Typically in my training regimen, Sundays are long days, even paced runs that work on endurance and aerobic effort. When the opportunity was presented to enter the Beaverton Half, timed at the cusp of fall and perfectly placed to be my longest run since taking a few months off due to injury, I couldn’t turn it down. Knowing the geography of the Beaverton area and the Portland Running Company was a major part of the Run With Paula event, it was obvious this was to be no simple walk in the park.
Making this a quick little weekend away, my fiancee and I decided to stay the night prior to the event in Hillsboro, fifteen minutes away from the start. Otherwise, it would have been necessary to get up at 5:30 am. This allowed me to take advantage of the pre race packet pickup at the Beaverton location of the Portland Running Company, just a block away from the race start line. Checking in to pick up the shirt and bib was a breeze, and always a lot less stressful than doing it before a race.
With a typical start time of 8 am, I figured arriving about an hour prior would ensure that parking and pre race routines would be easier. It was a good call because the lines to park and use the porta potties got pretty long about 30 minutes before the gun went off. The vendors were set up adjacent to Portland Running Company and gave us something to look as as we walked around. Considering this was the longest run in a while and not to be raced, a short warm up was the plan, with a few strides at race pace to get ready before the start. The line was hard to miss, with a large colorful arch, matching canopies and upbeat music all morning. As expected, the crowd was on the large side for this event, especially since all three distances were starting at the same time.
In deference to the combined start and my target plan of opening with a seven minute mile before dropping into around the six fifty range, I got into place a few people back from the front line. This was still a little overzealous, as a small crowd seemed to flow around me in the first half mile or so. The enthusiasm dampened a bit as the beginning of the race was through an industrial area with a slight rise. About half a mile in was the turn off for the 5K, where two guys peeled off and about ten or twelve were still in front of me. We looped around to pass by the PRC store again, before getting on a main road to access the neighborhoods to the south. A veritable army of volunteers, assisted by plentiful cones and barricades with a few officers to help kept the course clear. The majority of the roads were completely closed off, allowing us to either enjoy the surroundings or focus on racing.
As per my character, the plan to run this easy fell apart in the first mile. I became too comfortable in the 6:20 range and barely kept myself in check as the course climbed the first of many, albeit mostly gentle, inclines. I enjoy hills, and usually attack them with gusto, which made the course right up my alley. Unfortunately, I knew treating my first run over ten miles in six months as a tempo hill workout would be a terrible idea. So I calmed down and let what would be the sixth place finisher stride away unchallenged. I did manage to run a consistent pace until the last two miles, but it made for a very quiet run, as the spacing between competitors was great in the top group. I did get overtaken by two runners in the last two miles, and ended up tenth overall.
The course itself was great. Mostly residential neighborhoods and a small section through industrial areas and parks, it was a relaxing way to really get to know Beaverton. In spite of the near constant drizzle, which I personally enjoyed, there were a few residents standing outside, cheering us on as we went by. It was refreshing to run on such a clearly marked course as well, with ample signage, volunteers and mile markers that seemed to agree with my gps watch. My only gripe was the out and back in the park that included a turnaround on a narrow path. I think with a minor course alteration that could have been avoided and made the run much smoother.
The finish was nice, a subtle downhill leading into the final stretch. I was lagging a little but finished comfortably but hungry. I collected the unique finishers medal and got a small snack before doing a short cool down to ease my aching calves. Then it was time to enjoy cookies, bananas, and subs from Jersey Mikes. The sustenance hit the spot as they announced the age group and overall winners while the music was playing in the background. The mood was high as people enjoyed the post race festivities, in spite of the damp weather.
Overall, the Beaverton Half Marathon was a good event. The courses are not of the ‘flat and fast’ variety, but they definitely have a character of their own, and I want to return in peak shape, especially against the speedsters this event seems to attract. They have the course support and logistics that make for a event to train for, the only downside being the turn around in the park.
Find the full results here
Beaverton Half Marathon Overall Winners
- Sam Chaney 27, 1:09:56
- Miguel Arce 39, 1:11:55
- Kyle Schenone 29, 1:13:44
- Ashley Fanning 30, 1:27:44
- DeeAnn Johnson 1:29:38
- Christa Meyer 38, 1:29:46
- Scott Tucker 57, 1:20:23
- Ian Berman 49, 1:21:41
- Hiromitsu Namba 50, 1:24:07
- Katharina Menzel 40, 1:35:03
- Nikki Rafie 57, 1:35:13
- Kristin Holmberg 41, 1:37:36