Slightly before the 7 p.m. start time, runners congregated at the start line, which was located a short walk from the finish line. It was go-time. The runners took off as fast as we could to escape the oncoming "bulls" that would be chasing us through the paths of Alton Baker Park along the Willamette River.
The "bulls" were an incredible, talented, energetic group of roller derby gals and guys who charged, on their skates, after the runners. They were released to begin their charge about 10 minutes after the runners left the start-line. Slightly before the 2 mile mark, I heard the swish of the skates behind me. The "bulls" had caught me! Before I could look back, I felt a tap on my booty and the derby skaters continued on. I had been gored. Right in front of the Valley River Inn restaurant where people were enjoying their dinner, watching the spectacle unfolding on the path inches from their tables. Then came another round of goring - and another. About 15 derby skaters had gored me during the 4 mile course.
Prior to crossing a pedestrian bridge over the Willamette River, a very energetic team manned a water station. This was a welcome treat.
After crossing the bridge, the path we were running on became quite congested. This was no fault of the race organizers, but with it being such a beautiful Eugene evening, the whole town seemed to be in the park. This did cause a lot of jostling for position, dodging bicycles, dogs, children, and strollers, and causing the onset of fatigue to occur quicker than usual.
It was a glorious surprise to be crossing the Peter DeFazio foot bridge and see the finish line banner waving in the distance. As I neared the finish line, I heard my name called out by the excellent, professional staff at Eclectic Edge Racing- and they even pronounced my last name correctly, too! That is always a pleasant treat!
Upon crossing the finish line, runners (and bulls!) were treated to the Track Town Pizza I was so eager to try (it was good!), bananas, electrolytes and water. We also had the opportunity to go to the Eclectic Edge Racing timing table and have our individual results printed out to take home which was awesome. When I saw my custom results, I was tickled to see I had placed 1st in my age group (30-34). More bling! Yes! After the (approximately) 40 finishers crossed the line, it was time for the awards ceremony. Overall male and female winners received a medal, as did the top three finishers in each age group.
At the awards ceremony, we found out one of the "bulls" had traveled down from the Salem area just for this event! How awesome is that! The "bulls" also were gracious in allowing runners the opportunity for a photo-op with them - too cool!
Hopefully the Eugene Running of the Bulls will become a yearly race in the Pink Buffalo Racing series. It is family friendly, fun, entertaining, and completely unique. I had a blast and shall return!
Jessica, Run Oregon Guest Blogger