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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation July 26, 2017

3/14/2017 1:21:00 PM
Running commentary
A competitor and his pal during the 2016 Peterson Ridge Rumble. photo by Charlie Kanzig
+ click to enlarge
A competitor and his pal during the 2016 Peterson Ridge Rumble. photo by Charlie Kanzig

By Charlie Kanzig

As I drove down Wagon Wheel in Tollgate yesterday on my way home, I saw a runner ahead of me moving at a strong pace and witnessed real proof that this long winter of our discontent is truly behind us - because that crazy runner wore nothing but his Nikes and a pair of shorts!

In addition to the bare-chested runner, the sights and sounds of robins chirping, frogs croaking and crocuses pushing up through the dirt also signaled that perhaps spring really has arrived.

Many people have expressed to me their symptoms of cabin fever, feelings of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and general impatience of not being able to get out onto the running trails for which we are all normally so blessed to have access. This is not to say that trails are in fantastic shape. Snow remnants, puddles, and mud are on full display making running a little more challenging right now. Mountain bikers are encouraged to wait a little longer before hitting the established trails since the conditions right now leave the trails vulnerable to a lot of extra wear and tear. But soon enough we will all be back out walking, hiking, running, and biking throughout this paradise we call home.

Now that the snow has retreated it's a great time to get into a race in the Central Oregon area.

A variety of local running events are coming up in the weeks ahead that provide a fun way to join fellow runners in celebrating the end of winter. All of the races below are posted on the Footzone of Bend website at

There are a number of races in honor of St. Patrick's Day, but the annual St. Pattie's Shamrock Run here in Sisters will not take place this year due to loss of access to the traditional course. However, there is the St. Patrick's Day Dash is in Bend Saturday, March 18, for those who want to dress in green and chase the pot of gold.  

Another local race that looks like a lot of fun is the Sunriver March Mudness Spring Break Mud Run on Sunday, March 26. This is a short course (1.5 miles), which is replete with obstacles and lots and lots of mud.

A unique single-track trail run for those ready to go a little farther is the Horse Butte 10 Miler on April 2, but it is limited to 200 runners so you may want to make that decision today. The course is about 10 miles southeast of downtown Bend.

A week later on April 9 the Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 and 40 mile takes place right here in Sisters. This race attracts hundreds of runners from throughout the northwest and has become a favorite among ultra-runners.

Also on April 9 is the Salmon Run, one of the longest running races in Central Oregon which, in its 29th year, features distances of 13.1 miles, 10 kilometers, 5 kilometers, and a "Small Fry" run for kids.

The April race calendar concludes with the Sisters "Better Half" half marathon on Saturday, April 29, which can be done individually or in two-person-relay fashion. The paved course includes paths and residential streets around Sisters. Proceeds go to the Sisters High School swim team.

I think of the romantic phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" as a parallel to the deeper appreciation we feel now that we can finally enjoy our beloved trails here in Sisters Country after months of snow cover.

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