Vancouver USA Marathon forced to take a different route

Columbia River flooding alters upcoming event

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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The Mighty Columbia is forcing runners in the first Vancouver USA Marathon to take a slight detour.

With a short section of the course for the June 19 race currently under water, organizers are forced to make a slight change of course. Runners will need to leave the Columbia River waterfront trail near mile 23 and run for a couple of blocks on Columbia Shores Boulevard.

Race director Brian Davis said the course will still be certified to qualify runners for the 2012 Boston Marathon.

“I’d hate to have someone fly out here from New England or somewhere and not be able to qualify (for Boston),” Davis said.

The inaugural marathon in Vancouver will be held on Sunday, June 19. A half marathon is also being run that day. On June 18, organizers are staging a Freedom 5-K and a 1.3 mile “kids marathon” for ages 5-12.

About 400 feet of the waterfront Renaissance Trail was closed last week because of flooding and erosion. The closed section is in the Tidewater Cove area west of Wintler Park.

Davis said that organizers expect a combined total of about 3,000 runners to participate in the marathon and half marathon. The races all start and finish at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver.

A three-day Fit Right Northwest Sports and Fitness Expo for participants and spectators will be held Friday through Sunday of race weekend at the Hilton Vancouver. Approximately 40 exhibitors will take place in the expo, Davis said.

The 26.2-mile marathon course, considered relatively flat and fast, sends runners out to Frenchman’s Bar and back for the first half of the race, then east from downtown almost as far as Andresen Road before returning downtown along the waterfront trail and through the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.

How to register:

Online registration closes Sunday through www.vancouverusamarathon.com. Cost is $99 for the marathon, $59 for the half marathon, $32 for the Freedom 5K, and $20 for the kids marathon.

Late registration will be available during the Fit Right Northwest Sports and Fitness Expo at the Hilton Vancouver. Late registration costs $110 for the marathon, $70 for the half marathon, and $40 for the 5-kilometer race.