April 8, 2015
By Amy Whitley
Photo at right: Kids race toward the finish line. Photo courtesy of Natural Vitality Kids.
Running and cycling as a family reinforces key values I want to instill in my kids: a love for the outdoors, a desire to challenge oneself physically, and the fun of exploring new places in the Pacific Northwest.
We consider local fun runs and triathlons to be family traditions, and participate while we’re on the road. Finding a family race can be the perfect solution for pent-up, road-tripping kids!
Whether you participate in running events as a family close to home or like to travel for races, the Northwest boasts some of the most scenic (and yes, most challenging) courses for all ages.
Below are four of our favorites, due to their atmosphere and focus on participation.
Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival
June 26 – 28, 2015
The Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival in Sunriver, Ore. includes a Boston-qualifying marathon, half marathon, and cycle events, plus a 5k, 10k and dedicated kids’ events like a Splash and Dash and triathlon. The courses are largely flat and very safe as they wind through the resort community.
Throughout the weekend, there’s a lively, festival atmosphere for the whole family.
May 3, 2015
Spokane’s Bloomsday run continues to be one of the biggest race days in the Pacific Northwest with over 50,000 participants. While it doesn’t offer multiple race lengths, it’s a great fit for families ready to challenge themselves on the 12k course. Walkers are also welcome, as are strollers (with a designated start time).
We’ve run this race multiple times, watching the kids grow from stroller participants to, well, kicking our behinds.
Columbia River Kids’ Triathlon
July 17, 2015
This triathlon is for kids age 6 –16 and takes place at Frenchman’s Bar Park on the banks of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Wash.
Part of the annual Columbia River Triathlon & Fitness Festival, there are multiple events to enter, which makes it a great destination race for families to attend together.
Silver Falls Trail Runs
Nov. 7– 8, 2015
With ultra-marathon, marathon, half, and 7-mile options, this steep, often muddy trail run located in Silver Falls State Park, Ore. (30 miles southeast of Salem) is not for the faint of heart.
What you sacrifice in tough terrain you’ll more than make up for in scenic vistas.
A great event to build up to, parents can expect to slow down here and there with kids in tow, as stone staircases and steep inclines pocket the course.
Wherever you find yourself running this year, remember proper footwear, stay hydrated, and enjoy your time away as a family. Keep those race numbers: they look great displayed on any kid’s wall!
Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival: aasportsltd.com/event/pacificcrest
Columbia River Kids’ Triathlon: www.visitvancouverusa.com/includes/calendar-of-events/Columbia-River-Triathlon-Fitness-Festival/17307
Silver Falls Trail Runs: www.silverfallsmarathon.com
Amy Whitley of Medford, Ore., writes about her family adventures in NW Kids in every edition of OutdoorsNW. Miss a column? Log onto www.OutdoorsNW.com and search NW Kids. You can follow more of Amy’s adventures at www.PitStopsforKids.com