Bowerman 5k Race Report – Coach Brian Comer

Race: Bowerman 5K

Runner: Coach Brian Comer

Race Date: 08/05/2023

Location: Nike WHQ Beaverton, Oregon


3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. The race takes place on the Nike WHQ campus. Seeing the various features of the campus, from athlete statues to the track lined with trees, is always cool and exciting.
  2. Competition and course are both fast. Definitely a race where you can run a PR. For the kids, there is also an elementary 1K that’s free and run prior to the 5k.
  3. The post-race party is pretty good and features a free raffle. There’s also a pop up shop where you can buy merch.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

Not too much to speak on here but note that they don’t offer a bag check so unless you have a car, prepare to stash belongings in the courtyard by the start/finish.

Photo: Maggie Troxell @magz.memz

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

Not weird but definitely something cool and unique is the fact that Evan Jager acted as the starter for the race.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

It wasn’t necessarily hot but it was humid and muggy so I was able to adapt my warmup accordingly where I wasn’t doing too much but also still did enough to feel warm and ready once the gun went off given the shorter race distance. Race got out fast (coming through the mile in 4:40 and 2 mile in 9:36 while not even being in the lead pack) but I was able to mentally stay in it and compete with the people around me. Despite the incline of the 2nd mile, effort was maintained and I was able to finish strong, clocking a new PR in the process. Seeing all the buildings, Nike Woods/Hollister Trail, banners featuring athletes, basketball and sand volleyball courts was cool of course as aforementioned.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

There is plenty of competition but like any distance race, do your best not to go out too fast. No matter your pace, there’s plenty of people to run with but once you get past the chaotic start, it’s easy to carve out your own space and settle in.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

While there was an incline the 2nd mile, it wasn’t necessarily steep. However, it was still enough of one that it psyched myself and a few others out. In hindsight, I would have pushed it more there knowing that the last mile would take care of itself.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course changed a little compared to last year and previous years. Given the high frequency of course changes and variability this could change but the course lends itself to being able to run tangents smoothly with the gradual nature of turns. There was only one hairpin turn just after the 2nd mile serving as a turnaround as you make your way back to the finish but there is plenty of room so your not stopping on a dime, going around a single cone, and turning around.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Despite how urban the area is, there is definitely plenty to see and look at so I’d say it’s scenic.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not really, the aforementioned 2nd mile climb was the only one but given the turnaround, it lends itself to a fast finish. Course is otherwise pretty flat and given it’s on the roads, there is sure footing throughout.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Yes it was super organized and well run. In the past, there have been timing mishaps but that didn’t happen this year.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes absolutely, probably the fastest road 5k around, at least in the PNW. Winner ran 14:11 and I ran 15:06 for 9th place overall.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Nothing too specific but like all races, registration fees go up the closer it is to race day. You’ll be sent an email with race details and a QR code to scan at check in to get your bib, timing chips are attached to the bib.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Pretty standard, had a couple tents with tables set up with water.

Weather and typical race conditions

Usually warm, rarely wet. Cloud cover this year made it so the weather was particularly muggy.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Just yourself, your watch, and a pair of fast road racing flats.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Overall pretty spectator friendly. With some fast walking or jogging you can see the start along with earlier portions of the race. The latter half went by the finish so for those looking to stay in one place, if you went by the finish, you could see runners 3 different times without moving or with minimal movement.

How’s the Swag?

Pretty good, all registered get a race shirt and they have past race shirts for sale at the pop up merch tent along with some other nice Nike/Bowerman gear.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 stars, definitely would recommend this race to others.

Brian Comer is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.

Photo: Maggie Troxell @magz.memz