This Friday, July 4th will mark my eleventh year of participation in Eugene’s most popular road race: the annual Aquafina Butte to Butte, now in its 41st year. Though I first began enrolling in this run as a means to impress my crew coaches, it has turned into a father/daughter tradition that I plan to keep up for as long as we both shall run.
With either a 5K or 10K run, or a 4.5 mile walk option, this event is family friendly and a community favorite. Each year, more and more competitors join the roster, from Lane Country and areas far beyond. Together, we wake up with the sun, pack ourselves two to a seat on complimentary school bus shuttles, await the sound of the starting gun, and in what feels like a wave of movement, carry each other across the finish line.
I look forward to spying Lady Liberty (in full costume), turning down the donuts and whiskey shots offered to me by onlookers, and finally, enjoying the rhythmic sounds of Eugene’s thirty-member mobile percussion band, Samba Ja , which alert me to my last mile checkpoint. I love hearing the random cheers, reading signs of encouragement for those around me, and sweating profusely with everyone in town. I haven’t trained much this year, but I can’t wait to run up that hill, and down that hill, and celebrate America’s 237th birthday with 5,000 of my closest friends.
About the author: Gabrielle Lent is an Oregon native and part-time Adventure Specialist at Travel Lane County. She is a May baby who divides her time between drawing comics, making coffee, and taking advantage of Eugene's vast network of bike paths. Gabrielle enjoys the mountains as much as the coast, loves to tell about her travels, and is always game for a new experience.