As is my preference, we arrived at the race venue about an hour before our start time. For this race I had brought my 13 year old son as a running buddy, or rather as a before and after buddy, since he now runs quite a bit faster than me. We got in line right away to pick up our bibs and shirts; since there was no early packet pickup, the line wasn’t short but moved quickly. The event shirts were long sleeved shirts with a very nice design. Surprisingly, women’s shirts were a tech material, while men’s shirts were a cotton/poly blend. We decided to walk back to the car to store our shirts, warm up our legs and sit out the rain shower.
When the rain slowed down, we made our way back to the start line in time for the National Anthem and the start of the 12k at 8am. After the group of long-course runners had left, there was plenty of time to use the facilities (plenty available), browse the vendor booths, and then check our warm jackets just a few minutes before the start. The National Anthem was played again for the 5k runners, and we were sent off at 8:20am. With a field of 140 participants, there was never any congestion, even when we turned onto the somewhat narrow walking paths around Fort Vancouver.
The course was very well marked and staffed by volunteers. The footbridge across Hwy 14 was not slippery this time, since it was (thankfully) well above freezing. I found my groove pretty quickly, and the downhill of the overpass was a nice speed boost. Volunteers kept the crosswalk safe for us, and we made are way towards the Columbia River and the underpass under the interstate to head into the downtown area. As I was running past the VFW Memorial Park, I saw my son heading the other direction, having already reached the turnaround and still looking happy. The water station at the turnaround point offered water, and it was well staffed and supplied. This course is an exact out and back, so heading back the way I came I took the chance to cheer on the runners and walkers I encountered. The weather was still holding as the finish line came into sight, and I crossed it without being soaked.
I found my son at the instant-results screen, and was about as thrilled as he was to see that he had won his age group (M13-15)! We intended to stick around for the awards ceremony, even after we found out that it wasn’t going to happen for at least another hour, after the completion of the 12k and the kids races. However, as the weather deteriorated and we were shivering in the cold, he asked the awards organizer if he could pick up his medal early. She verified his result and okayed his award, and we were soon on our way back home again.
Once again, Energy Events didn’t disappoint. The setup was great and the course nicely laid out. A thought might be to hold the 5k awards after the last participant arrives and while the 12k is still going on, which was how it was scheduled last year. Aside from that, very well done, and I look forward to next year.