Thursday, September 18, 2014

Half Boring Half Marathon race report

Day 2 of our Oregon mini race-cation … another early morning, another quick breakfast in the hotel, and another drive to the outskirts of Portland.

Today was destined to be, well...

Because today was the day of the (HALF) BORING HALF MARATHON!!!

We got to the high school that served as the start / finish area -- I love when local races do this. I mean, plenty of parking, real bathrooms, and room to spread out -- it's perfect. We picked up our bibs and race goody bags. This is another example of a small, local race that "gets it" and puts effort into their goody bags. In addition to a handsome (black!) race shirt, we received a few small snacks, the obligatory flyers for other races, and, best of all, the Boring Marathon sticker above!

One of my all-time favorite races, the Scenic Half Marathon, also included stickers in their excellent goody bag. Until now I hadn't seen it again at a race, so bravo Boring Marathon organizers!

We headed onto the track -- a very nice track, BTW, which made me comment that, if there is a single high school in Oregon without a great running track, then Nike isn't doing their job….  

ANYWAY, the course talk was on the track, though I chose that moment (luckily?) to realize I had my glasses rather than my sunglasses on, so had to run off back to the car to swap them out. So Wil listened to a pretty much "locals only" talk -- "you turn down road X, then go along until road Y, etc.". But we figured we'd just follow along (and it really wasn't possible to get lost!). 

We moved to the back of the starting pack (after all, I was still a little wobbly on my right ankle), and prepared to "Go for a Boring run!" And by prepared, I mean "took the obligatory pre-race photo":

(I know, I know, we failed to do this the day before… but it's a Team Wil-Sun tradition!)

The course was, well, a little boring… though the weather was perfect, there were lots of aid stations, and we had a nice time. We ran along roads with a lot of rolling hills but little traffic. Of course, things got more interesting as we approached the town of Boring itself!

We crossed the "Boring Overpass" -- which you can see in the distance of this photo:

And then things started to get really Boring….

Just two more miles to Boring!!!!

The intervening miles were made less boring by a few little turns -- we ran through a water stop set up in the parking lot of a garden center, for example. The volunteers at that center were extra fantastic, and were even handing out pretzels. But I decided to pick them up on the way back, because we were almost in… 

Now, we fully expected to run past a nice sign highlighting the town. In fact, we'd seen such a sign on the Internets…

image courtesy
And I was totally looking forward to a photo op. However, this was the only town sign we spotted.

Clearly we must have just looked in the wrong place, or it wasn't on the course, or something. But somehow this sign was a perfect sign for Boring, Oregon.

Our time in Boring proper was brief -- we ran in, did a tiny loop including a stretch of paved trail, and then headed back, revisiting the Boring Post Office, the Boring Fire Department, and the very nice folks at the Boring garden center. (Yep, I picked up pretzels this time…)

We decided to run to the halfway point and then essentially just walk back. No sense doing something extra stupid to my ankle a few weeks before the Rim to Rim hike! So the morning turned into a nice walk in the countryside, punctuated here and there by friendly folks handing us cups of water. Perfect.

We made our way back to the high school and onto the track, where we decided to "run it in"…. so we ran the last 200 yards or so to the finish line, where an announcer called out our names and finishing times.

We received our very handsome half marathon medals and a bottle of water, and as we stood there in that mild post-race daze, we were asked if we had run the Hagg the day before. Yes! So we were handed a pair of handsome growlers from the Boring Brewing Company, along with vouchers for a growler fill. Perfect!

our race goodies!
We stretched for a little while in the sun, picked up a really nice bagel from local bagelry Jazzy Bagels, and cheered for a few other runners before deciding it was time to go.

Things we loved about the race:
- the race director was super enthusiastic and rallied a community around him to create a great event that actually was an effective fundraiser as well as a fun race
- great shirt
- great medal -- clever to use the ribbon to distinguish between years and events!
- nice course -- and of course how great to run to Boring!
- excellent volunteers all along the course, and plenty of water stops
- we loved getting a growler from the Boring Brewing Company as our "double" reward
- having a raffle during the race: we each received a raffle ticket and could choose to enter one of 4 raffles. Okay, so we didn't win anything, but it was a nice touch
- oh, the sticker! I love the sticker!

I'm not sure I would necessarily drive to Oregon again just to run this race, but it was really well put on for a small event in their inaugural year. 

2014 Boring Marathon medal

P.S. After the race we drove out to the Boring Brewing Company to try some of their beers and get our growlers filled. We tried a few of their beers (I really liked the Boring Brown), but settled on their summer seasonal, the HotScotch -- a Scottish style ale brewed with Scotch bonnet peppers. The smell alone makes my nose burn, and the taste is lovely. I noticed that they had a small pumpkin patch next to the brewery… could a pumpkin ale be coming soon? Thanks to them for donating a reward for the Double!

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