News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Runners brave chilly start

Close to a thousand runners gathered in Sisters Saturday to participate in the FivePine Happy Girls Run. Runners from as far away as Minnesota and Texas took part in the two-section event. A little over 500 registered for the half-marathon (13.1 miles) and just under 500 for the 5K (3.1 miles).

The 36-degree temperature at start time, abetted by a 5-to-10-mph wind, made for a frosty sendoff. The overcast skies did not dampen the mood. It seemed to be all smiles even as runners huddled near propane warming pits and patio heaters. Free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate courtesy of the highly sponsored event made for long lines at the row of porta potties.

Sisters Park & Recreation District was the beneficiary of the event. Registration for the 5K was $40 in June and rose to $60 on race day. Half marathoners who registered in June paid $80, and on Saturday some last-minute entries coughed up $100.

Happy Girl Runs take place in Spokane, Bend, and Sisters.

Half-marathoners took off at 9:10 a.m. in three waves for a winding and in some cases narrow and rocky course through Peterson Ridge in the Deschutes National Forest. The 5K runners (and walkers) embarked at 9:30 a.m. on an all-pavement flat course through and around downtown.

There were three aid stations on the half-marathon course, not including the start and finish line. There was one on the 5K course. Aid stations were fully supplied with water, GU Brew and GU gels. The course included mile markers.

Strollers were allowed on the 5K course and a couple dozen were spotted. Men were allowed to run but were not eligible for awards. About a dozen male runners joined in, with a fastest time of 2:03:27 by Trevor Niblock. The top five women finishers easily beat their male counterparts.

Bella Distante eked out a 14-second win over second- place Misha Knea with a time of 1:40:24. The top five women were separated by only 1 minute and 34 seconds.

Eleven-year-old Leighton Allen was the youngest finisher at 3:08:00. Bethany McKinstry, 13, clocked in at 1:59:29. Amy Jermann, age 69, completed the course in 2:04:37.


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