The Zena Road Runs (15k, 6m, and 3m) are back again (50+ years!) for their annual running in Salem on Sunday, February 20, 2022. This running staple in the Willamette Valley is in inexpensive rural race, complete with local feel and hills aplenty.
The 2020 event will follow primarily the same blueprint as in its recent pre-COVID years past. All race distances start and finish at the Noble Mountain Tree Farm in rural West Salem. Through a special arrangement provided by the farm, runners (the event is maxxed at 400) will use their heated building for both pre-race and post-race activities.
The 3 miler and 6 miler are both out-and-backs that start at the farm. Runners will head north initially along Bethel Heights Road (the 6-miler takes a little jaunt south at the beginning before doubling back for the out-and-back). While these courses are simple, They do feature some gain, even in their shortened distances (350 feet for the 3 and almost 600 for the 6).
The 15k is the crown jewel event and really gives an amazing overview of the countryside. Runners will complete a hilly counter-clockwise loop, beginning with a descent over the first ~4 miles, followed by some rolling hills, and then slowly climbing back up. Keep some energy for mile 7.8, as that hill can be a killer! The 15k will also pass at least 5 wineries along the way and provides some really fun views (should the weather allow for it).
Even though this race is rural, the few locals along this stretch of road who have witnessed this race for 50+ years bring out signs and cheer for runners. Check out out own Erik Taylor’s 15k recap from the 2020 event or my recap from the 2018 event to know what you are in for.
After the race stick around for some fun:
- Enjoy a complimentary 5-ounce pour from a selection of Eola-Amity wineries or Sparkling Cider
- Post-event race rolls from Salem’s Cascade Baking Company.
- Fresh fruit from Roth’s Fresh Markets.
- Free snacks from Betty Lou’s.
Participants will receive a stemless race-logo wine glass with entry and race shirts come with an additional fee. This is an amazing event and due to its limited size this year (400), you should register ASAP!
Zena Road Runs 15k, 6-Miler and 3-Miler (Salem)
Where: Noble Mountain Tree Farm (5115 Bethel Heights Road NW – Salem, OR 97304)
Register: Online registration ; $25 through 1/22/22 (shirts are an additional $30)