- SqueakMatteson reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
This is one of those races that you will be bragging finishing about for YEARS. People will have to listen to you talk about it every day for at least a month afterwards, because that’s the minimum time it takes to forget the pain of running through several miles of ice-cold, ankle-deep Northwest lake clay. This is a true trail challenge, and a foolish venture if you’re not prepared. I did the 25k, which takes place the day after the 50k runners tear up the trail and make it good and sloppy. This would be a challenging run even without the mud; the trail is single track and technical. There aren’t too many elevation challenges, but elevation will be the least of your problems, thanks to the sloppy, slippery, constant thrill of running in mud. You get a break from the mud on a small stretch of paved road, but then you’re right back in the slop. Seriously — check out the race photos from previous years. They tell the tale.
The aid stations will go down in history as some of the best — gels, fruit, candy, peanut butter sandwiches, and a nice selection of hydration drinks. Volunteers are friendly, there’s a real Hagg Family vibe going on, and race directors are very responsive to runner questions.
One caution — if you break your stuff on the course, like I did, it can be a treacherous limp to the main road to hope someone comes by and gives you a lift. Hopefully they’ve improved upon that, as the year I broke my ankle on the course I had climb to the main road and wait for help until a woman drove by looking for her husband, and she ended up picking up a few of us gimps without intending to (super nice lady!)
Packet pickup is easy, shirt is nice, and in the past you got some cool finisher’s socks. I think they started giving out medals, but that started the year I broke my ankle and there ain’t no socks, medals, or swag for the DNF-ers. Very well organized, a beautiful setting, and a crazy hard run. My ankle didn’t heal right so I won’t be doing it again, but I am glad that I did.
- carmonaj reviewed 3 years ago
- last edited 3 years ago
I have ran this race one time and loved it! have been wanting to get back to run it again but can’t stay healthy… The course is so beautiful and i actually really enjoyed the hills. I also loved the burgers after:) I would suggest getting there very early as parking and back up of cars getting to the race is really bad! It took me so long to park that i just about missed the start of the race and had no time to go to the bathroom. There is also a section during the race towards the end around mile 10 or so that is on gravel which i didn’t enjoy, although this may have changed as it has been a while since i have ran it. The parking/bathroom issue is the reason i didn’t rate this race with 5 stars. Overall great race that i hope to do again!
- SqueakMatteson reviewed 2 years ago
This race is a staple that every Oregon runner should do at least once. It’s an established event with a long history, is organized, has a large field of runners at all ability levels, and might be one of your only opportunities to see someone blast past you wearing lederhosen. The course is rolling, with some climbs, but then you get the opportunity to make up speed on the downhills. The optional tech shirt is usually of decent quality and won’t break the bank if you add it to your registration. The start can be crowded as you weave through the streets of Mt. Angel after starting out in a park, but then you’re out in the countryside around the Abbey (which is worth a visit for architecture buffs, as the library was designed by Alvar Aalto) and the crowd thins out a little. I noticed two porta-potties on the course, but I think everyone was in such a rush to finish and get into Oktoberfest that they didn’t stop to use them as I didn’t see lines. My only quibbles were that the course monitors got ignored by the drivers in a few spots, and things got a little nerve-wracking as disrespectful hillbillies sped by. Oh, and some potholes, but I can trip on thin air so maybe that’s just my problem. The age group awards are generous (new achievable goal! Oktoberfest AG Ribbon!) I found parking along the main road in front of the Fest Halle, and there was plenty of room for everyone, but I did have a little bit of a walk to the start–if you get their super early you can find a spot in town near the start. Most importantly, we got FREE BEER and entry to the Oktoberfest, which was AWESOME. Even my German-American “I hate running” husband enjoyed himself!
- Chelsea B. reviewed 1 year ago
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.
- Amanda S reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
What a fantastic race! I strongly recommend this series to all levels of runners and can’t wait to sign up again next year.
-Super affordable (3 races for under $50!) and the nature of a series does wonders for my motivation.
-Very well organized! RunwithPaula does a fantastic job organizing races – runners are well taken care of (water, food, sports drinks, coffee and MORE). I’ve been running for a couple years now and have never bothered repeating a race. Her events always leave me ecstatic and grateful to have spent the money.
-Excellent series for hitting your PR! I shaved a ton of time off over the three races.
-Easy course with no delays from traffic. Good views through a grassy area next to a pond and no pavement problems.
-Great energy from all involved. I’ve never enjoyed a post race party so much (great awards and raffle)
-Beginner friendly with lots of speed walkers.
-Starts a bit later in the day than other winter races, making it so much easier to get there.
-It’s a bit of a hard run to start. The first 1/4 mile is through a road passing several office buildings. On the flip side, on your way back it certainly makes the finish line look like gold in the distance.
-Due to flooding (a 2″ thick puddle) you are asked to run up a VERY small but VERY muddy hill, which caused one or two people to slip.
-The course is public so there were a couple slow moving older couples and zippy bicycles to circumnavigate.
-I took the no phones/timing devices rule very seriously on the third race and was left a bit sad to not have music to listen to.
- arsellers reviewed 2 years ago
Vancouver Lake Half Marathon is a unique race in that is one of the only half marathons offered in the Portland metro area in January. Because of that it draws a great mix of competitive and recreational runners.I like that VLH has a reasonable entry fee and the late start time of 10:00 am. I deducted a half a star for the flat, but repetitive course, which can tax the nerves. I deducted another half star because I needed and asked for some medical assistance after the race (my feet were bleeding from ruptured blisters) and had to hobble to several volunteers who did not know who could help. Eventually I was given a tiny bandaid from a first aid kit, but it would not stick on my foot. Obviously I survived, lol, but the first aid station could have been better prepared. Bandaid incident aside, I still would recommend Vancouver Lake Half Marathon and plan on running it again.
- SqueakMatteson reviewed 1 year ago
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.
- Linda McMillin reviewed 3 years ago
The first time I ran Santa Barbara Wine Country Race was my 2nd Destination Race event. I loved the first one in Oregon so much that I thought – why not go to Santa Barbara? We (Bruce, Koko & I) stayed in Solvang, just blocks from the finish. The area is so beautiful – full of incredible oak trees, Danish building, the Solvang Brewery and wineries. Even though it was only my second DR race, the staff remembered us! Destination Races doesn’t just put on a great half marathon – they give you an experience you will never forget! The pre-race dinners are incredible and this was no exception! We had dinner with a local photographer/runner and other runners from all over. The course is beautiful – going past vineyards, through Los Olivos and up that lovely hill! Last year, there was a couple who stopped off in Los Olivos and got married! Like all DR races, the organization, race support and post race wine tasting party was spectacular!
- Jen reviewed 2 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.
- Mariah Jeffery reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
This race was fantastic last year when I was training for my first marathon. Completing the 30K gave me that confidence that I could run at race pace for more than a half. The 30K course is 3 10K loops, which I did not mind at all because it helped me to break the race up mentally. The food was amazing. We got to choose between crepes and subs. I recommend the crepes. The 30Kers also received 2 medals. The race also offers a 20K and a 10K. My only complaint is that some of the 10K walkers were not courteous about staying to the right and sometimes I had to run off the path to dodge them. I have signed up to run this race again in 2016 and hope to make it a yearly tradition.
- SqueakMatteson reviewed 3 years ago
I agree with the other reviewer, it was really crowded into a small space, and started WAY to early for a very hot day. There was another run in the same park so they had to wait for that run to get done/started/whatever. I switched from the 1/2 to the 10k so I wouldn’t die of the heat. Course had some wicked hills, so anything other than the 5k can’t be described as flat. Nice medals and atmosphere, but the 5kers ate all the pancakes!
- SqueakMatteson reviewed 2 years ago
I had a great time at the St. Mary’s 5k last year, and I’m looking forward to it in 2016. For an inaugural run it was very organized, and packet/shirt pickup was smooth. The run was a nice route that took you through downtown Stayton and out on to a pretty river trail. It was well-marked, and supported by happy volunteers all the way. The thing I liked best about this race was seeing the families out enjoying running — I purposely held my pace back in the last mile just to watch a young family encourage their mom running her first 5k; the joy was infectious. The registration was relatively inexpensive, and I liked the cotton t-shirt with a cheerful graphic on it — not fancy, but when a race is a fundraiser for a school, you can’t be a jerk about “perks.” There were port-o-potties at the start, but I don’t recall any on the route. There was a water station staffed by happy, encouraging volunteers. It’s not hilly, but there are sections of trail which aren’t challenging but aren’t paved. I had trouble finding water at the finish, but it was a small, inaugural run, it was a minor glitch.
- Aurora Taylor reviewed 2 years ago
Not only was this the inaugural year for this race, it was also my first full marathon. I’ve had an illogical fear of 26.2 since my stress fracture three years ago, and this race seemed like the perfect mix of trail, hills, elevation, etc., to keep me focused more on finishing and less on time. Plus I love Bend and was excited to be a part of something in such a beautiful area! So when a friend mentioned I consider Bend, I jumped at the opportunity.
The race is all as it’s advertised: Beautiful scenery, hilly, challenging, but not impossibly so. Kerry and Blair did an excellent job at organizing the race and with the exception of a few minor hiccups, the race was well-marked and well-supported. Plenty of porta-potties, aid stations every two miles or so (less on the first half of the race), accurate pace group leaders, awesome custom medals, etc. You would not have been able to tell it was an inaugural race if they hadn’t said it many times
It was also a good race for spectators. The start was cold but I was able easily drop off clothing with my friends at the end of mile 2. They caught me again at miles 13/20 (the out and back on the Cascade Scenic Highway) and it was nice having them to look forward to. They could have easily caught me in more places but decided instead to grab coffee. A person could easily jump in and pace on the back half of the course, or ride alongside a marathoner via bicycle.
As for the course goes, it was challenging, and not just because it was my first full. I had done five long runs over 20 miles, with one at 23 miles, and several on trail, so I felt adequately prepared for the hills, occasional gravel, and elevation. But this full is not for the faint of heart, and does require some extra preparation than Portland or Eugene. If you are from the Willamette Valley, you will feel the altitude at about miles 8-10, and will need to drink more water than usual and probably slow your pace down just slightly. But the views and the challenge makes this a great destination race, and the sense of accomplishment afterward makes the challenge worth it!
- Eric reviewed 1 year ago
- last edited 1 year 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).
- Guest reviewed 2 years ago
I can’t accurately assess this as a “running” event because it’s a fun run, that is actually quite fun! Packet pickup is a breeze, and you get to stretch out on the school track and see what great costumes people are wearing. If you’re into shirts, buy one ahead of time, because they often don’t have extras for sale. Running in front of the crowds lined up for the parade route is a BLAST! The volunteers are very friendly, and they have water afterwards. Parking is a nightmare, but it’s a PDX event, so that’s to be expected. Not enough porta potties, so get there early and get in line!
- Ashleyaob reviewed 2 years ago
The Shamrock experience is always a good one. I have run the 5k for the last 3 years in a row and enjoyed it all three times. However, I probably won’t do it again. The race directors bill the 5k as a “run” and not “race,” so maybe that is why they do not pay too much attention to the finish. From mile 1.5 onward, the 5k runners are mixed into a sea of 8k runners. Which means for the last half of the race the lead 5k group is weaving in and out of slower 8k runners. It is pretty difficult to find a straight path and actually race it. It seems like an easy problem to solve – divide the road into two parts: 5k and 8k. Especially in the last 800 meters or so. Anyhow, it is always fun to be out there and participate, but I will either do one of the other events or skip it next year.
- Amy reviewed 2 years ago
I ran the 10k a few weeks ago (June 2015) and had so much fun. I loved that I could register online just a couple nights before because I’m pretty non-commital when it comes to racing. There was a lot of positive energy at the start, and the 10k and half marathon started together. At mile 4-ish, the half marathon and 10k split, and I was surprised that I was the leader! There was an excellent police escort and lead car that led me to the finish and helped clear a path when we double-backed in an area where walkers were still heading on their way out. The course was well-marked, and the volunteers and Hillsboro Police did a great job keeping the roads clear and directing traffic, so I never had confusion about where to go. The course is rolly but nothing too crazy at all. I LOVED having the burger after the race. Yes, it was only 9:30am, but it tasted so good. Just a couple heads-up. Even though the half-marathoners and 10k runners were together until mile 4, there were two separate mile 4 markers on the course, one for the half marathon, and one for the 10k. I have no idea why. I wasn’t wearing a Garmin, so I’m not sure how accurately the course was measured. Also, if you’re a pretty competitive runner, you may not find a lot of competition in this race. I’m a woman and was the overall winner. The first guy came in several minutes later. I had so much fun though and thought the race was really well-organized. I had a blast.
- Mellbell reviewed 2 years ago
This is a great race! I have run it every year since 2010! The course is mostly flat (mile 8 to 9 is my least favorite) it’s a decent hill to get to the top of! Gorgeous views of both Eugene and Springfield…running along the river is beautiful! This year I did the full for the first time! Eclectic Edge Racing provides the timing/announcing for this race and many of them in town and nearby cities…they are amazing!!! I highly recommend this race if you’ve never done it!
- MelissaLeah reviewed 2 years ago
This was my first 10k and I had so much fun. Plenty of snacks and water when we got there. Easy to register. Everyone was super excited and friendly. The route was flat and fun, as long as you don’t mind a little dust! The burgers and beer after the race were delicious. There was a band playing and everyone had a lot of fun. Thank you Paula!
- Chelsea B. reviewed 2 years ago
The best series I have ever been a part of! A wonderful price for five well run races. I cannot speak highly enough about the Portland Trail Series. It is a low-key race experience, that is extremely well run. The intimate atmosphere encourages finding new running buddies as well as fostering the competitive spirit! Although every course is tough, it allows anyone from newbie to elite to finish feeling accomplished. An added bonus, if you return your bib number post race, they donate money to the Forest Park Conservancy. Sign up quick, the best kept secret in trail racing fills up FAST.
- Tyler1447 reviewed 2 years ago
Clark County Running Club annual Vancouver Lake Half. Capped due to parking makes this a more intimate race at 475 entries. Low entry fee cost with the option to buy one of the best tech Ts I have received from races the past 2 years. I find myself running in these Ts more during the off season than any others I own. Water stations seem to be further apart than I like, but they were well stocked and I was good on the course. I have run this race in 2015 and 2016. For whatever reason the finish line water was limited to one 8 ounce Costco water bottle per running….not nearly enough. But, the porta pottys are plenty as are the volunteers who really make this an amazing sellout event. Oh, and home made cookies at the finish!! Hard to beat that.
- Sarah Gamble reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
Yes this last years Pints to Pasta had some huge issues with the shuttle, I was super grateful to have chosen to run the half marathon distance so the shuttle was a non issue for me. I love running downtown & really enjoyed the course! The after party was great with a nice meal, beer & wine. I loved this race and hope people give a little grace for the traffic/construction/shuttle nightmare, I’m sure they will make this race better than ever next year! I can’t wait to do this one again!
- coverbeck reviewed 2 years ago
I have done Rock n’ Roll Portland three times. In 2013 and 2014 I did the half marathon. This year I did the 10k. What draws me to Rock n’ Roll Portland is the size and energy. Anytime streets are closed down and 30,000 people are running through my city, I just want to be in on the fun! The music and masses of runners out to just “rock n’ roll” creates a fun atmosphere. Although, they have an elite program which draws many good runners, the race is catering to the athlete that is just out to have fun and accomplish the distance. However, with the energy that comes with the crowds, you can make it a serious competition if that’s your goal. The course is not a fast route as there are several hills and a lot of turns. However, the diversity of the course keeps you engaged and is a good way to see some great areas of Portland. The course goes over several bridges which are unique and fun. If you are a runner that loves to make a day out of a race, then Rock n’ Roll is a great race. There are plenty of free goodies at the end and music to listen to as you relax.