Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Race Recap: Helvetia Half Marathon, 10K and Kids' Dash

Race Recap:  Helvetia Half Marathon and 10K and kid's dash. June, 7th, 2014.

It's hard not to compare this race to Hippie Chicks Half, because both are put on by Better Series events, they have the same start and finish line and were 26 days apart.

2,055 racers participated in the half or 10k distance for Helvetia (while 2,287 were at Hippie Chick.  It seemed like the Helvetia Half was a lot smaller, but when looking at the numbers, there isn't a big difference.  Maybe there were less people there for support, like family and friends to cheer?).

There were some vendors offering samples before and after the race and allstate was giving out cowbells...  We got our cowbell.

After the extremely quick bagcheck, I met with some friends before the race for some photos and then off to get Bugaboo and Squeakers ready for the kids' dash.  

Hippie Chick's Kids' dash had us run through the finish gate and off the field and down the sidewalk, (watch out for cars turning into the event parking lot!) and around the corner to who knows where for how long.  Bugaboo had started crying because she was clearly one of the youngest and the racers ahead were all gone.  She didn't want to go anymore and I wasn't going to force her.

I didn't know what to expect at Helvetia.... but I was looking at the kids' dash with trepidation.  At least it was Free?  

We queued up at the finish gate again and this time it was a nice lap around the stadium track.

No traffic.
Cheers from all the people finishing their warm up or hanging out for the race to start.
One lap.

 Bugaboo told me her legs were "too short" when we started, but I told her "Mama is gonna run with you.  I'll stay with you."    And she seemed to ease into her race and have fun instead of worry about not finishing it.

Squeakers was the youngest runner there and refused any help with her race.  She is approaching 20 months in age (very independent)  and she ran the 1/4 mile herself hollering "ZOOOOOM!" and carrying her cowbell.

Apparently people on the sideline cheered "We need more cowbell!" and she'd stop to ring it for them.  It goes without saying that the announcer broadcasted that the kids' dash was over and Squeakers was still out on the course.  She rounded the corner and I screamed and cheered like a proud mama and told the announcer "Here comes my baby!" and he got on the PA for everyone to cheer her in.  She got to the end, got some photos with her sister, awarded her medal and took off for a second lap.  Dad had to reel her back in.

The kids' who participated got a meal voucher for The Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant and a medal.  I was so excited for them and thought about the pride on their faces with their medal during my race.   They got the same medal that I would get when I finished.

A friend of mine ran the 10K and was also thrilled and surprised when she was awarded her medal at the finish line.  The website explains that there are medals for all half marathon finishers.  What a nice treat for all the racers.

Ribbons and mugs were given to the top three male and female finishers in each age group.

The webpage explained that pace groups would be provided by Team Athena, but I looked for a pacer and didn't see any.  (At Hippie Chicks, the Team Athena pacers were easily marked with a sign at the start line with their pace and wearing a helium balloon tied to them while running.)  

The course is hilly, and I admit that I have not been doing hill training like I should be... but I found the course extremely beautiful and the hills were a fun challenge.  The race is billed as one where we "leave the city behind" and we really do.  Hippie Chicks had some pretty farm views and fields of clover, but for Helvetia, we travelled North of Highway 26 and passed the Helvetia Tavern and The Roloff Farm along our route.


The half marathoners passed through rolling hills, steep hills, winding roads and back to the Hillsboro Stadium.   We passed by llamas, horses, fields of clover, fields of grass, Christmas tree farms, farms selling produce, a quaint little white church and cemetery, through a shady forest full of ferns and chirping birds...  IT WAS AMAZING!

3rd half and 6th race in 26 days... I finished slow.  But i finished! 

Between the two races, I know where I'd put my money.  Despite there being less pre race vendors and freebies, the race not having pacers or perhaps the post race food being located beyond the gate where alcohol was allowed (thus needing to find a safe place to put my beer to go get my burger)... Better Series went above and beyond to correct the problems that occurred at Hippie Chicks.  They did a great job at more organized and taking care of the issues from Hippie Chicks in the 26 day period.

There was plenty of water and water stations, porta potties were set up prior to the event (instead of during the event), the kids' dash was more realistic and safer (by staying on the stadium track and not crossing the event parking entrance), the post race food was amazing (Helvetia Tavern donated veggie and beef burgers), there was plenty of water after the race and the medals were much better.  I even saw a race photographer at the finish line and a couple out on the course within the first few miles.  

Will you be there next year to "leave the city behind"?  I'm curious, have you ran this event in the past?  How was it different (if at all) from past events?  


  1. Great write up. So glad they are working on issues and you and a great time. I did this course under the last ownership, and while beautiful, it was not one of my better races. Better because I cramped something fierce! I think it was only my 6th marathon ever! Hopefully you get great race photos!

    1. This one was my 6th too! That is too funny. :) I had so much fun. Looking forward to seeing how the photos came out, but I wasn't too sure about there being any photographers, so i brought my own camera this time and took selfies every mile. ;-) You could say I took this race nice and slow.