Date and time: Saturday October 11th, 2014
Events and price: One day 70 mile relay, split between 1-6 runners; 6keg brewery run
Location: Bend, OR
Beneficiary: Numerous local non-profits, school groups, and community organizations
So Friday afternoon Steve, Wendi and I headed down to Bend to meet up with Kerry and Jazi. The traffic was awful since there was an accident, and we didn't arrive in Bend until 10 pm, and pretty much went straight to bed. We woke up early the next morning to the start line at Worthy Brewing. There was cornhole and beer tastings, even though it wasn't quite 7am. That's a little early for beer normally, but what the heck, it's the BEND BEER CHASE! By the way, our team of 5 only had one beer-drinker on the team--me. But even if you're not a beer drinker, the Bend Beer Chase is still a really fun experience.
Jazi, Kerry and I each ran two legs, while Wendi and Steve each picked up 3. I ended up running a little under 12 miles split between two legs, both labeled "moderate". There weren't breweries at every exchange, but at several of them, and even a distillery at one. I also bumped into the Run Oregon team and leapfrogged with them for most of the rest of the race.
Although some of the legs were really hilly or difficult (my second leg was almost entirely gravel road), the course was beautiful. I haven't spent much time in Bend, and doing the Bend Beer Chase was a great opportunity to really see how gorgeous it is. I had a great time getting to know my teammates and laughing with them. We also really lucked out with the weather--it was perfectly cool and mostly clear skies, with just a little bit of rain. The actual relay itself was fairly well put together, with enough volunteers, porta potties, and organized exchanges, although the finish line area could have been a bit more clear, as we barely arrived in time to park and get to the finish line to meet our runner and run in together to the "finish". But it wasn't actually the finish line... you had to complete the 6keg (or drive to the actual finish line at the end of the 6keg) to receive your medal.
The details and communication regarding the 6keg were somewhat lacking, and many teams were not on schedule to finish in time. It wasn't particularly clear what the 6keg was or what was (it was basically a bar crawl on foot). We only made it to the first stop in time (Silver Moon Brewing), made it to 10 Barrel after the sampling had ended/run out, and then had to rush to the final stop at Crux Fermentation project, which didn't have free samples.
The swag was alright. The shirts were a nice material with a simple but nice design. However, the women's shirts were TINY (almost like juniors sizing). The medals were rubberized bottle openers on paracord--useful, and it fit the theme, but an etched bottle opener would have been really cool.
The Bend Beer Chase was a really cool one-day relay. With a few minor adjustments, it would be excellent.