During my visit to Portland in May, my sister and participated in what was called the Discovery Run. Road Runner Sports, the local running store hosts this FREE monthly event for the community. Runners of all ages, running levels, and paces can partake in the event.
The concept behind the Discovery Run is a 5K course is setup around 12 checkpoints that you run to to collect tickets. The volunteers at the checkpoints have the option to assign you a task to do in order to redeem your tickets. If you are wearing one of the “Discovery Run” shirts you get double the tickets, shirts are available for purchase. You only have an hour to hit up as ticket stops as you can, some may be at a business, others may be free standing like at a park. Once the run is complete you go through your tickets and tear off the stubs keeping the coupon part and turning in the “Ticket” part, the one half of the tickets are put in a bin and a raffle is drawn for prizes. Prizes can range from a free pair of shoes to the gift card at the running store, if one of the participating business was a restaurant they may donate a gift card or a free appetizer voucher to be give away, etc. The drawing lasts roughly a half hour with various winners.
Before I get to involved with my recap of the run, let me take you back to earlier in the day. Prior to running the event my sister and I spent part of the day volunteering to setup for the event. One of the perks to volunteering is after 3 shifts, you can get a free pair of shoes, yes you heard me correctly – free shoes! Obviously since I was only there on vacation my sister got to cash in on my hours.
We kicked off our shift by setting up tables, blocking off a portion of the parking lot, putting together packets for everyone and creating the signs and checkpoints for the map to be displayed just before the start of the event.
To help runners navigate to their checkpoints a map is posted, but not revealed till the start of the run. If you register online before hand, a map will also be emailed to you. Another plus is if you like the event on Facebook a special checkpoint will be revealed to those for additional tickets! The map lists the locations of the checkpoints, the address and the distance of the checkpoint from the start/finish. (completed map shown further down)
About an hour to and hour and a half before the event the vendors began to show up to set up. Such vendors and/or sponsor for this event included New Balance, Energy Events, Galazo, GenZe Local Bikes, a local massage therapist, and the hosts themselves, Road Runner Sports.
New Balance was there to demo out some of their shoes. I wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity to run in some new shoes! I opted to wear the Asym Counter model for the stability for my high arch. It felt like I was walking on a cloud, as you do with most shoes. The shoes felt pretty good during the run until I started to have a minor ache in my right shin. I don’t know if that was from the shoes, or just from the variety of exercise I took in over the past few days.
Now for the actual event, my sister had never actually participated in the event, always volunteering to max out hours for those free shoes! So this was a first time for both of us. At 6:45pm the map was revealed and the runners were on their way! Many runners were together in groups, or Road Runner provided you with the option to run with a pace group, however my sister and I decided to run just the two of us at our own leisurely pace. The first two stops we made were right in the shopping center, Supercuts and Tualatin Modern Dentistry. If you checked in on Facebook at the dentist you received double tickets.
Famous Daves was next door however we decided to wait and stop by on our back, so we carried on to L.A. Fitness. At L.A. Fitness you had to attempt to hula hoop to earn your tickets. After our stop at L.A. Fitness we continued on the GenZe Bikes, located behind L.A. Fitness, from there we continued on. Remember that secret checkpoint I told you about earlier? Well of course we couldn’t not include that in our route so we headed over to Tualatin Commons where Golazo was hosting that checkpoint. Once we arrived we were able to sample some more flavors AND if you ran through the fountain, right through the center completely soaking you, you received double tickets. Now let me pause you here for a moment, in Portland, the hottest part of the day is 4pm-5pm. Here in Florida, the hottest part is 1pm-3pm so this was an adjustment and running just shortly after the wave made for a very toasty run. Upon hearing about the opportunity to run through the fountain my sister and I looked at each other and said ‘why not?’ I mean I wasn’t wearing my own running shoes and the Golazo reps offered to watch our phones, key fobs, etc. The water was cold, but refreshing and the perfect way to cool down.
Next we made our way over to Tualatin Park where we were able to knock off two separate checkpoints. The first was by New Balance, here you had to dribble a soccer ball a couple hundred feet and the second checkpoint was hosted by Running Wild Race. They had an optional archery and if you hit a target you received double tickets.
By this point we were closing in on 40 minutes or so and we only had an hour to complete as many of the checkpoints as possible. We decided to start making our way back stopping by Birra Pub where this was the “official” water stop of the run. Though by the time we got there they were out of water so we just picked up our tickets and continued on. By this point I was developing a headache, but not just any headache, my head was pounding and began to have trouble breathing. My sister reminded me the air is much drier and we are at a high altitude that I am used to so we decided to walk it out for a bit. Famous Daves was our last stop and then we were in the homestretch.
Upon crossing the finish they had snow cones, root beer floats, Lagunitas beer and more Golazos! We helped ourselves to a snow cone each and I grabbed a Lemon Lime Golazos. Then we returned the New Balance shoes for our shoes and began to sort and separate out tickets from the stubs for the drawing.
The event started about 15 mins later than it normally does which pushed everything back by about 15 mins. The drawing began around 8:00pm and there were a handful of winners with the raffle lasting close to 45 mins with prizes like New Balance Shoes, Camelbak Backpack, Honey Stinger Fuel, foam roller, compression gear, a massage, gift cards, vouchers, etc. Unfortunately I was not the recipient of any of those things, but that’s ok, I still had a great time!
It was a well organized event with a huge turn out! A big thanks to Stephanie at Road Runner Sports Tualatin for coordinating raffle prizes and checkpoints with other businesses to make all of this happen.
Does your local running store offer an event like this?
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