As if on cue, the Oregon weather turned from summer to fall on a dime right in time for the Oregon Fall Half Marathon/Quarter Marathon/5K at St. Josef’s Winery. The several hundred runners who showed up in Canby on the morning of September 7, 2019, were greeted with cool weather and overcast skies. Having registered for the 5K, which had a start time of 8:45 a.m., I arrived a little before 8:30 a.m., which was pretty opportune because I was able to drive past the beginning of the race route before the quarter marathoners got started.
I got to the start of the race and then from out of nowhere (or so it seemed), a voice called out, “Tung, I’m racing you today!” It was Alan Rasmussen, normally the co-race director and chief timer. He was indeed dressed for running, including a race bib.
“Who’s manning the booth?” I asked.
“Jerry is,” he replied. That would be Jerry Mullins, spouse of co-blogger Julie.
Ah, well, I thought, that was six on one hand, half dozen on the other in terms of guys who would finish ahead of me.
Announcer Dave counted down the seconds to start time and then unleashed us in one long wave. A group of youngsters (i.e., anyone under 40) took off in the lead, and then there was me (definitely not under 40).
That first right turn on to the unmarked road (SW Barlow) led to a lengthy dip and then rise. It wasn’t so bad heading out, but it was waiting for the return as well…. At least the route was very safe, with plenty of orange cones blocking off the east side for runners, and traffic control turning the west side into an alternating one-way road for cars.
We reached SW Zimmerman at the 1/2 mile mark. From there, it was a straight segment a little over a mile for the 5K turnaround. (Of course, the quarter and half marathoners had gone past that turnaround.) That part of Canby consists of farms, and there were workers in one of the fields picking crops. Farms don’t normally come to mind when one thinks of Portland (more like coffee, beer, bicycles, rain, and food carts), but a lot of the area outside the PDX metro region does kind of remind me of my time in Iowa.
I spent most of the race alone — Alan Rasmussen finished about 2 1/2 minutes ahead of me (or about a third of a mile), and I finished about a minute ahead of the woman behind me. For this event, the 5K was the overlooked distance, with about a dozen more opting for the quarter marathon and more than twice as many choosing the half marathon. The downside of running in the least popular event is that you can end up running more or less by yourself, and hence missing out on that extra little bit of competitive adrenaline.
After crossing the finish line and getting water and a finisher’s medal, I headed over to the awards area. I had volunteered to help with handing out age group winner pins, and so I spent the next 90 minutes or so checking results on my phone (when I was able to get a good enough cellular connection) or on the periodically updated print outs from the timing station, or just relying on people who checked on their own phones. It was a pretty nice seeing how happy so many runners were with their age group placements. I also helped race director Darwin Rasmussen hand out the overall/Master/Senior winner award medals, and managed to sneak away long enough to grab the post-race food, which was catered by Jimmy John’s.
In the end, I managed to score the top male Master’s medal for the 5K, even though it was far from my best race time. But with the weather being so mild and perfect, and the fun time that runners seemed to be having, I had a great time (as I usually do at Uberthons events).
For full results of the half marathon, quarter marathon, and 5K, click here.
For a selection of photos (mostly of award winners), click here.