- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
I registered for this race at the last minute to join a friend. I snagged one of the last half marathon spots!
I drove in from Portland on the morning of the race. Street parking was plentiful and easy to find, and I snagged a space about two blocks from the starting point. It took maybe 5 minutes to get my number and shirt, and I walked the shirt back to my car. The tech shirts have the race logo on them and are a soft material. I find the women's cut very flattering.
The race itself offers a 30-minute early start for those walking the half marathon. This is a nice touch, as then those who choose to walk don't end up finishing hours behind the runners. I chose to start with the walkers, and a group of about 20 started with me.
The course is an out-and-back "loop," which I learned has been adjusted from past race years due to local construction (and is also the reason why the 2019 course was not USATF certified). Essentially the course starts from the Buou brewery and heads (west?) along a few streets, the river walk (wooden boardwalk), and then park path, over to a small park before the bridge. The course turned around at the park, returning to the streets a block in front of Buoy, and then down the park walk (wooden boardwalk) in the other direction. At the end of the boardwalk, the course continued past the maritime museum, through a small park, past the piers with sea lions barking and sunning themselves, through a residential area, over some raised-wooden train bridges (with appropriate pedestrian lanes--this wasn't dangerous at all), and through some other parks. It then looped back at a turnaround and traced the same path back to Buoy. The course was largely flat, though there was one small hill in one of the parks, and one bigger hill at the very end of the course, before returning back to the start.
The aid stations were fantastic. Really all of the volunteers were. Every intersection where you could potentially make a wrong turn had a volunteer to direct you where to go. Every crossing of a road had a volunteer to stop traffic for runners. Each aid station had water, electrolytes, and some type of snack (raisins, for example).
The finish chute was well-staffed and runners were announced as they crossed. The medals for this race are pressed glass, which is unusual (I don't own any other race medal like this) and pretty. At the end of the race there is free food and beer for the runners, with the option to pre-purchase tickets for non-runners. There was no beer alternative (Buoy doesn't make cider or kombucha), and the line for the food (a good-looking seafood boil, including potatoes and half corn on the cobs) was long, so I opted for brunch at another local watering hole. The post-race party was a decent size, not overwhelming, and looked to be a good time.
Overall, I enjoyed the race and would do it again. I wasn't a huge fan of running over the wooden bridges--even though trains go over them so I am certain they are safe--because seeing the water between the slats was not for me, so I'd probably opt for the 10k next time.