The 5K and 10K courses are flat trails through a natural setting and along the Willamette River. Starting time for 10K is 7:00 P.M. and the 5K at 7:10 P.M.
This is another well-organized event with great turnout that is hopefully helping to put Salem on the map as a great town for running. The registration fee is VERY low ($12 before race day!) and you get accurate timing and a smoothly executed event. It takes place in Minto Brown park, which is a very beautiful park with paved trails and well-groomed bark sections that are a springy pleasure to run along. There’s plenty of parking at the start. I was initially worried at the small amount of porta-potties at the start, but the wait was short so it doesn’t seem to be a problem. The route is pretty flat, with a few small, easy rollers along the riverside part of the path, so it’s great if you feel the need for speed. The 10k has a short section of dirt/gravel road that I didn’t find too difficult to navigate; I’ve heard that the 5k is all on paved trails. Bib pickup was stress-free (no shirts, which is fine because it keeps the cost low, and the $$ goes to a school track club) Starting can be crowded, the trails are sorta narrow so there’s a bit of dive ‘n’ dodge for the first mile before things spread out. The 10k draws the more competitive folks, but the 5k has a more diverse selection of speedsters to walkers, and would be great for a first-time 5k. There were a number of strollers in the 5k, too, so it’s inclusive for families out enjoying the start of summer. They have a sundae bar at the end that is included in the race entry and a few bucks extra for your non-running guests. My only gripe outside of the starting mile dodge ‘n’ dive was that it was a bit of a hunt to find water at the end of the 10k; I was in the back of the group so I had to muscle my way through the happy post-run icecream snackers to get to the water. That having been said, I always look forward to this run — it’s great way to end a work day, and welcome in my favorite season in a super nice runner-friendly gem of a park.
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