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Big crowds come out for the ORRC's annual 10K and 20.12K road races to celebrate the new year
by: John Schrag The Oregon Road Runners Club held its annual 
Y2K12 race 
on Saturday and the event drew nearly 600 competitors to Forest Grove for 10K and 20.12K races, plus a two-mile 
fun run.

The Oregon Road Runners Club kicked off the new year in style, hosting one of the club's most successful running events to date.

The annual Y2K12 race drew nearly 600 competitors to Forest Grove on Saturday for 10K and 20.12K races and a two-mile fun run, easily surpassing last year's total of 390 registered participants.

Race director Barb Schimmel said the increased turnout was due to a number of factors, including the club's decision to push the event back a week and hold it on a weekend, and Saturday's 10K was also the first in a series of seven road races that the ORRC is sponsoring this year.

'Moving the event to a Saturday and a week after the new year might have made it more accessible for many participants,' Schimmel said. 'This is the first event of the ORRC '10K Series,' which has become a very popular and affordable package-deal of running events offered by the club.'

Jonathan Marcus of Portland won the 20.12K race on Saturday with a time of one hour, eight minutes and 59 seconds. Former Forest Grove High School cross country standout James Myers finished sixth at the longer distance, taming the course in 1:14.40.

Carolyn Green, from Notre Dame, Ind., was the first female finisher in the 20.12K race, winning in 1:26.37.

Richard Franzese of Portland won the 10K event with a time of 33:12, and Samone Brockett, also of Portland, was the top women's finisher in 42:59.

Many local runners fared well on Saturday, including Elena Parker, who ran the 20.12K race in 1:33:30 to win the women's 50-54 age group.

'This is one of my favorite races of the year, in part because it is in my home town and I don't have to travel far or get up at the crack of dawn, but mostly I just love the low key nature of this event,' Parker said. 'I love seeing people I know in my community and I love the race course.'

The ORRC added a few new touches to the race this year and partnered with Hagg Lake Harriers, another local running group, to provide pancakes and coffee after the race at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School.

'Also new this year was the drummer at the finish line, which ... gave me a boost to do a little sprint to the finish,' Parker said, 'and shortly thereafter into the warm building (for) hot pancakes and juice served by a very friendly crew in the kitchen.'

The event drew rave reviews from many participants, and Schimmel said the ORRC is excited about the increased turnout and the positive word-of-mouth that the race generated.

'It seems that running events in general have been gaining in popularity in recent years,' she said. 'You don't have to be an elite athlete to feel welcome at an event with the Oregon Road Runners Club. There were approximately 300 awards given in all, including finisher ribbons for the two-mile fun run.

'Between that and the pancake breakfast, we had a lot of happy participants at the finish line.'

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