While always an inclusive event, the formally known Hippie Chick Half has been a race I had hoped to do one day. As most runners know, Run with Paula Events puts on great races with a great atmosphere and I had hoped to one day partake. So when the 2022 event re-branded to the Hippie Half, I took it as a sign that this was the year to check it out.
The race starts and finishes at Hillsboro Stadium, home to the minor-league baseball team Hillsboro Hops. This is an absolute perfect venue for a race that usually sees thousands of runners in attendance. There is ample parking, a ton of space to spread out, and provides a full on professional event atmosphere.
When I think of running in Hillsboro, I generally think of more industrial or suburban routes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was nice that after just a couple miles of those settings, it was great to hit farmland, small bridge crossings, and a rural feel that seems impossible considering the population hub is just a few miles away.
The course was “F “shaped with the beginning being a relatively long straightaway, followed by two out-and-backs at mile 4 and again at mile 8. There were plenty of aid stations along the way, and port-a-potties as well.
I have come to enjoy courses with these stylings, as they give an opportunity to be reminded about the camaraderie of running. In a looped course, you can often times be stuck running with the same group of runners, or even potentially by yourself, without seeing anybody else.
In this race, it was great to see hundreds of runners and walkers smiling, giving high-fives, and cheering each other on as you passed by a handful of times. It was definitely a unique and rewarding experience, and really showcased how much of a “team” sport running can be.
I do want to highlight the volunteers. From the police and aid station supporters, to local cheerleaders and post-race beer pourers, everyone was really top-notch. It was not the warmest day around, and the wind made it even more chilly, but everyone helping was in fantastic spirits. That energy was definitely the same for runners as well and the Hippie Half was a winner.