I spent last week with my family in the Columbia River Gorge, which divides Oregon and Washington. It’s incredibly beautiful, and I took advantage of cool mornings to log some great training miles. My visit also coincided with the Skamania County Fair 5K in Stevenson, Washington. This event is part of a series put on by the fine folks at the Columbia Gorge Running Club. For those of us from large cities used to lining up with 4,000 of our closest friends at a weekend 5K, an event like this is a breath of fresh air. There were about 45 runners at the start line. Since neither parking nor crowds are an issue, there’s no need to arrive any more than 10 minutes prior to the start time. What about the hassle of getting your number pinned on properly? Not a problem–my race number consisted of a tiny piece of paper with my name on it, and one safety pin connecting it to my shirt. No worries about fighting crowds after the start–we were running full speed right from the gun. The beautiful course wound around the fairgrounds and through town, finally crossing a bridge back into the fairgrounds an hitting the finish after a lap of the livestock barn. The finish chute was so small I’d call it quaint. The whole event was simply refreshing an enjoyable. Did I mention the entry fee was $2? If you’re ever in the Gorge area, take time to look up this running club and join them for an event. You won’t regret it!