Organizers gear up for second Vancouver USA Marathon

Online registration closes today, signups continue through June 16

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



How to sign up

Online: Visit Online registration closes at 6 p.m. today. Online prices are $99 for the marathon, $70 for the half marathon, $37 for Saturday’s Freedom 5K, and $15 for Saturday’s 1.2-mile kids race.

In-person: Register in person at Fit Right NW and Foot Traffic stores in Portland and Vancouver. The Vancouver Fit Right NW store is at 700 S.E. 160th Ave., Suite 111.

At the Fit Right NW Sports and Fitness Expo: Hours are 2-7 p.m. on June 15 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 16 at the Vancouver Hilton hotel. Prices during the expo are $110 for the marathon, $85 for the half marathon, $40 for the Freedom 5K or $20 for the kids marathon.

Day of race: no registration.

Less than two weeks before race day, registration for the Vancouver USA Marathon and accompanying half marathon is slightly slower than it was for the inaugural event in 2011.

Race organizer Brian Davis said on Monday that about 1,400 people have registered for the half marathon, and more than 700 are signed up for the full marathon. The races take place on June 17, a Sunday morning, during a busy sports weekend in the region.

Davis' Energy Events staged the first Vancouver USA Marathon in June of 2011. Between the 26.2-mile full marathon and the 13.1-mile half marathon, 2,227 runners and walkers finished in the 2011 races.

The most significant change this year are start time adjustments designed to make for a less congested merge of half-marathon participants and full marathoners.

The marathon will again start at 7 a.m. The half marathon start time has been moved back to 9 a.m., with each race using a staggered start that groups runners according to their average pace for one mile.

The marathon course is once again certified as a Boston Marathon qualifier, meaning that runners who meet time standards in the Vancouver USA Marathon qualify for the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Participation in the Freedom 5K on Saturday, June 16 in downtown Vancouver is expected to exceed 200, an increase from last summer's fun run that was finished by 179, Davis said.

In an effort to encourage more community participation, Davis said, there will be live music at Esther Short Park 5-9 p.m. on Friday, June 15 and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 in addition to Sunday's post-marathon celebration.

Again this year, a fitness show featuring running-related vendors will be at the Hilton Hotel Vancouver. That event runs 2-7 p.m. on Friday, June 15 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 16.

Online registration closes at 6 p.m. today. Runners can register during the expo, where prices will be higher than online rates of $99 for the marathon and $70 for the half marathon. There is no registration on race day.

Davis said there is more competition to attract participants this year. He pointed to the May 20 Rock n' Roll Portland Half Marathon — a new event that drew close to 14,000 participants — as one event that might impact participation in the VUM races.

Also, the Spartan Race, part of a national series of obstacle races, will take place for the first time in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday, June 16 at the Washougal MX Park.

Davis said that the impact of the Spartan Race on Vancouver USA Marathon is "one of the big questions" for the marathon organizers.