Race Report: 2015 Pints to Pasta Half Marathon

Since I was in Portland, I figured I might as well run the Pints to Pasta Half Marathon this weekend.

I probably should have looked at the course map a little more closely, although I suspect I would have signed up anyways.

This race is best described as poorly organized with a hellishly hilly route.

Lots of runners, not enough buses

The poorly organized part: fortunately the 10km was most affected by this while the half marathon suffered only from a delayed start. I seriously beat many of the 10km runners to the start line and I ran the 10km course in reverse as part of the half.

They had 2,000 people to shuttle to the start, and only two buses. It was a mess at the finish. A real shame. Runners were as much as 75 minutes late to the 10km start as a result, and many didn’t get to run at all.

Hills, hills and more hills

The hellish route part: this was the toughest half marathon I’ve ever raced. The first 1.8km were a steep uphill and that was just the first of what seemed like a never-ending series of long grinding climbs.

The worst part? It was an out-and-back so anytime we ran a downhill, it meant that we’d have to run the uphill on the way back.

The last 1.8km was a steep downhill blast that destroyed my legs. I ran a 4:30 and a 4:37 last two kilometres, to give you a sense of the grade. That was on very tired legs.

Here’s the elevation chart for reference. We’re talking 20% grades in two places and long, awful climbs up and over the bridge.


Yep. That’s a >20% grade going up at the start, and down at the finish. Oh, and a 2.5km climb from 17 to 19.5km.

52nd place, and top (also lone) Canadian!

As for the race itself, I was super happy with my run. I ran a 1:41:59 to finish 51st overall (out of 568 runners). I was 7th (out of 41) in my age group and ran my third fastest half ever on a really challenging course. Oh, and top Canadian!

I was hoping to run about a 1:45 given the route and amount of training I’ve done over the summer, and did far better than that.

I’m glad I ran it.

Pints to Pasta Half Marathon

I’m heading to Portland, Oregon next weekend for a work thing, and as luck would have it, I discovered that the Pints to Pasta Half Marathon is on Sunday, September 13th.

Once I checked the festival schedule, it became clear that I could squeeze in a Sunday morning half marathon and miss nothing! So I signed up.

Out and back route

The race, part of the Hood to Coast Race Series, starts down in the south end of Portland, then runs up and over a big hill (should have looked at the course, I guess), and then up through downtown before crossing the river and hitting the turnaround point in the north end of the city. From there, it’s back the way we came (including the hill). The half marathon is new this year and shares the course with the 10km race which starts at the half turnaround at the top, and finishes back at the start of the half.

Pints to Pasta refers to the fact that the 10km begins near the Widmer Brothers Gasthaus and Brewery, and finishes at the Old Spaghetti Factory. It looks like a really fun run with free after-race pasta and beer. Route map (PDF).

I’m looking forward to an unexpected and super fun half marathon. Given the course elevation, I don’t think I can better my 1:38:25 PB, but I’m planning to run a sub-1:40.

Here’s the official promo video:

[vimeo 110120673 w=500 h=281]

Pints to Pasta 10k Run & Walk from Hood to Coast Race Series on Vimeo.