Our top picks for summer races (including beer)

Participants cross over the Deschutes on the course of the Heaven Can Wait Run/Walk for breast cancer.

We’re coming out of three consecutive big race weekends in Bend, including the  ever-popular Pole Pedal Paddle, the Happy Girls Half, and one of my personal favorites, the Heaven Can Wait 5K. And we’re just getting started on a busy summer . Here are our picks for some of the best summer runs in Central Oregon.

This weekend (June 8), you can choose between the Three Sisters Marathon that treats runners to sweeping views of the Three Sisters, and the classic Dirty Half marathon in Bend.

Next, we’ve got the Butte Burner Charity Run up Pilot Butte and the Tough Mudder on June 15.

One June 30, take a break from your hard-core training regimen and sign up for the Beer Run, which takes participants through several beer stops along its course including Deschutes Brewery, 10 Barrel Brewing, and Cascade Lakes until the finish at the intersection of Bond and Franklin, where runners are greeted with—you guessed it—another beer! Because it wouldn’t be an event in Bend without craft beer involved.

On the 4th of July, you can work off those BBQ burgers and hot dogs with the Spark Your Heart 5K to support Adult and Children’s Heart Services in Central Oregon.

Other July highlights include the Deschutes Dash, which offers Olympic and sprint distance triathlons, duathlons, aquabikes, and 10K and 5K runs on the 13-14th. The next weekend on July 20th, “Bend’s Wackiest Footrace,” the Urban Scramble, gives participants 2.5 hours to run all over Downtown Bend, The Old Mill, and the Westside with a map searching for clues, performing wacky stunts, and collecting wild paraphernalia in order to accumulate as many points as they can. And what would a race in Bend be without two beer stops along the course?

Standout races in August are the Haulin’ Aspen Half/7-Miler and the Deschutes Brewery Twilight Run 5K that celebrates the long days and warm temperatures of August. After crossing the finish line, treat yourself to a beer garden featuring Deschutes Brewery’s Twilight Summer Ale, great post race food, and some music to shake your booty to if you have any energy left.

We’ve got races for the young and old, the marathoners and the walkers, the minors and the beer-connoisseurs. We’ll see you out on the trails!

A local favorite: Summer nights at the Les Schwab Amphitheater

Sigur Ros Concert

Kicking of our shoes to listen to Sigur Ros across the river from the Amphitheater.

I found a moment of true happiness last Saturday evening. A good friend and I had kicked off our Birkenstocks and were lounging on a blanket in the grass across the river from the Les Schwab Amphitheater. As we caught up over some Ida’s gourmet cupcakes (red velvet and coconut cream is to die for), we could hear Sigur Ros jamming out on stage after coming straight from the Sasquatch Music Festival the night before. The sounds of the guitar reverberated about the landscape. I could see the sun setting behind the Cascades on the clear, brisk, 60-degree evening. Kayakers and paddle boarders enjoying the music interrupted the flow of the Deschutes. As if this scene could not get any more sublime, I watched the sunlight glint off of the water as a mother and her ducklings swam by.

Did I mention that on the previous night, I had been rocking out to Cake at the same Amphitheater? Or that on the same day I skied down “Thunderbird” in a tee shirt to live music at Mt. Bachelor? Or what about how I had a mountain biking excursion planned at Phil’s Trail about five minutes from PointsWest the next day?

I guess if I could find one complaint about Bend, it would be that there is simply too much to do. But no matter what, I always find time to enjoy the concerts at the Amphitheater. Every summer, they offer a number of first-rate shows. Past shows have included Coldplay, The Shins, Norah Jones, Modest Mouse, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Bob Dylan and one of our more popular shows, Tenacious D. So far this year, the lineup features Steve Miller Band on June 28, Pink Martini on July 12, and Michael Franti & Spearhead on August 11. In addition to these headliners, they offer free concerts by up-and-coming artists every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer.

Whether you prefer to sprawl out on a blanket in the grass at the Amphitheater, on the grass across the river, or to paddle on the river, summer concerts at the Amphitheater are sure to bring fun times into your jam-packed summer itinerary in Central Oregon.

© Copyright PointsWest