Race organizers have added new features in hopes of drawing 500 runners

The Camellia Festival Run has always had its own unique flair, like how it awards each participant with a potted camellia after the race.

Last year, the race came to conclusion under some pretty cool circumstances, reflecting the great attitude that most runners seem to have brought with them to the annual Newberg race.

“We had a 74-year old woman go through the finish line on her walker on the 5K in the rain,” Chehalem Park and Recreation District public information coordinator Kat Ricker said. “Most of the runners were done, so we all rushed out to the curb to cheer her on as she ran through. That was really cool.”

Moments like those have helped the event blossom and organizers are hoping to take another big step forward when it returns April 12 for its fourth GARY ALLEN - Shooting for 500 runners this year - In 2013, more than 220 runners participated in the annual Camellia Festival Run, which started in front of the Chehalem Cultural Center. This year's race will see a change in the start as the majority of the Camellia Festival will be held on the CCC's forecourt.

“It’s grown each year quite a bit,” Ricker said. “It’s almost doubled each year. Last year we reached 225 runners and we’re targeting 500 this year.”

To help hit that goal, the race has networked with some bigger races and courted several new vendors, who will gather for a fitness jamboree near the finish line.

Instead of giving out the standard race T-shirt, participants who register by Monday will receive a $10 gift card to Fit Right Northwest, which can be used at the jamboree following the race.

The starting and ending points of the 10K run and 5K run/walk will be slightly different this year to accommodate the fact that most of the festival will be held outdoors at the Chehalem Cultural Center’s new forecourt.

Cost is $25 for all ages if registered by April 7, with the cost $30 after that and $35 on the day of the race. All proceeds will benefit CPRD youth sports.

Prizes will be awarded to the first male and female competitors in each five-year age group.

For more information, or to register, visit www.camellia

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