A thick fog blanketed the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon on Sunday, January 25, but that didn’t stop over 400 runners from showing up. This was my fifth year running the race and warmest that I had ever seen it. You never know what January will bring for race day from freezing cold to a torrential down pour. Fortunately for us here in the northwest, the weather is usually mild. This year it was a balmy 46 degrees with 93% humidity. It felt warm enough to wear a singlet, a nice change especially since our fellow runners in New England are now getting hit by a blizzard.
I arrived early on race day because this is a popular event with limited parking. The race director reduced the number of runners this year to help with congestion and ensure the race started on time. The packet pickup was fast giving me extra time to chat with a number of running friends who came out to race or volunteer.
The course is flat as a pancake. My garmin data registered 36 feet of elevation gain and 39 feet of loss. I use this race as my benchmark to see how my training is progressing through the winter because it is so flat. Usually the metro area has a perma-cloud taunting us six months out of the year, but last year it was clear on race day and we were treated to a majestic view of Mount St. Helens at both mile 1.5 and again at mile 10.5. There can be strong tail or head winds on this course, but this year there was just a very slight breeze. The fog was very thick and as runners would pass me, they would eventually fade away into the mist.
The race has three out and back sections on the road with the final part running through the park to the finish line. The race is spectator friendly event with runners passing the start line three different times allowing family and friends to cheer and encourage the runners on. There were plenty of water stations along the course and volunteers guiding runners at major turning points ensuring a smooth race.
The Vancouver Lake Half is put on by the Clark County Running Club as a benefit for their scholarship fund. At $35 for an entry, it is a great value for the price. All participants receive a finishers medal and age awards are six deep with each winner getting a pint glass with the race logo. To keep the race affordable, the race shirt is not included but available for purchase. The club members brought a large assortment of delicious baked goods including some vegan options along with pretzels, bagels and gummy bears to help the runners replenish after the race.
The results were posted almost immediately after the race both on paper and online by Athletepath. Photos are taken by a volunteer and usually posted within a few days after the race.
The Clark County Running Club does a great job every year with the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon. As 100% volunteer run event, this club keeps the price reasonable and a great value. The price, the friendly volunteers and the homemade baked goods is why I come back to this race every year. I would recommend running this flat and fast event, but make sure to register early as it sells out quickly every year.