This morning I went out to SE Hawthorne to take a peek at Portland’s very first Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. I was excited because it’s pretty rare that you can stand on the corner of SE Hawthorne and 43rd and watch a race go by. It started and ended down on the Waterfront like most of them do, but almost no Portland race goes out to the Hawthorne area. I got there about 15 minutes before the fastest runners would come by, so I chatted with the road monitor a little bit. He was a very friendly guy who knew almost nothing about the race that was happening, but it turns out he was working for a crowd management company through a temp agency. His unemployment ran out in December, so now he’s doing random temp jobs, and was lucky enough to get to be paid to stand out and watch some of Portland’s finest runners go by. He did tell me that he knew that the race organizers tried to get every single person helping out to be on the payroll, which is impressive. I’ve volunteered at many races where I stood next to ROAD CLOSED signs and told cars to go away, and I never got paid for it. This also helps to explain why the race entry is so expensive (for a while it’s not quite so bad, but if you register at the race expo it costs $150).
I don’t have a lot more to add, since I was only there for a few minutes and didn’t see the finish or anything, but here’s a quick video of the top runners going by. The top three looked like they weren’t even trying. Next time I’m going to get videos of the runners going more at ten minute pace, it’s funny to see how different people act during a race depending on whether they’re fast or slow. Apologies for the shaky camera at times, and I’m pretty sure I caught Kara Goucher there at the very end, but only from the back.
Pascal was with me the whole time too, only crying a little bit.