Note: The Race Director gave me the opportunity to do this event comp. I offered up the blog space as a thank you. The thoughts here are my own and no other compensation was offered
The Vancouver USA Marathon is known as the hidden gem of the NW and earns that title every year by always getting better. I ran this event in their first two years, the second one being my personal worst time ever on the half marathon distance. (So I had a little bit of a mission here)
The packet pick up for this event is amazing. If you read any of my blogs you know one of my favorite things about packet pick up is a streamlined process where I can do a little shopping and then get in and out. This was perfect. You picked up your number, you picked up your loaded goodie bag and pretty t-shirt. You had the option to go to Summer Brew Fest, but with the weekend being as insane as it was. I did not want to drink until it was over.
The morning of the event was smooth. Thanks to C-Tran (Vancouver transit) there was a shuttle at Delta Park to pick people up going into downtown Vancouver right near the race start. Without having all the extra stops I actually had time to get some water, spend some time with my amazing running friends, get to bag check ect without being rushed.
The start of this race is amazing, its three starts and with Bart Yasso on the mic, it makes for an amazing energy.
Most of my running friends had been running towards the back but with some of my future goals being what they are, I wanted to use this as a good training run, test run. I also wanted to shake off the 3 hour plus thing from two years ago. So I went with the 4 run/2 walk break down that I did at the last two halfs.
This race is pretty amazing scenic wise. You go through the main part of downtown Vancouver, you head over into the
Fort Vancouver neighborhood before heading down to the amazing water front. This is one of my favorite races when it comes to being a scenic option. There is only one industrial stretch (read any of my blogs you know its a pet peeve of mine) This race is challenging when it comes to elevation but those moments come in bunches, you have a set of hills just past mile 7 and then again right around 10 that will push you, but the rest are rolling hills that are doable.
The volunteers had been amazing and they really wanted to add to the spirit of the event. All of the water stops had been awesome. One water station ran out of water, which coming right before one of the biggest hills
About mile 5 I think, I ran into one of my Team RWB teammates Allison, who was running her first half and was having a hard time finding her stride. My plan was to run with her for awhile and then possibly drop back because I was feeling a little tight, but she kept fighting. We took walk breaks together and just watched out for each other. It was such an honor to be there by her side for her first.
I got what I needed out of this race. Getting that insane monkey off my back was just what the doctor ordered. The post race was amazing, you picked up your medal and could get some food before enjoying the Summer Brew Fest, which gave me a chance to try a couple beers I never have before.
Vancouver USA is an amazing event. It truly earns its wings as the Hidden Gem of the NW and it is my favorite by far of the Portland Vancouver area races.
I want to thank Brian Davis, the event director at Energy for inviting me back to my home race and supporting my running when things have gotten tight.