There aren’t many people like Patrick Zweifel, which is probably a good thing, because the guy makes most of the rest of us look bad. Business owner, family man, race and running camp director and high school running coach are titles that best describe him, and also explain why, though he really loves his life, he’s sometimes too tired to enjoy it.
Zweifel grew up in Tillamook, running cross-country in high school and winning a state championship, and continued running when he went to college at Cal Poly. He earned an agricultural degree then returned home to the dairy farm he grew up on.
“It took about six months for my dad to have to fire me,” he said. “I was a cocky kid who thought he knew it all. When I was trying to figure out what to do next I realized that though I really love growing things, if you are going to be in the dairy industry you have to love cows. I don’t.”
So 28 years ago, he started Oregon Coastal Flowers, a business that has grown enough that it now enables his other passions.
“My great employees help free up my time,” he said. “And I wouldn’t have the finances to do the things I do without this business.”
The business provides not just financial help, but the almost-30-acre property is also a the base for two upcoming summer outdoor events: a youth running camp and a new trail race series. Both include camping along the Kilchis River when acres of hydrangeas and other colorful plants are in full bloom.
Ultramook 30K and 50K
This rugged trail race starts on the flower farm then winds up to the Tillamook Ridge on BLM and state forest lands on a mix of elk trails and old logging roads that have returned to a more natural state.
“Some of the trails are nice and wide and more well-kept than something you would see in a manicured park in Portland,” Zweifel said. “We have the ascents and beauty of most ultras, but this race is really distinctive to this area.”
The routes consists of a 30-kilometer route that Zweifel describes as steep, and for those that want run the full 50, a more forgiving 20-kilometer loop.
“That part has a nice consistent grade so you can keep an even pace,” he said. “I take my kids for training runs there.”
He describes the race as the “Best kept secret on the Oregon Coast,” and he’s not terribly worried that growing and promoting the race will jeopardize that status.
“I know this area quite well,” he said. “And it even took me a long time to discover viable routes and get permits.”
Last year, in fact, it took so long to get the permits in place Zweifel didn’t have much time to advertise.
“We still got 46 entrants,” he said “And this year we have that many signed up already. Everyone that did it last year loved it and most said they were coming back.”
The race is on Sunday, July 7; early registration closes on Tuesday, April 30.
Ultimook Running Camp
Two week-long sessions are held every year, open to girls and boys aged 12 to 18, and include camping in large greenhouses, running on a variety of terrains and bonding exercises like the “Sasquatch Games.”
The camp aims to give campers from out of the area a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but also benefits local kids through scholarships.
“Many of the local kids wouldn’t be able to afford something like this,” Zweifel said. “This is helping get more of them excited about running, while providing all campers with a world-class running camp experience. We have the best speakers, the best counselors and great post-collegiate runners.”
This year’s sessions will be held Sunday, July 28, through Saturday, Aug. 3, and Sunday, Aug. 4, through Saturday, Aug.10. Early registration deadline for a 10-percent discount on tuition is Tuesday, April 30.
Another of Zweifel’s races, the 3 Capes Relay, is in its 6th year and is held in the spring.
“That started that as a way to help support the cross country program,” he said.
“We’ve grown enough that we’re a registered 501c3, the Tillamook Distance Project, which funds things like shoes, leadership scholarships for kids and the running camp entries.”
So is keeping the business going, coaching, running a non-profit, managing a camp and directing running races every year now enough for Zweifel?
“I’ve starting working on a triathlon.” he said. “I’ve already got the locations picked out and designed the logo.”
For more information or to register for the Ultimook Running Camp or Ultramook races, go to ultimookrunningcamp.oregoncoastalflowers.com