The Hippie Chick Half Marathon and Quarter Marathon is an all-women’s event held every year on Mother’s Day weekend in Hillsboro, Oregon. It’s got a costume award component, resulting in lots of fun tie dyed tank tops and cute flower crowns. This weekend, I ran the half marathon, a mostly flat course on rural roads. Here’s how it stacked up!
Distance reviewed: Half Marathon
Elevation gain: About 300 feet
Size of field: Around 2,000 participants (all events)
The Charity: Raphael House of Portland
The Brews: A mimosa from Barefoot or a beer from Full Sail
All-Women’s Race – This was a new experience for me! Aside from the porta potty lines moving a little bit more slowly, I couldn’t see any drawbacks to an all-women’s race. In fact, it felt like a supportive and welcoming experience. Our all-female numbers did get noticed by bystanders. At one point, a pair of men cycling on expensive bikes came through in the opposite direction. One of them yelled out at us, “Look at all these beautiful girls!” to which one among our crowd answered out, “WOMEN!!!” Right on, sister.
Good on-course support – It was a hot day, so it says a lot that there was enough water on the course! They also offered Nuun and Clif Shot gels, and had porta johns along the way. At some of the water stations, volunteers offered to mist you with a garden hose – so nice! And music, in the form of drummers, along the course. I love that.
The on-course drumming inspired some runners to stop and get their dance on
Misters – No, not like Mr.’s. I mean, the contraptions they have set up after the finish line, that mist water and you can walk through them for some refreshing loveliness on your hot skin. The Hippie Chick is the first race where I’ve seen them used, and it’s a fabulous idea! More warm-weather races should get these.
Start/Finish at the Gordon Faber Complex – Hippie Chick is not the only race that begins and ends here, and for good reason. Parking is plentiful and free (with Intel’s big parking lots as backup). There are plenty of stadium-style seats to collapse into and some of them are even in the shade. And, of course, real bathrooms. Yay!
Pacing from the Portland Running Company Race Team – Have you ever hung with a pacer during a race? These are great runners who know how to go the right speed for a certain finish time, and are excited to help you meet your goal! Kind of like the running version of a guardian angel, except slightly sweatier, and sporting a balloon so you can see where they are.
Choice of mimosa or beer – Yes, the mimosa line was a mile long, which was fine with me. That meant there were only a few people between me and a Blood Orange Wheat Ale. So yum!
The necklace – To me, being handed a necklace in a plastic package at the end of a half marathon just isn’t the same as having someone hang a medal around your neck. Sure, some people love the necklace, and will likely count this in the plus category. I will admit it’s something you could actually wear on a normal day, and not get branded “That Lady Who Wears A Medal to the Grocery Store” but whatever, that bagger was just jealous of my swag.
Heat – Yeah, yeah. The weather isn’t within a race director’s control. But it had hit 80 degrees before many of the Half Marathon participants had finished, and I’ve never seen so many runners slow down to walking at the end of a race. I’ll be interested to see whether they move the Hippie Chick start time an hour earlier next year.
The Hippie Chick is a keeper! It’s well-organized, well-supported and a good time. It’s mostly flat, with farmland views and a welcoming, supportive group of participants. Do watch the weather report for heat and remember to wear your sunblock!
Have you run the Hippie Chick? How did it go? Share your thoughts in the comments!