written by Conor Foley

January, although still nestled well within the clutch of winter, feels very different from the earlier winter months. The cozy, slow pace of the holidays has washed away and finding ourselves at the beginning of a new year it is hard not to contemplate the possibilities that lie in the days and months ahead. For some, this wiping clean of the slate is a compelling reason to set new, bold objectives: more time at the gym, quality time spent with friends and family, or planning a new trip abroad. I am certainly not immune to this particular trend, and looking forward I find that what I’m most eagerly anticipating are the adventures I will have. This year, many of those adventures will come in the form of races, and I thought I would take this opportunity to share a list of some of the most exciting organized races/challenges in our area. Here are five of the most exciting challenges Oregon has to offer, in no particular order:

mudrun#1 Run Wild Adventures

Okay, so this isn’t just one race, it’s seven! Trouble is, they are all so good it’s hard to choose one. Run Wild has been putting on awesome races in western Oregon for many years, including the now world renowned Silver Falls Marathon. In fact, the Marathon has grown to be so popular that they have added a whole weekend of events featuring races from 7 miles up to 50 kilometers. All of their races make ample use of off-road trail systems, which means that you are likely to come away with more than a little mud. What better way is there to find adventure than to run through puddles and get a little dirty? Run Wild has races scheduled primarily in the spring and fall and if this sounds like your idea of fun their next race, the Buck Mountain Mudslinger, will be held on February 27th at the Howard Creek Horse Camp complex in Silver Falls State Park.

Visit their website to find out more and register for your next adventure: http://www.runwildadventures.com/  

farewell-bend-park-114311_1920#2 Pole Pedal Paddle

If running has become too mundane for your adventuresome spirit, maybe it’s time to ratchet up the intensity of your challenges. On that count the Pole, Pedal, Paddle race in Bend delivers in spades. Unlike your traditional race this multi-sport relay race combines various disciplines into one grueling challenge. Racers will start on Mt. Bachelor with a downhill ski/snowboard leg and finish in Bend with a sprint to the finish line. In between your team will complete an 8 km cross-country ski, a 22 mile bike ride, a 5 mile run, and 2 km canoe/kayak. You may compete as a full team, a two person team, or for those who really want a challenge, you can compete as an individual. The race itself will be held on May 21st with registration starting in April.

Race organizers have not yet updated much of their website with information regarding the 2016 race but they do have lots of information about the race in general: http://www.pppbend.com/


#3 Mt. Hood Scramble

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the very popular race known as Hood to Coast, but unless you were one of the lucky few to snag a slot when registration opened last fall you won’t be able to run in this year’s race. However, you can still enjoy the beauty of Mt. Hood and challenge your physical limits in the annual running of the Mt. Hood Scramble. This race is put on by the increasingly popular X-Dog Events crew and is marketed as the “Grandfather of Filth”. The course will take you across the cinder slopes of Mt. Hood, forging streams and scrambling from rock to rock as you traverse approximately 6 miles of rough terrain. The race date is scheduled for June 19th and entry is limited to 400 participants. Registration is currently open so sign up quick to grab a spot!

You can register and find more information at their website: http://www.xdogevents.com/mounthoodscramble.html  

crater-lake-52871_1280#4 Crater Lake Rim Run

If you are looking for races with a scenic view, the Crater Lake Rim Run is hard to beat. As you may have guessed this race takes place on the paved road circumnavigating Crater Lake. Participants may choose between a 6.7 mile run/walk, a half marathon or a marathon, but all courses promise a view unlike many you have seen before. Do not be fooled by the beautiful setting though; this race covers altitudes ranging from 5,980 to 7,850 feet above sea level. The running of the 40th annual Crater Lake Rim Run will take place on August 13th this year. The field is limited to 500 participants and those spots fill up fast after registration opens on March 1st.

Check out their website to find out more: http://www.craterlakerimruns.com/  

smith-rock-905942_1920#5 Smith Rock Ascent 50k, 15 mile, 4 mile

Hopefully you have had ample opportunity to enjoy the stunning setting of Smith Rock State Park, whether it was win a different light. On May 7th of this year you have the option of choosing between a 4 mile course, a 15 mile course or a staggering 50 km course, all of which will lead you through the trails of the park on a literally breathtaking series of ascents. If road races are more your style and you still want to get the beautiful views of central Oregon, then May 8th is your day, with the option of either a 10 km or half marathon run. Registration is currently open with spots filling up fast.

Visit their website today to find out more and secure your entry: https://gobeyondracing.com/races/smith-rock-ascent/