first little bit. The course will take runners to the paved trails along Marine Drive as it heads towards the Troutdale Airport. After reaching the airport, it heads north along the bike lane on Sundial Road, away from the airport, then takes a turn to continue east on the bike trail (part of the 40-mile bike loop) along the Sandy River, until the trail winds south back towards the Troutdale Airport again. Runners join Graham Road to head back in towards the Troutdale Airport before encountering the turnaround, after which you head back to Blue Lake Park the same way you came. For better or worse, this means that after the sections around the airport and around Marine Drive, once you’re finally back at the park, you’ll see and pass the finish line with a full mile yet to go, which may help motivate you—or may make that finish line seem too far away. But with this forewarning, you’ll know to expect this, and hopefully enjoy that last sweet mile running within the park again before it’s all over.

The Blue Lake 5K is open to runners and walkers of all paces. The course is an out-and-back that, like the half marathon, goes west, deeper into the park, before passing the start/finish area on your way out of the park and onto the Marine Drive paved trails. The turnaround on Marine Drive is just past mile 1.5 of the course, after which you head back to the park, again past the start/finish area to the central area of the park, and then finally to the finish.

Free Kids’ Run. ORRC loves to make many of its events family-friendly by including a free Kids’ Run. This one is one of those events, in which the Kids’ Run is a half mile course entirely within the park, which parents are welcome to run with their child. Making it even more welcoming to families, Kids’ Run registrants are welcome to eat at the post-race BBQ at no additional cost, as well as their accompanying parents! The Kids’ Run starts at 9:30 am, ahead of the Half Marathon and 5K, to ensure the kids are safely off the course before the larger events begin.

The ORRC Blue Lake Runs offer events for the whole family, including the popular Kids’ Run.

Bring your family and please consider volunteering. ORRC is a volunteer-run club welcoming runners and walkers of all abilities. They encourage you to bring your family to enjoy this event. Please consider volunteering for this event if you cannot run or walk the 5K or run the half marathon. ORRC rewards every volunteer with a voucher for a free registration good for an ORRC event up to a 10K. View roles and sign up to volunteer online.

Venue. Blue Lake Park charges a $5 parking fee, so be prepared to pay as you enter the park, and consider carpooling. The fee is not covered with your race entry. Blue Lake Regional Park itself is a family-friendly venue, many areas of which are wheelchair accessible, at which you can rent paddle boats, row boats, and canoes during warm weather (in October, only if it is at least 70º), fish, or play disc golf. Please note that dogs and other pets, alcohol and hunting are not allowed in the park. Learn about Blue Lake Regional Park and read more in their field guide (PDF).

The 2018 ORRC Blue Lake Runs will take place on October 12th.

The ORRC Blue Lake Runs

What: 5K (Walk and Run), Half Marathon (Run only), free ½ mile Kids Run.

Date: Saturday, October 12th, 2019

Time: 10 am for the Half Marathon, 10:10 for the 5K; 9:30 for the Kids’ Run.

Where: Blue Lake Park, Troutdale (Google map)

Online Registration runs through October 9, 2019
The 5K costs $35, Half Marathon $60; Kids’ Run is free (kids 10 and under).

If you’re an ORRC member, get a $10 discount when you register online. If you’re not an ORRC member, you can join during the registration process. Learn more about ORRC membership benefits.

Registration includes: Chip-timed race, Fitsok socks, finisher medal, post-race BBQ, a chance at winning overall and age group awards and raffle prizes.


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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