OHSU Harvest Hustle
Events: 5k; 1k; wheelchair race; kids dash
Location: World Trade Center; Portland, OR
Number of runners: 276 for the 5k
Beneficiary: Camp Odakoda, a camp for adolescents with autism
I loved OHSU Institute of Development & Disability's Harvest Hustle 5k. I had been excited about it because it benefits Camp Odakoda. I believe it's really important to provide young people with autism those sorts of opportunities because I have brothers with varying degrees of autism, I had been a camp counselor at a different camp when I was in high school, and I had also been a special ed paraeducator for a few years after college.
It was a well-organized small race. There were really really fast runners, lots of slower walkers as well, and everything in between. My friend Robert had asked me to pace him because he wanted to finish with a sub-30 5k. I was excited and nervous for both him and myself since I had never paced someone before, and I didn't want to let him down, but I wanted to help pace someone like Coach Ron had paced me for part of the Portland Marathon (karma! repay the favor!).
The morning was perfect--slightly cool and sunny. Runners were able to stay under the shelter of the WTC outdoor plaza while we picked up our bibs and timing chips and cotton t-shirt and waited for the race to start. I told Robert what pace we were aiming for, which allowed us a nice buffer just in case we had to slow down or use the bathroom or grab water. My Garmin was having problems right after the start so we ended up going out a bit fast. Eventually we settled into a good pace. The course was nice and flat, a quick out and back along Naito.
After the race, we received our little goodie bags and grabbed some bread and oranges set out for the runners, as well as some water. There was a band playing at the Harvest Festival, and also a few food vendors. I bought a plate of Tofu Mole from Verde Cocina--it was delicious, especially their handmade corn tortillas! We hung out for a bit while I ate my brunch, and enjoyed the atmosphere.
I really liked this small, inexpensive race. For its inaugural year, it seemed like the turnout was pretty good and they did a nice job putting it together. It's a great no-frills, well-executed, flat and fast race that I'd definitely consider running again.