Queen of the High Road Race Recap

by Carissa

When we first learned of the race put on by our Wilsonville Sole Sisters, Tanya, Jodi and I knew it was an event we wanted to support.  Queen of the High Road is an annual half marathon held the weekend before Memorial Day in Wilsonville.  The event is open to runners and walkers and has two start times: 8am and 9am.

For weeks before the event women met on Saturday mornings in Wilsonville, Sherwood and Tigard.  They built up stamina and made friendships.  Though I didn’t attend a Saturday training run/walk, I could tell the race was a celebration of all of those weeks spent preparing.  This race was not about who crossed the finish line first.

Right about the time I was starting to wrap my head around getting ready to race a half marathon my running buddy encouraged me to throw my race ambitions aside.  Becky is a Queen of the High Road veteran and one of the women who headed up the Tigard training team.  She has a huge smile and a gift for encouraging others.  She told me the race would have no clock, no timing chip, and no bib.  What!?  I wasn’t used to this kind of a race!  I embraced the spirit of the day and committed to running with my friends Becky and Anne-Marie.
Me, Becky and Anne-Marie

The morning of the race excitement buzzed in the air.  All around me women were gathering with their friends, ready to face the challenge of 13.1.  I checked in, got my hand stamped and was ready to go.  At 8am we lined up toward the front.  It was gray and wet.  When the race began a few women pulled out in front for an early lead.  Becky wanted to start around a 9:15 pace.  I was having a hard time letting the leading women pull ahead.  Passing them was within our reach but that was outside of Becky’s pace plan.  The first few miles were in the 8:20s.  By mile five Becky was dropping back and I had to kick my competitive spirit to the curb so that I could run the race with Becky.  Sorry for being such a lousy pacer Becky!  

I have a reputation for being a klutz and I further solidified that with a spill during the race.  We were running up a hill.  Anne-Marie and I turned around to encourage Becky who was a few steps behind us.  Running backwards isn’t the brightest of ideas especially when you’re not paying attention.  I hit a curb and landed on my back.  My elbow was scraped up, my back bruised and I was too busy laughing at myself to notice.  A little bloody I carried on until I reached an aid station and bandaged up my elbow.  

Along the course there were arrows to direct the ladies.  I wasn’t familiar with Wilsonville  nor was I familiar with the race course so making sure to catch those signs was important.  For the most part there were women in front of us and we could take their lead.  However, at one point along the course following the arrow led us right into a court!  I suspect the sign had been tampered with as someone’s idea of a joke.

Around mile eight we started running with another woman named Julia.  She was running her second half marathon and holding a steady pace.  With only a few miles to go I pulled ahead with her.  I chatted away hoping to distract her and trying to not be completely annoying.  Once the finish line was in sight I picked up my speed and ran hard the rest of the way.  My stats were: 12.86 miles in 1:51:42.  At the finish line the women of the Wilsonville Sole Sisters were waiting with big smiles, encouraging words and a tiara.  Next I was handed a gift bag.  Inside was earrings, a coupon for a cupcake and a massage discount.  

As soon as Becky and Anne-Marie crossed the finish line they wanted to get back on the course to encourage other women finishing their race.  They had clearly bonded with these other runners during the weeks leading up to the race.  I was tired but rallied enough to head back out.  Later that morning as Anne-Marie and I headed home we stopped by Seriously Cupcakes for a delicious free cupcake.  A sweet treat to finish off a sweet morning with some beautiful women.      
Becky and Stephanie after the race.
These two led the Tigard training team

If you want to train to run or walk a half marathon in a supportive, non-competitive environment, head on over to the Wilsonville Sole Sister page.  Join their mailing list and get involved.  Groups of women are continuing to train Saturday mornings throughout the summer.  Thanks for inspiring us Jules, Lisa and Ann!


  1. I love that you got a tiarra when you finished! And the QHR 13.1 t-shirts are pretty cool too! I have a hard time shutting off the competitive runner switch when I am pacing someone too. Even when I was pregnant and running races "for fun" I was often tempted to pick up the pace until I remembered I was not RACING this time. It's hard to switch gears like that.

    Sounds like a fun race. Great job ladies!

    1. I can totally picture pregnant and trying to tell yourself to slow down! :) I think the tiara is a fun idea too. I wish I had a little girl who I could pass it on to for pretend play. :)

  2. Sounds like a really fun race, I love the tiara idea! Sorry you took a spill. Every time I try to be fancy and run backwards bad things usually happen.

    1. Thanks Tasha! We should definitely stick to running forward!