I love Oregon Brewery Running Series events. I have been to a handful over the years and it’s always a pleasant surprised just how fun, entertaining, and well-put together an untimed 5k can be. However, as a Salem-based runner with three kids under 10, it can be a little tough to head up north and leave my wife home alone to do the wrangling. In fact, in looking back at last year’s race schedule, OBS’ event this past weekend at Level Beer was my first in almost exactly 11 months. Sad!
These events are great because even though they take place at breweries, they are very family-friendly and laid back. Over the years I have ran with each one of my kids individually at one event or another. For the most part they love attending and getting fun “swag” – and maybe less so jazzed about the running portion. Thinking back, I have ran at Portland Brewing, Hopworks Vancouver, Laurelwood, and Von Ebert with them – a nice cross section of fun. This past weekend I was home alone with two of the kids (and there wasn’t any family available to drop them off with), so in order to make it work a compromise was made – the middle child was trading in running shoes for a bike and we pulled the stroller out of storage.
Level was a great spot to kick off the season. Given that it’s off the beaten path a little, parking in their personal was quite simple – something that isn’t always the case for those more centralized breweries. They also have a very roomy space in a covered outdoor area, making crowding less of an issue before and after. And given that this was one of the most well-attended OBS events ever (over 200!), all the extra space was very much welcome.
The rain died down a little, but not a ton, as we took to the streets. Looking at the race map, we made the conscious decision to delay our start time for about a minute or so before joining the rest of the runners. I knew that Airport Way, while nicely lined with sidewalk, would get a little cramped and make maneuvering difficult once we found our groove. Even with this delay, we ended up utilizing the bicycle lane off and on to avoid some congestion.
The turnaround on 152nd place really was perfect for us as I had my biking daughter wait for us while I picked up the pace on this short out-and-back and was able to leave the heart of the pack.
It was all pretty smooth sailing for the rest of the time. While I am sure all this industrial area is packed during the week, when we weren’t on Airport Way, there was essentially no cars or people out and about (the weather probably helped as well). Overall, it was a perfect course for a wet and rainy morning.
After the race, I relaxed with an IPA as we listened to live music, grabbed an OBS tee-shirt, and grabbed a new sweatshirt for my biking daughter for being a trooper. All-in-all, the series started off with a large amount of swag, smiles, and a mid-February accomplishment. Seriously, another job well done OBS.