Date/time: Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 8:00am
Location: Hillsboro Park/Gordon Faber Recreation Complex; Hillsboro, Oregon
Events offered: Half Marathon, 10k, and kids race
Number of runners: 2000+
The Helvetia Half Marathon & 10K run/walk is an award winning event where you "Leave the City Behind." The spectacular course travels through the pasturelands of northwest Oregon, past the hamlet of Helvetia and its historic landmark Helvetia Tavern, and back to the Hillsboro Ballpark for a grand finish in center field in perfect view of the giant screen amid a cheering crowd where Helvetia Tavern Burgers (meat or veggie) and beer garden await. It’s no wonder the Helvetia Half Marathon is voted the BEST HALF MARATHON in the Northwest! This course is hilly and challenging which makes the reward even better! Enjoy all of this and live music at the 14th Annual Helvetia Half Marathon & 10K.
Swag: Swag included a red non-unisex tech tee with yellow print, a coupon for a free waterbottle at Fred Meyer, a reusable Better Series bag, Helvetia Tavern Burger (meat or veggie patty) and chips, a beer, and a medal for half marathon finishers.
Parking: There was plenty of parking around the stadium!
Bag check: I left my things in the car since I was parked close and it was warm out. Bag check was available at a tent on the field and seemed to have short lines that moved quickly.
Course: The course is on paved roads, with rolling hills. It's a loop with two out and back portions, once at the beginning, with numerous volunteers along the entire well-marked route. Although challenging, it is a beautiful course. Water/Nuun stops and Porta Potties were at miles 1.1, 2.3, 3.7, 4.8, 5.8, 7.3, 8.5, 10.1 and 11.6. There was also a Clif Shot "Energy Zone" with four flavors of Clif Shots.
The race: I wasn't feeling ready for this half. Even though I had run a 22miler two weeks prior, since then I'd tweaked my back and knees, had tight arches, and hadn't gotten much sleep or training in. I knew the course would be challenging and hilly, and my focus was on next week's Vancouver USA Marathon, so I was supposed to just take it easy and get the mileage in. But I still doubted whether I could do the half, and could do it without messing up my body more. I was REALLY glad that my friends Wendi and Amy would be with me at the start and finish. I started out the race at what should have felt like an easy pace, staying just ahead of the 1:59 pace group. But it didn't feel easy. I felt tired and lethargic and running just felt hard. I had a hard time going up the hills, but decided to have fun with the downhills and just take them on full speed. The last mile I really struggled with nausea (don't know why I felt so nauseous, since I had hydrated with electrolyte drink and water the day before, and had a healthy dinner), but still managed to finish under my goal time of two hours (1:55:08). Not close to my PR, but that wasn't the purpose of this race for me.
Post-race: After the race, I got my medal and grabbed a Helvetia veggie burger, which really hit the spot! I met up with my friend Carla and her husband Chad, who were doing a lot of the communications work for the event, and was introduced to Jude, who is one of the organizers for the Better Series.
Photos: Carla took a few shots of me approaching the finish, which were great!
Results: Online here. There were some REALLY fast people who just ripped up the course. I was 19th out of 76 in my division... I'm just happy I finished under two hours. Ribbons and Helvetia mugs were given to the top three in each division.
I was so happy to run Helvetia again this year. The Helvetia Half Marathon was my very first race, which Carla talked me into doing in 2009. I signed up two weeks before the race, and was only up to maybe 5 or 6 miles by then. I had to walk most of the race, and by the time I finished, they had run out of Jamba Juice. I vowed never to be that slow again, and got addicted to racing. I haven't run Helvetia since then, so I was excited to be working with the Better Series and to finally come back to the event and course that started it all! I think the Better Series has done a great job with all of the events that they're doing, including Helvetia. It's well organized, well marked, has lots of water stations and volunteers. I was kind of disappointed that the 1:59 pace group seemed to start out too fast (which several other runners around me mentioned too). The biggest drawback for Helvetia is the price. It's about $100 for a half marathon, which is a bit on the higher end. It seems like the Better Series has raised the prices on several of the events that they've taken over. I do think it's a really well done event, but a lot of running friends of mine didn't sign up due to the cost-- however, the ones that did sign up really enjoyed the race in spite of the hills!