ON THE RUN
Editor's Note: This is the first installment in a semi-regular column dedicated to running, including events coverage, trail updates, conditioning and general buzz from around Central Oregon's prolific competitive and casual running scene.
A rare wet mid-September weekend brought two great running events to Central Oregon. The Bigfoot 10K, the elder statesman of foot races in Central Oregon, was held on Sunday. Bigfoot is a true community event put on every year by Central Oregon Running Klub. All the proceeds benefit the Bend LaPine High School Cross Country teams. The slightly downhill course offers up fast times and more than 150 high school runners volunteer to build atmosphere by cheering on participants while making sure they're heading in the right direction.
XTerra was Saturday and brings its own atmosphere with a National Championship, lots of television cameras (look for the 30-minute TV spot this winter), and an impressive sound system at the finish line. There was a half-marathon with more than 200 finishers, a 10K with 90+, and a 5K with 44 crossing the line. XTerra runs a first-class event and brought in folks from all over the country (more than two-thirds of the half-marathon finishers were from out of the area) to run on some of our fine Central Oregon dirt. Generally speaking, these were some pretty speedy folks and they created a fast field for all the age group awards as well as the overall honors. Some locally have grumbled about the course as being rather benign to be called a Trail Half-Marathon National Championship, but most participants were won over by the good folks at XTerra and their general willingness and enthusiasm. This was the third, and possibly last, year for these XTerra National Championships in Bend. Results are available at www.xterra.com
As you might expect, Central Oregonians made a strong showing over the weekend. From the front to the back of both events, many competed for accolades or only with themselves. Some overcame a great deal just to get to the starting line while others cruised as they have on countless other weekends. Max King won both of the events (as we are accustomed to seeing) while entertaining a friend from Japan. He also stuck around to watch Sunday's Littlefoot run. We're fortunate to have the fastest guy in town be such a good member of the community. Other Central Oregon runners represented very well versus the onslaught of speedy visitors.
Judging from the satisfied smiles at the finish lines, it was a good weekend for fun, community, competition and some solid marketing bringing the running spotlight to Bend. Good for runners and good for Central Oregon.
Teague Hatfield owns FootZone in downtown Bend. He is an avid runner and the organizer of Bend's Dirty Half- Marathon.