2017 Napa to Sonoma Half
  • Jen reviewed 9 months ago

I was really looking forward to this race. I got in via the second chance lottery because it was so popular and sold out before I could register on the first day. I flew in from Colorado and thought this would be a nice way to experience wine country.

Unfortunately, the race expo the day before was small and very few vendors. On the morning of the race, the drop off zone was a mess. It was not clear where the drop off point was, therefore cars started dropping runners wherever they wanted and clogged traffic because the runners then walked in the lane of the car exit to get to the start line. The start was delayed 10 minutes “due to congestion on the roads”. What we found out from other participants was that there were delays due to a shortage of buses shuttling people from Sonoma over to the start line.

With “butt burner hill” right after the start, it is imperative to release participants in waves. Instead, the entire hill was clogged by walkers who lined up in the 2:00 expected finish group and it was impossible to break from the pack until several miles into the course. At the water stations, I found myself taking 3 cups each time because the 5 oz cups that were poured were only one third full at best. Then, around mile 10 and again around 11, the police stopped the runners at two different intersections for about 90 seconds each to allow traffic to cross. People were getting frustrated. Ridiculous. If they are going to charge $175, I think the shirt should be a technical tee. I will not be participating again.

Scenic, challenging course
  • Veronica reviewed 1 year ago

I just completed the marathon distance and wanted to leave a review before I forget the details. To my knowledge, the course for the marathon was different this year, so it is perhaps even more important to leave a note. First, thank you to the organizers and volunteers (including pacers!) for a well-run event! Second, Bend is a fantastic town to run in and the marathon course easily showcases this. Third, the marathon and entire race (plus other distances) have a small intimate race feel, which I personally like.

Packet pick up was a breeze at the Foot Zone downtown. I was surprised at the lack of marathon merchandise outside of the included shirt (gender specific, although a bit clunky with huge screen print on the chest). I wish there were at least running caps or even more substantial running shirts that could be purchased. I noticed that the 2016 race had some and this was one of the things that attracted me to the race. The race still uses plastic cups and bottles, which really should be done away with. Apart from this, the aid stations were fantastic. No gels, however, so if you eat those, bring your own. There is no police involved with the race, which made for problematic traffic situations, especially at the many roundabouts throughout Bend. Sadly, it seemed that the communities along the course were not alerted of this race happening and there was a ton of traffic and aggravated drivers on the road. As a runner, this made me feel unsafe. Not to mention that we, the runners, had to wait out traffic on a few occasions (obviously affecting time, but also, at mile 20 the last thing I want to do is hang out at a traffic stop for the simple reason that I may not start up again ?!)

The course was surprisingly difficult. I knew that it is challenging, but it felt even more so yesterday. My watch showed just under 1,300 ft of elevation gain. While on a trail running course I wouldn’t bat an eye at this number, on the road, it felt much different. I was toast at the end. Also, the course was about 1/3 mile too long, causing even the pacers to fall out of time. I am not sure that the marathon needed the extra (to the half marathon course) loop around the high school at mile 22.

The finishers line was amazing! Compact, friendly, loud, and chock full of drinks and food. Also, beer. Beer is the best, so don’t let Deschutes Brewery go. ?

Great cause. Great race
  • Brock M. reviewed 1 year ago

Perfectly organized. Some of the great things about the race is there are very generous donors that offer great prizes to win and there have been tons of (actually really nice) goodies that came with the registration on race day. The course is new asphalt trail. Lots of families racing.

The best 5k ever!
  • Jay Ricker reviewed 1 year ago

This 5k is the best! I took my young children and they had a blast! The staff and volunteers are extremely friendly and they go the extra mile to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated. We will definitely be signing up for this race every year from here on out!

Well-organized, fun race with a great course!
  • NW Runner reviewed 1 year ago

I ran the 10K in 2016 and 2017. I was so impressed with the 2016 race I convinced 5 others to join me in 2017. The course takes you through historic Fort Vancouver, along the Columbia River, and through a slightly industrial part (though it is actually really nice) of Vancouver. This year there were about 950 people, most of whom were 5K-ers & walkers. I never felt crowded, but I was never alone. The swag you get for this race is absolutely incredible for the price. I love that this is a fundraiser, all the money goes towards providing utilities for the needy. I will definitely return in 2018. I love the immediate race results too.

So well run and helpful to boot!
  • Jonathan hawes reviewed 1 year ago
  • last edited 1 year ago

This race started years ago as an idea to help those in need is Sherwood. While still the case, this race now boasts 2000+ Runners and walkers… each year the organization has been improving. DJs pumping up the crowd, raffles, free coffee and snacks, fun turkey headwear… this event is a Sherwood (and more) party!

Walkers head out early on their own course… then the 5 and 10k’s head out loosely segmented by time. Courses split after ~2.5k…. the 10k heads off on a great rolling backroad… beautiful! The 5k heads back on awesome wooded trails… neither is hard core hilly…. but you will work if you want it.

Running this race makes you feel part of a community with so many families around…. and with chip timing (and INSTANT results in email)… a great race for the avid runner too. ’16 was the worst weather EVER! But it didn’t matter… what a blast!

A fun P.M. running party in a gorgeous setting!

Signing up for this race was an experiment that turned out better than I had anticipated. I was super curious to see if racing in the evening as opposed to the a.m. would have a deleterious effect on performance, so I signed up to find out. And to be completely honest, I signed up because all of the race swag would have owls on it. I love owls. An owl medal? OHMYLORD yes. Gimme one of those! Pre-race instructions were clear and plentiful, and I had originally signed up for the 1/2 marathon but was able to switch to the 10k with ease. Traffic on I-5 getting to Vancouver was as expected — terrible — so if you sign up plan on getting to the race as early as you can. Even if you get there ridiculously early, Vancouver Lake park is just a beautiful place to relax and wait. Parking was easy and well-managed. Race day packet pickup was quick, with one quibble — if you went to the picnic table on the left, you got to pick from this year’s or last year’s shirts, and if you went to the table on the right, you got the current year’s (and a little bit of attitude if you asked for last year’s.) I like to have the dates and places on shirts, and none of the shirts did. At least my tank top has an owl on it, that helps ease the pain. And the owl glows in the dark, which is super nifty. Pre-race instructions were clear and delivered frequently. The supercool Last Rites drum corp was there to get people motivated and ready to run. There was an option for an early start for the half marathoners, which, as a turtle, I always appreciate. The running path was well marked, and the park is absolutely beautiful. There were almost no elevation changes save for one short uphill sprint at mile threeish, and the path was decently maintained. There were plenty of aid stations on the 10 and 5k routes, I suspect that the Half was also well-equipped. Volunteers were cheerful and helpful. The park path was narrow, and after the 10k turnaround it became a bit of a parking lot in spots, with 5k walkers (and 10k walkers who thought the early Half start was also for them) three to five abreast across the path. I felt bad for the speedsters, as they had a lot of zig zagging added to their workout. Names were announced crossing the finish line (Huber Timing always does a great job) and the medals are adorable. Also no date or location on them — another small quibble. After the race things got a little confusing, as you had to go get a cup of water from a small table that was mobbed. I had water in my closely parked car so I skipped standing in line for water and instead got in the superlong burrito and beer line. I guess they ran out of beer early, but I waited patiently and chatted with other runners as the line moved slowly forward. There was a live band playing, and the location was perfect for stretching out on the grass and enjoying a cool Saturday evening. I will do this race again, but will bring friends and plan on running a shorter distance, as I’ve discovered that evening running is not going to produce any PRs for me personally.

Pick Your Poison ROCKS!
  • Eric reviewed 2 years ago
  • last edited 2 years ago

Go Beyond Racing puts on a variety of races of different distances in Oregon. I’ve participated in too many to get online and rate them all, and they are all top notch. However, PYP is special. You get to camp in a park that is traditionally limited to day use. You get to choose your surface type, your distance, and how many people you want on a team. The trails are beautiful single track, and there is probably only about 5% road if you choose to run the trail option. It’s a beautiful area, and beautiful time of year to be outside racing in Oregon. Did I mention beer, movies, chocolate fountains, an incredible volunteer staff, and well stocked aid stations? If you are coming from out of state and thinking about a destination race, or if you are a local just looking for a great community race, THIS IS IT! I don’t have any photos to share, but I know there is a Facebook site specifically for this race (as well as most if not all the Go Beyond Racing events).

Fun family race, and plenty of chocolate for everyone

I was very excited to try out this race, as I’d heard that Uberthons puts on a really nice event, and also because this particular race combined two of my favorite-est things ever, running and chocolate! It was held in Cook Park, which was surprising easy to find. Parking was plentiful and a short walk to the start line. The park was lovely, and the event had been set up next to a spiffy child’s play area, which was already seeing heavy use at 8 a.m. I didn’t see any Porta-Potties, but the park had clean flush toilets, so that wasn’t an issue. I had planned on running the 10k, but a health issue forced me to switch to the 5k on race day. When I inquired about switching, the person whom handed me my bib responded with a firm “you can’t.” I took my bib, made sure the medals were uniform so I wouldn’t be handed one for a distance I didn’t do, and then carefully peeled off the timing chip, as I knew that I wanted to enjoy the day, get a short run in, and not worry about messing up scoring systems. I then noticed that the bibs were colored differently for the 5, 10, and 1k runs, so I approached a friendly Ubertons Ambassador and explained to her what I was doing, and how I didn’t want to make it look like I was a fast 10k runner. She was SO WONDERFUL and immediately sprang into action. She took me to the timing person, who met the request to switch me to the 5k with some frost — I get it. It’s a pain to switch events the day of, and I profusely apologized. But things happen, sometimes the day of a race even. I have done a ton of events all over the country, and most of them have had a system in place (and many charge a fee to recoup part of the hassle.) The Ambassador Angel really saved my day, as I was feeling like I should have not run at all, and she went out of her way to make sure I enjoyed the event. And it was enjoyable — the path through the park was lovely, and people were really having fun. A word of caution to the speedsters — if you plan to run this, get to the front of the line. The paths are narrow, there were a lot of kids running with their parents, and there were lots of newbies. All of these are enjoyable if you’re not out to get a decent time, but can be a serious hazard if you’re flying and a wee one stops right in front of you. I had to weave in and out so much that I eventually gave up a time goal and focused on not squashing folks. The gentleman they had announcing the event was really fun, and combined with booming music, made the finish line experience a real treat. Luckily, the event was set up in a shaded area, as the day was already getting steamy. The finisher’s medal was large and cute, and doubled as a belt buckle — neato! They were handing out big, heavy Hershey’s Kisses necklaces to all the ladies as an extra treat. The chocolate buffet was seriously no joke — two chocolate fountains with treats for dipping, chocolate chip pancakes, and a glorious assortment of cheesecakes. GLORIOUS! Despite the switching snafu, it was a really well done event, and that aforementioned Ambassador ran into me after the run and gave me YET ANOTHER necklace to celebrate my first time as an Ubertoner. I will most definitely try some of their other events. However, I probably won’t do the Chocolatathon next year — it was heavy on the “mother’s day” emphasis, and as I’m not a mom I felt kind of out of place. If they could have a separate chocolate-themed run I’d be all over that!

Great race!!
  • Allison reviewed 2 years ago
  • last edited 2 years ago

What a well-organized race for a first time race director! The morning was seamless: from packet pickup, to a cluster-free start line, to the multitude of refreshments on the course, to the wide open finish. Not a PR course because of the hill at the beginning, but a fun time for all nonetheless!

I’ve included a link to my blog and personal race report if that’s helpful: :)

Most beautiful course!

I ran the 2016 BMO Half, and can’t say enough wonderful things about the course. It’s got a little bit of everything for everyone, and is a fast and comfortable run for competitors. The halfers started in a park situated above the city, where there were tons of volunteers managing the fast and easy gear check, handing out water, manning a fully operational medical tent, and organizing the very “green” trash/recycle centers. The weather was comfortable and cool, and the corrals were organized and FULL. Us turtles had plenty of running company! The race started with the gift of warming up your legs on a gentle downhill that led you from Queen Elizabeth Park, through the still-sleeping hip suburban streets, across a big bridge, and into the heart of the city. The views were amazing. There was a journey through the different city districts, and then you were out towards the waterfront after a GORGEOUS stretch through Stanley Park — part of which included a path that gave you a complete view of the very beautiful city. All along the route there were cheerful volunteers, and enough musicians to show PDX a thing or two about on-course entertainment (and one unexpected entertainer who went to Stanley to do some opera vocal exercises and ended up serenading a crowd of runners.) The day was predicted to be hot, so people were hitting the water stations pretty hard — the first one had trouble keeping up with filling cups, but they sure were trying. One of the later stations had Clif gel, and each station had a palatable variety of Ultima. The finish line was lined on either side by screaming crowds — I felt sorry for the marathon leaders, as they got crunched in with a herd of 8k and half runners, but there was an attempt by the organizers to make sure people got out of the way. The post-race area was a little bit of a hot mess (and it was getting hotter by the minute) as there was no established reunion area, despite having one marked on the map that was posted. I had to wait around 40 minutes for my family to find my sore old body, slowly roasting in the sun, because Canada rendered our cellphones useless and we were planning on meeting in the marked reunion spot which turned out to not exist. One other quibble — the race organizers made a great big deal out of using public transportation, offered dire warnings about getting to the start and the finish, and promised a free race day transit pass and helpful transit employees. The pass turned out to be a one-way pass, and the transit reps were unable to answer questions about the best routes or which stations would be shut down. In the end, I was able to get dropped off a the start line by choosing to get there an hour early, and my family was able to park in a parking garage which was RIDICULOUSLY close to the finish, and had plenty of empty spots by the time the marathoners started coming in.

BMO Vancouver Marathon Review
  • Richard Brittin reviewed 2 years ago
  • last edited 2 years ago

This was my second marathon. Very well organized event. Didn’t plan to, but latched on to the 3:15 pace bunny, who was awesome. Full disclosure: I was a few minutes behind him at the finish! Wonderful volunteers who were really appreciated on a hot day handing out water and UL sports drink at the plentiful aid stations. Gear check was fantastic. Picked up stuff right near the finish. I’m not a veteran of marathoning, but I hope they all are run this well. Course has about 300 m of gain/descent based on my Garmin GPS watch.

Awesome Race!

Eugene half/full continues to be one of my favorites! It is always pretty competitive and appears to be very well run. I ran the full a few years ago and had a great experience, so I was not surprised that the half was just as great. My one comment/suggestion is for the race to have more water at the finish line. I know the race strives to be as green as possible, so no need to have plastic bottles, but some cups with water would have been great.

Excellent course, excellent challenge, just excellent

This is a race to behold. Words and images won’t do it justice, you just have to experience it for yourself. Breathtaking views of the Central Oregon high desert, ample variety of terrain — paved and trail — and winding courses past rivers, lakes, through parks and forests… I can’t recommend it enough.

It was well supported, with 11 aid stations along the way, and signs, markings, and volunteers at nearly every single turn and shift in the course. Very well organized. I will be back.

I blogged about my experience and hope it helps encourage you to sign up!

Nearly lost...

The busy start was well organized and the course was lovely! Unfortunately the 8k course was not as clearly marked after the split with the 10k group. Great atmosphere for a fun race experience, especially with the live music along the course. Would love to see some improvements with course markings to make it a faster race in the future.

Crowd support is second to none

This is a great half marathon that I have done every year since the inaugural year, and plan to do so until my joints are replaced with titanium (and then maybe I’ll get out the walker and still give it a try.) It is very well-organized, starts on time, and has the essentials at the start — easy parking and porta-potties! This year they moved packet pickup into a health and fitness expo that was one of the better expos I’ve seen — great selection of new and interesting vendors. There was less pre-race communication this year than there has been in the past, but the website is easy to navigate and has the essentials. This race is getting bigger every year, so there should be plenty of people in your pace group to keep you company. The course is well-marked, has one moderately long climb and plenty of downhill, and as I stated in the title, is absolutely lined with happy, cheering people (and a rocking ska band!) from start to finish. This year the crowds came in very handy, as it was toasty at the start and downright hot later on, and there were people setting out lawn sprinklers for those of us who were overheating. There was support every two-ish miles, with water and Ultima (I really liked the mix this year!) They had to move the finish line off the football field at Reser stadium, but when the construction work on the stadium is done, it will be back to the thrill of running down a finishing chute and onto the astroturf. The medal was a well-designed reward at the end of a hot run, and there looked to be a pretty good after party going, with brews on tap, and cider for a few $$, as well as a nice table full of post-race staples (and some tasty soup and bread that they have had every year.) It was crowded, though, and I was ready to find some shade and die quietly with my medal gripped tightly into my fist. This was a the first year I overheated, which is why I’m taking off 1/2 a star — I am sure there’s some logistical reason as to why the race starts later, but it gets hotter every year, and I really hope they reconsider and move it back by at least an hour. The convenience of getting to a later start has been replaced by fear of getting heat stroke.

Lots of brews, but short on blooms

I wanted to really love this race, and was excited to see the fields of tulips in bloom and earn my big, funky Solo Cup-style medal on a flat and scenic course, but I fell out of “love” and into “like” with this race pretty quickly. The registration charge was already on the higher end for a small race, and then I got a $20 extra charge to pick up my packet on race day, in order steer people towards early packet pickup and boost attendance for vendors at the expo they organized beforehand. The pictures of the expo posted to social media revealed that I paid extra to skip attending a kinda small expo that featured vendors I’d seen at other races. I “get” that they were trying to help sponsors, but if you’re going to “financially encourage” people to go to the expo, you’d better make that sucker the fandango of a lifetime for attendees, or at least cut out-of-towners some slack. Then, the shirt was announced to be a tank top — a garment which I pretty much hate to the depths of my soul. So I showed up to race day already sour on shelling out extra money, and sad to be handed a scandalous version of a shirt. But, I was ready to turn the experience around and see some beauty and enjoy a gorgeous run. The race itself is organized and cheerful — you can tell the directors love what they do. Parking was easy (the terrain is unlevel, so don’t bring your Lamborghini.) There were plenty of porta-potties next to the starting line. The half started on time, and promised a lovely scenic run — I wish it didn’t have to pass by the misery of a rendering plant in the first mile, but soon enough we were out of Woodland and into the countryside. The course was well-marked, with support in the right spots (no gel/blocks, just electrolyte drink.) Late in the course there was a gravel section on top of a dike that was not pleasant to run on tired legs, despite the lovely rural and waterside scenery. Along this path there was a dairy farm, and the sweet-faced cows sure looked confused as to why there were a bunch of humans running by. One of the ladies in front of me gagged at the smell, though, so if you have a sensitivity to generic farm stank, be prepared to get out the smelling salts somewhere after mile 8. You have to wait a loooong time to see the much heralded blooms, and my “like” not “love” was cemented after getting just a glimpse of tulips off in the distance. Maybe this was an off year for the tulip farms, but it seemed like a postage stamp size of a field that we weren’t any where near to. But then, you’re back out on the loop you ran to start, and the finish line is getting closer. A nice downhill sprint to the finish, and the medals don’t disappoint. They are cute, colorful and hefty, and helped to diminish some of my disappointment. There looked to be good meaty food for finishers, but vegetarian finishers got a hotdog bun with one thin slice of Tofurkey deli cuts and some baked beans on top. I’ll give them props for the effort, though. The beer selections looked tasty, and everyone was having a good time at the afterparty, which was full of happy finishers.

i love PDX!!

great race and great course. I love running in the metro area

  • Greg reviewed 2 years ago

Great setting and a lot of fun with the whole family!

  • Greg reviewed 2 years ago

Highly reccommend this race!!!

Personal favorite

Loved the party after the race, and I loved the beer selection! Location and run route was phenomenal

Good overall race

Did this race last year, fun environment and has a great running group! Will do again next time!

Great race

I love running PDX, great environment and I love celebrating st pattys day!!


The Shamrock is a great cause, for the Children’s Hospital, but it has gotten so crowded! This year was so rainy and obviously that is no one’s fault, but I was pretty miserable. The past few years I haven’t even bothered getting the food and beer, because of lines. I think I will stick to smaller races. But the 15 K is a great run!

Race for the roses

I know it is a great cause, but the price is so steep! I found the route pretty flat and happened to PR on the 10K. It’s nice to start inside the convention center, especially on a rainy day, Plus actual bathrooms beats a porta potty any day!

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