I have to confess: When I signed up for the Run on the River Half Marathon (held in Astoria, Oregon), my ulterior motive was to plan a vacation on the beach. And who can blame me? If you don’t want to relax with some sand and surf after 13.1 miles, you have some screws loose. Well, as it happened, the toddler used her Superior Screeching Skills during the drive out AND the drive home. Sigh! Maybe by next year she’ll be a better traveller. The good news is, the race itself was great. Here are the details for the Run on the River!
Distance reviewed: Half Marathon
Elevation gain: About 400 feet
Size of field: Capped at 600 participants
The Charity: Astoria Parks and Recreation, all proceeds used for scholarships for low income families and individuals to access recreation programs.
The Brews: Beer from Buoy Beer Company
A Beautiful Location – You get great views of the river near its confluence with the Pacific ocean, along with the enormous ships gliding through. The route runs past piers, breweries, the maritime museum and under the Astoria-Megler bridge, and you’ll see sea birds and even a few noisy sea lions. Lovely!
Good on-course support – Plenty of aid stations with water, Gatorade, granola and raisins. The course markings were very clear, and volunteers were stationed everywhere you needed them. Also, this announcer’s adorable patter that I caught in the audio while I was videoing a ship passing through before the race start.
Who doesn’t want to hear an awesome Puerto Rican lady say you’re LOOKIN’ GOOD at mile 3.5? Nobody, that’s who.
Flat course – Almost all of this course is along the rails-to-trails project known as the Astoria Riverwalk, which is very flat. There were only a few hills, once the course turns off the Riverwalk to briefly dip into a neighborhood, and those are mild.
Cool Breezes – Ahh! I know, once again, a Race Director can’t take the credit or blame for the weather. But on this day it was so lovely and cool. As a result, I hit my stride about mile 6 and ended up running a full minute-per-mile faster than my last (HOT) race two weeks ago, at the Hippie Chick Half.
Glass Medals – What a cool selling point! The glass medals are made locally in Astoria at Fernhill Glass Studio.
Tricky footing – Most of this course was on completely smooth, flat blacktopped walkway. But the tricky spots could get pretty tricky. There are places where you’ll cross railroad tracks and need to watch your step, and spots where the boardwalk is so uneven I wouldn’t want to ride a bike across it. I did appreciate that in the section where roots had made ripples in the paved path through Alderbrook Park, someone had taken the time to mark each of them with yellow paint.
I would definitely do the Run on the River in Astoria again! It’s almost completely flat, with pretty views and a small-town feel. If the weather is cool again next year and you’re careful with footing during the tricky parts, you could definitely set a Personal Record at this race!
Do you have a favorite vacation race? Share your thoughts in the comments!