On June 15th I set out with a little over 1700 other runners to compete in the Vancouver USA Half Marathon, along with another approximately 750 participants running in the Full. I arrived downtown at 8am and had trouble finding parking as all of the roads were closed off due to the race and I kept getting redirected. I talked to other runners and they had no problem parking since they followed the directions given out by the race directors in the pre-race emails. Next time I will make sure to pay more attention to the directions prior to the race to avoid this issue!
I parked about a mile from the start and made my way to Esther Short Park passing lines of people waiting for the port-a-potties that were situated along 8th street. I weaved through the tents and got in the back of the race corral. The race started in waves and after a couple minutes I was off. I was worried about the heat since the week prior to the race the weather was in the 90’s. Luckily, race day was in the 60’s with a slight sprinkle. It was great! The first couple miles of the race was through the streets of downtown Vancouver. This is always my favorite part of this race because the streets are lined with people cheering and everyone is excited about the race.
As we left downtown we ran through historical Fort Vancouver and officers row. The course took us along Columbia River Blvd past Fred Meyer’s and the Rock Pizza and uphill towards 5th street. The long uphill at mile 6 seemed to last forever but was followed by a very steep downhill across the train tracks to Wintler Park. The rest of the race was along a course that I travel frequently; it’s one of my favorite routes in Vancouver. We traveled from Wintler park along Columbia Way through Marine Park and along the Vancouver Waterfront. We crossed Columbia Street, through fort Vancouver, and back to Esther Short Park.Water stations were positioned every 2 times and gel products were handed out at Marine Park. Typically I skip the gel products because I dislike their texture but this time I tried a Cliff gel in Raspberry flavor and actually enjoyed it.
As I entered downtown I was greeted by people lining the streets cheering. I passed the finish line at 2:37 and proceeded to grab water and get my finisher medal. The finishers were directed to a section of the post-race area that was fenced off to public. This area had Jamba Juice samples, an aid station, and post-race food. I was a little disappointed by the race food as there was only bananas and bags of chips that were given out; although there was food at the nearby farmers market that we could purchase if we wanted to. And really, that fresh food is probably better anyways!
After the race each runner was given a free entry into the summer brewfest and 5 beer tokens. The line to enter the brewfest was very long and I waited in it for approximately 15 minutes before leaving to go meet my run group at a nearby bar. I’m glad we decided not to stick around for the brewfest because it started pouring shortly after I left. I heard a lot of people that went there had fun.
This is my third year participating in the Vancouver USA Half Marathon. The event is very well organized and is one of my favorite half marathons in the area.