Parking was super easy, and same day packet pick-up was excellent, with short lines and friendly volunteers. The swag bag consisted of a plastic Sports Authority bag, with your race shirt (unisex/men's sizing, no women's cut shirts) and a handful of advertisements for Energy Events races, and from a small number of other partners. A massage tent was available for post-race massages, as were a couple of tents for vendors to set-up both prior to, and after, the race. Most importantly – there were amble pre-race port-a-potties.
The start line was well managed, with three pace groups being informally sectioned off; one for the "super-fast" runners, who started one minute prior to the next group, the "me!" speed runners (8:00 minute per mile to ~10:00 minute per mile, and one minute behind us was a section for walkers and slower racers. I appreciate when a race attempts to do a corral system based on speed. All race distances started together, which did make it psychologically interesting, not knowing if you were pacing with a 5 miler, or a half marathoner.
For the first ~4 miles, we started out through the interior roads of Champoeg State Park, and then onto the paved trails. This portion of the course was excellent. After crossing a lovely wooden-style bridge, the racers in the 5 mile race made their turn around for the finish line, with us half marathoners continued on the paved paths. Soon, we exited onto the shoulder of some main roads, running past the Butte Ville store, and further out onto farm roads. This is when the wind really picked up. It was tricky running against the wind; a lot more difficult that it sounds! At the turn-around point, the wind was ridiculous, but it reminded me of a scene out of the movie, "Twister". The route back to the finish line included more excellent views of the farm land, paved paths through Champoeg State Park, and the sprint to the finish line was on the grass.
At the finish line, volunteers handed half marathon finishers an excellent finisher medal. Very impressive ribbon and bulk to the medal – I was very pleased. When I crossed the finish line, I looked at my Garmin and noticed that I had set a new PR on this course, too! The finish line food was good; Ninkasi beer and BBQ'd hot dogs, as well as more traditional finish line munchies like bananas, chips/crackers, and trail mix.
Getting out of the parking area was a bit of a challenge, due to the nature of the set-up. There were lines of cars trying to maneuver past runners just finishing their race, and eagerly looking for post-race nourishment and beer. Not a fault of race organizers, as it was the only place to park, but everyone just had to be super patient.
Overall, an excellent race, with great aid stations and super bling (medals). The only suggestion I hope Energy Events hears is that women would sincerely appreciate a woman's cut/sized race shirt in the future. Next year's race is scheduled to take place on September 21, 2014, so definitely consider adding this race to your 2014 calendar!
Find the complete list of results here.
-Jessica, Run Oregon Guest Blogger