Sunshine, blue skies, a slight breeze and beautiful mountain scenery . . . who could ask for more? Perfect conditions were the order of the day at the recently completed Pacific Crest Sports Festival, held in Central Oregon June 25 through June 27.
The 14th annual three-day event started Friday in Sunriver Resort with the Kid’s Splash Pedal-n-Dash where more than 500 youngsters under the age of 10 ran through two wading pools, rode their bikes a quarter of a mile and ended with a quarter mile run.
Close to 5,000 competitors registered for the family friendly event this year, about the same number as last year.
Saturday morning was customarily nippy for the start of the marathon at 7:30 a.m., followed by the half-marathon at 8 a.m. But, runners and walkers warmed up within the first hour as the sun’s rays evaporated the early chill.
With 1,399 finishers, the half-marathon was easily the most popular event. Several participants in this race as well as the 10K were seen pushing strollers with young children as they jogged and hiked on the mostly level course.
The races were well staffed with volunteers who handed out water and electrolytes at every mile and controlled traffic at street crossings. The entire festival has earned a well-deserved reputation for good organization and good family fun.
The athletes competing in the triathlon and duathlon started at Wickiup Reservoir in the Cascade Mountains at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Wetsuits were the order of the day for the 1.2-mile swim across the reservoir. Fed by melting snow, the average temperature of the water is 62 degrees.
There were 355 athletes competing in the long course triathlon and 184 in the endurance duathlon.
The triathlon winners were Chris Berg, 31, from Portland, Oregon with a time of 4:07:46 and MacKenzie Madison, 23, from Eugene, Oregon with a time of 4:42:53. The triathlon course begins with the swim, followed by a 56.3-mile bike ride around Mt. Bachelor, ending with a 13.1-mile half-marathon run through Sunriver.
Prize money was awarded to the first five male and female winners of the triathlon with the top prize of $1,000 and fifth place of $150.
The shorter 5K and 10K races on Sunday attracted many young teenage runners with thirteen-year-old Brian Marshall of Bend winning the 5K in a time of 18:12.
The kid’s one mile and half mile races were also held on Sunday. So were the Olympic triathlon and Olympic duathlon. The course for the triathlon is a 1500-meter swim, 28-mile bike ride and 10K run. Nearly 700 athletes completed both events.
The Olympic courses and the half marathon have attracted more competitors in recent years than the original event, the long course triathlon. Today, it and the companion duathlon attract about 500 athletes, half as many competitors as 2002 and 2003 when it was at capacity with 1,000 participants.
A festive atmosphere and sunny skies fill the Sunriver mall with good vibes. All finishers receive a shiny medal and there’s plenty of live music, good food, a beer garden, vendors selling racing gear at reasonable prices, a health and fitness expo to wander through and countless photo opportunities to preserve the memories.
For information on the 15th annual event: http://www.racecenter.com/pacificcrest.