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SW Hope 5K defies downpour, draws 250 participants to a course with twists and turns.

PMG PHOTOS: BILL GALLAGHER - Cameron Chester of Lake Oswego took home some prizes for his first place finsh at the SW Hope 5K on Saturtday, April 6.Cameron Chester, 27, got out of the rain and the wind as fast as he could on Saturday morning, April 6, at Gabriel Park.

In doing so, he posted the fastest men's time at the fourth SW Hope 5K Run, a course-record 19 minutes and 5 seconds, a pace of 6:9 per mile.

Kristine Olsen, 28, posted the fastest women's time for the difficult course, completing the two laps over 3.1 often-muddy miles in 23 minutes and 40 seconds. Her pace was 7:37 per mile.

The turn-out of 144 5K runners and 110 kids who ran a 1K pleased the organizers.

"I heard the rain on the window (that morning) and I thought, 'Well, the show will go on. It's rain or shine,' and we hoped the community would turn out. And it did," said Chris Chiacchierini, executive director of Neighborhood House, whose Food Pantry receives all the proceeds from the race, which this year reached $10,000. An anonymous matching donation doubled that amount to $20,000.

The SW Hope 5K is a benefit run for Neighborhood House, whose executive director Chris Chiacchierini ran the race and then announced the winners.Chiacchierini, 50, ran the 5K and finished in 20th place with a time of 26 minutes and 40 seconds, a pace of 8:35 per mile).

Co-race director Drew Gilgas, who has volunteered at the SW Hope 5K all four years of the event, said, "I think this (was) our best one yet. (It was) a little wet, but a lot of people showed up. Despite the wind and the rain and the early morning start, they were all out here having fun."

Men's first-place finisher Chester ran in second place for the first half of the race.

"This course is hard," he said of the lay-out that starts near the play structures and rest rooms at Gabriel Park, leads past the tennis courts, winds through the forest up to the baseball field, takes a left at the dog park, goes back through the forest and finishes with a series of steep, paved paths.

"It was raining pretty hard ... too," Chester said.

He'd never run the trails and paths of Gabriel Park but said, "They make for a good course."

Like everyone who ran, Chester woke up that morning to a steady downpour but had no second thoughts about competing.

"I knew I was going to do it," he said. "(I'd) been looking at the forecast all week and was ready for the downpour."

Whether there will be a fifth SW Hope 5K in 2020 remains to be seen.

"We certainly hope so. We think we're building a good community tradition here," Chiacchierini said.

Complete results from the 2019 SW Hope 5K can be seen at: www.runsignup.com/Race/Results/53127/

Bill Gallagher

Editor (25:54. 8:20/M)

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