Race Preview: Vancouver USA Marathon 6/21/2015 (Vancouver, Wash.)

The Vancouver USA Marathon and Half Marathon, now in its fifth year, occur Sunday, June 21, 2015.

The Vancouver USA Marathon and Half Marathon, now in its fifth year, occur Sunday, June 21, 2015.

“[The Vancouver USA Marathon] is the ONLY Marathon with a Summer Brewfest and our event is the Hidden Gem of the NW!” – Vancouver USA Marathon

I can attest this is the truth! I have participated in the Vancouver USA Half Marathon four times (after completing the event this year) during the event’s 5 year history. I have only missed the inaugural year, however, fellow Run Oregon blogger Matt Rasmussen was in attendance (read his preview of his history with the event here).

For the Run Oregon Blog community, I am going to focus in on the marathon (26.2 mile event). I’m pleased to report the marathon is walker friendly –  the course is open until 2 p.m., giving you 7 hours to complete the marathon journey. A side note, the half marathon course is open 5 hours. The marathon is USATF Certified and a Boston Marathon Qualifier. And, for the fifth year, Bart Yasso will be back to “mc” the events.

Let’s get to the course now. For the most part, this course is pretty flat and should provide fast race finish times. I do want to alert you to a couple hilly sections. The first notable incline will occur at about mile 14. This will be a slow, sustained climb of about 100 feet, reaching the peak at about the 16.25 mile mark. Then, you’ll proceed back down at a similar, slow decent. Then, approximately 19 and a half miles into the marathon, you’ll reach the next incline, which will have an ascent of about 110 feet in the duration of a half mile.

The marathon will showcase a lot of beautiful sites in Vancouver (USA). At 7 a.m., the marathon will start at Esther Short Park in downtown. For the first ~ 14 miles, participants will be on an out-and-back stretch of course that will take them up Mill Plain Blvd and Lower River Road, running near the Columbia River and Vancouver Lake. Approximately the 14 mile mark, marathoners will merge onto the same course as half-marathoners, to finish out the marathon journey. Once the merge occurs, marathoners will run through downtown Vancouver and up beautiful Main Street. After making a quick jaunt through some charming neighborhoods, participants will head into the Historic Fort Vancouver area. After a tour through this historical landmark, we’ll proceed onto Evergreen Blvd. to make the journey towards the Columbia River. You’ll enjoy some spectacular views along this portion, looking across the Columbia River to see Portland International Airport, and the state of Oregon! Just prior to mile marker 21, you’ll begin traveling on multi-use paths right alongside the Columbia River. The last 5 miles are super enjoyable. You’ll be racing along the newly completed Columbia River paths. After crossing over the land bridge, located at ~ mile 25, we’ll tour through Fort Vancouver again to get us back into downtown Vancouver, with the finish line at Esther Short Park!

Your registration fee, currently $100 for the marathon until 6/12/15, includes an event technical shirt, a fantastic finisher medal, goodie bag, a spacious recovery area stocked with post-race food, free beer (21+, ID required) and entry/tokens into the Summer Brewfest (occurring on site – no need to travel!), entry into the Active Expo (taking place in the lovely Esther Short Park – yes, outside!), and the marathon will feature 13 fully support aid stations.  And don’t forget! Bart Yasso will be there!

As I have participated in the half marathon four years now, I have to say the finisher medal, post-race space at Esther Short Park, and the beautiful course are all reasons I continue to come back year after year. The Vancouver USA Marathon really is a true gem. I hope to see you out there! I’ll be racing in the Mary’s Peak 25k on Saturday, the day before running in the Vancouver USA Half — if you see me on the course, make sure I’m still running and not crawling!

Date: Sunday, June 21, 2015
Distance: Marathon and Half Marathon
Start Time: 7 a.m. for the Marathon, 9 a.m. for the Half Marathon. Entire course closes at 2 p.m.
Cost: $100 for the Marathon, $80 for the Half Marathon (both until 6/12, then price increases with registration at expo).
Register: Click here to register