Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunset Bay Trail Run 4 miler win

The South Coast running club in Coos bay / North Bend, Oregon, puts on several top-notch races. In the past I have found that although they are not chip timed, they are accurate, well staffed, and fun to participate in. The Sunset Bay Trail run was no different.

I've seen this race on the calendar for a few years, and for some reason or another (probably because it is usually near my anniversary, this race was held 9/3/2016) , I never managed to make it to participate.
This year I wanted to race enough to come and check the trails out ahead of time.

 It turns out finding an online course map for this race is actually pretty difficult! I took a photo at the race of the map used by the RD, so that I could add it to the post in case anybody else is looking for a map of the actual race course.

On race day, the biggest challenge is usually finding someone to take care of the boys while I run. This year, I owe a thank you to my father-in-law for watching the younger two boys while my oldest came along to join me in the 4 miler.

The race starts at Sunset Bay, Oregon State Park, with a very scenic singletrack trail that has views of the Pacific ocean and twisting turns under coastal pines. It's stunning. If you have time to take in the view!

Before the race, I did about a 1 mile warm-up jog while the half marathoners got their head start. My son stayed near the race start, I think a little nervous, and perhaps pretty confident that he was ready to go. 

I was sad that the kids 1 mile run started 15 minutes earlier than advertised on Facebook, so my youngest was not at the park in time for it. 

 When the 4 mile race started, runners had to cross dry sand, then go around a cone and back for about a half a mile before heading uphill on the singletrack trail. 

Almost all of the younger runners took off in a dead sprint. I guess because of my old age, I know better. So, as soon as we were out of the sand I took a position ahead of several of them. One of these was my son. I love to race, but I look forward to the day when my son will get that lead and hold it. 

From that point on we traveled uphill and then along a beautiful coastal trail with dirt and pine needles. 

For 10 dollars, you get this view.

For the most part, the trail for the 4 mile race stays at the same elevation. There were a couple of significant drops and rises, but the main concern for anyone running this race would be roots and tripping. Luckily someone had sprayed many of the major roots with white spray paint. 

The turnaround point was just before Shore Acres park. There had been very little passing after the first half mile. And then there was no more passing for me (that I knew of) until the very end. With less than a half a mile to go, I almost took a wrong turn, then saw a marking which led me to realize I was taking the wrong path. I turned back about 5 yards and took a different fork in the trail.

From that point on it was a fast downhill run to the finish. When I crossed the line I discovered that I was the first overall finisher! 

About 40 seconds later a young man came through. Evidently, he had been ahead of me for most of the race, but had made a wrong turn in the same spot I had, and didn't discover it until I had gone past. 

He was very young, and had a great attitude about the whole situation, getting chicked by a 41-year-old woman, and all.

I stretched and waited for the rest of the runners to come in, anxiously looking for my son. I'm not sure what his placement was, but I was so happy to see him complete another trail race, even if it wasn't what he thought he was capable of. I hope he will continue racing so that we can have this time together. 

So much tougher than he expected. I am super proud of his distance PR.

Between all of the race distances, there were actually quite a few participants. During the race there had been games for kids to do where they could win prizes. My younger kids absolutely loved fishing over the top of some cardboard screen to see what kind of prize they could win.

The awards ceremony went quickly, and some really nice prizes were raffled off. Even though I won a plaque,  I was not disqualified from the raffle, and won a gift certificate to a Charleston seafood restaurant. That made my day! 

Overall, I was quite happy with this race from the organization to the course marking and marshaling, to the cost of entry. It's not really much further for me to drive to race on the coast than it is to race in Eugene, so I will try to do more races over there in the future. 

If you live in the area or just want to come see the Oregon coast at the best time of year, I highly recommend checking this race out. Camping accommodations can be found at Sunset Bay, but must be booked several months in advance.


  1. Nice win and good job to your son for toughing it out, too. Four miles on the trail is long for a kiddo.

    1. It sure is Gracie! He did great.
      I forgot to mention that there were several other kids from middle school and high school cross country teams in the race.

  2. Congrats to both of you and a big woot for the WIN! I hope your younger son wasn't too disappointed he missed the race. That's a bummer. What a gorgeous course!

    1. He was pretty bummed Marcia. Luckily all the games distracted him though, and playing in the beach is a good second activity plan!

  3. Big congrats to mother and son. No doubt that your son has you as a role model

    1. Thanks Benjamin! I love him to pieces. :)

  4. Congrats on the win, but I'm guessing that even better than that is the fact that your son ran, too. Congrats to him, too!

    1. Thanks Tina! It was a better day because he joined me, for sure!

  5. Congratulations on the win!! That is awesome your son ran a new distance :) and in such a great place, the views are stunning.
    That is nice someone sprayed the roots! That is a nice little detail.

    1. Ha! It definitely gave me something to focus on while my breathing went through the roof :)

  6. Oregon Envy! Sounds fun Raina, and congrats to both of you!!

  7. Well done! To you and your son. Lucky you had your wits about you with the wrong turn. The Oregon coast is spectacular - great venue for a trail race.


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