Last year, in 2012, I decided on a whim to give this half marathon a try. I had heard excellent comments from the 2011 event from runners, but didn't know what I was getting myself into. I normally don't race in the fall. For 2012, the race offered race-day packet pick-up, which was the only reason I signed up; if I had to make two trips from Eugene to Lebanon, I would not have participated.
Getting to the race was super simple, and parking was a breeze (I arrived about 90 minutes before the start time). Long sleeved technical shirts that were silver colored (very unique!) were distributed to all participants during the packet pick-up process. I was really impressed with the organization so far.
After putting on my bib, and getting my goodie bag back to the car, I hunkered in under a tree. Why a tree? Because it was just beginning to rain. And not just any rain, but pouring rain that was cold, wet, and miserable. Sigh. I hope this wasn't a sign of things
After about 45 minutes of standing in the rain with other racers, a lot of them in elaborate costumes, it was time to get to the
starting line. Again, very well organized with indications as to where to line up based on your pace. 3, 2, 1 -- and we're off!
The course started by winding near Cheadle Lake in Lebanon. The wind and rain gusting into the racers eyes, it was tricky to really admire the beauty surrounding us. We then were treated to a couple of miles winding through the quaint, quiet neighborhoods in Lebanon. Pretty soon, racers were on some beautiful country roads. Motorcycles were helping with traffic control and keeping all
the racers safe, which was nice.
The aid stations were packed with such energetic volunteers, many in costumes that were really awesome! I can only imagine how cold and wet they were - at least I was running and staying warm, but they were standing in one place and being pelted by the rain. Drenched, they still had amazing energy and kept their aid stations stocked.
After zooming past the final aid station, at about the 11 (or so) mile mark, it was down to the home stretch. I was so wet, it felt like my shoes were bricks - the water gushing out of them with every step. There it was, the finish line! After running about as fast as I could to get across the finish line, I was handed a very unique finisher medal (an acrylic magnet on a ribbon), and stopped for some awesome post-race food. Again, the energy of the volunteers assisting at the food stations was superb. I grabbed some food, ran to my car, got some dry clothes I had packed (thankfully!), and changed. Getting out of the parking lot was a tad tricky and time consuming, as racers still completing their final dash to the finish line were running on the road near all the exits. Overall, that was my only gripe -- just one! That is amazing for me!
I am so excited to participate in the event again this year. I might even dress up in a costume! I have never dressed up in a costume and ran before ... this might be my year! They offer a costume contest, too, so be super creative and you may possibly win some of the prizes they are offering!
Register now for this incredible race. Get into the fall and Halloween mood. Support a great cause in the process, the ABC House, helping stop child abuse. And join me at the races! I'll see you there!
-Jessica, Run Oregon Guest Blogger