Spring may be taking its time this year, gradually introducing a new color scheme and congenial shades of warmth to the gray tones of winter, but the running season is underway in Oregon - come rain, shine, sleet, hail, or snow! Long before the dependable summer season arrives there are many opportunities for you to challenge yourself to run faster, farther, or just for fun, and running in the wacky-weathered spring-time may just help you earn your credential as a bona fide runner. Here are a few upcoming races to consider:
Run to support Albertina Kerr, a local non-profit mental health support agency, and join 5,000 runners and walkers who strive to improve their health while also giving back to the community. Each race starts in NE Portland, near the Oregon Convention Center, and before it’s all over you’ll run over the Broadway and Steel bridges, into downtown, and along the waterfront before finishing back at the Convention Center.
This out-and-back course takes you along the Banks-Vernonia state trail, starting and finishing at Vernonia's Anderson Park. Vernonia is located about an hour's drive northwest of Portland and spring-time temperatures may drop into the mid-30s with a good chance of rainy conditions. This is a flat course with some rolling hills and provides stellar views of rivers, creeks, and woodland areas.
This event presents an opportunity for the whole family to participate in a running event, starting with the 5k and Duck Dash races on Saturday, followed by the Marathon and Half-Marathon on Sunday. All races start and finish on or near the University of Oregon campus, with historic Hayward Field a main course component. Marathon and Half-Marathon finishers receive a free 15-minute massage after the race, and during this weekend the University of Oregon is set to host an array of sports-related activities for its Spring Fan Festival, which includes a Saturday, April 28th football game.
Starting and finishing in downtown Portland, this half-marathon course takes you through Portland neighborhoods, over two bridges, and leads you downhill as you near Waterfront park at the finish line on the corner of Naito and Salmon. Some participant perks include live local bands along the course, pace leading, and free admission to the Finish Line Festival and Post Race Concert.
If you’re looking for a challenging race, the 15k course of the East Oregonian River Run follows the Umatilla River for a while and then takes you up, up the Highway 37 hill. Finish on a fast downhill as you take in the sight of the Blue Mountains on your way back to the river. Other race distances include a 1-mile and 5k, and this race is a relative bargain - $15 entrance fee until April 30th, $20 until June 15th, and $25 race-day.
In addition to your racing plans, it may be a good idea to visit your local running store or visit with a health and fitness professional who knows a thing or two about injury-prevention strategies. Attend a Good Form running clinic, based out of Fit Right NW running stores in Portland, and you’ll receive step-by-step instruction on how to improve your running form, based on video analysis of your gait. Check out Team Oregon, also based out of Portland, which provides coaching and training for new runners seeking to prevent injuries as well as for runners with a history of running-related injuries. With the right education, appropriate attire, and a good dose of sheer determination, you’re ready to run through the spring season and beyond – have fun!