Race Recap: PDX Runway Run

After a 24 mile training run the previous weekend (last long run before the Portland Marathon!), I had a great time this weekend running a shorter distance at the very first PDX runway run!

The run was an unusual distance, 6K, but the real draw of the race was the chance to run on a runway at Portland International Airport. Jason and I met up with our friends Jason and Melissa for the run.

Pre-race, taking a pic with a fighter jet in the background.

Pre-race, taking a pic with a fighter jet in the background.

The race was really the Jasons’s idea, and at first, I imagined a boring out and back course on a flat, featureless  runway. In actuality, it was a ton of fun running this race!

It was extremely well organized. After parking in the near the Target in the Cascade Station shopping center, we caught a shuttle bus that took us to a small pre-race area filled with booths. The bag check was before a security screening checkpoint and we were sad to check our warm jackets and clothing before heading toward the start line. We did have to carry photo ID on us, which were checked against a list before we could enter the start line area. The entire process went very smoothly.

They had signage up explaining various features of the runway, which was a cool touch.

They had signage up explaining various features of the runway, which was a cool touch.

Although the weekend was supposed to be warm, there was a thick cloud layer preventing any morning sun from warming the area. It was so cold, we ended up huddling for warmth. Maybe it would have been worth it to wear a long sleeve and just push up my sleeves for the run, but I run so hot I almost never wear long sleeve shirts.

Melissa and I huddle for warmth before the start of the race.

Melissa and I huddle for warmth before the start of the race.

Music was playing, there was a fighter jet to look at, and the place was hopping. Maybe people were dressed up with an appropriate airplane theme and I saw lots of PDX carpet gear. In fact, the prizes for the top three in each age group was an authentic carpet square.

Running on the runway was a unique experience because of how much space there was to run. The race had about 2500 people and there was simply a ton of space. It was much bigger than any road I’ve ever run on and it felt exhilarating.

Running down the runway!

Running down the runway!

I took off fairly fast, and I made the decision to run without an interval timer this time and just run my race by how I felt. I settled down into a good pace for the first half of the race, taking in the sights, and a few selfies.

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I’ve certainly never seen the tower from this angle!

In general, out-and-back courses are less than ideal, because you are running essentially the same course twice. However, I love them when I know other people running, but am running by myself. I cheered Jason as he was running back towards the finish, but missed spotting Melissa. Very soon, I was reaching the turn around, where there was another jet.

The volunteers along the course were great, cheering us along and yes, even taking pictures for us.

The volunteers along the course were great, cheering us along and yes, even taking pictures for us.

After the turnaround, I spotted Jason2 and his friend who were powerwalking the course. I also got to watch planes taking off. In addition to the entertainment of the airport traffic, the Portland Taiko drummers were also out near the water stop and I always love hearing them.

Even though it had been almost a week since my 24 mile run, I started to feel those miles nearer to the end of this run. My shin started bothering me, which is unusual for such a short distance. My feet also just felt tired. I know I slowed down in the latter part of the race, but I still had enough to sprint to the finish line, where Jason and Melissa were cheering.

Jason snapped a photo, just as Im slowing down after crossing the finish.

Jason snapped a photo, just as I’m slowing down after crossing the finish.

After the finish, I received my cute little finisher medal and then we waited for the rest of our group to finish. Then we all ran back to the small expo area where we were treated to special PDX runway cookies.

A #pdxrunwayrun cookie! With @jaskentner

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

I’d had hopes that perhaps Jason would win a carpet square, but even coming in 25th wasn’t quite fast enough this time. After checking our times, we reboarded the shuttle buses and then headed to lunch at Red Robin!

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Distance: 6K
Time: 42:41
Ran With: Myself
Best Part: Crossing the narrower starting line and then bursting out onto a super wide course!

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