Local runners start 2013 on the right foot

Nearly 200 brave cold weather for Hangover Run

By Eric Florip, Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter



Shana O’Brien and Cassie Leonard made a pledge to be more active in 2013 by getting back into running.

Day one: so far, so good.

The two Vancouver residents were among more than 200 participants in Tuesday’s Hangover Run, an annual New Year’s Day event put on by the Clark County Running Club. O’Brien said their resolution actually began before the new year, but walking the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race offered a chance to start 2013 on the right foot.

“This seemed like kind of a good way to make it official,” O’Brien said.

Added Leonard: “Our first official act of 2013 was to join the Clark County Running Club.”

Participants braved cold conditions for Tuesday’s Hangover Run, now in its 40th year. Temperatures remained in the 20s as people arrived at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Runners nervously bounced, paced or jogged — anything to stay warm — before the race started along East Fifth Street, next to the fort and Pearson Field.

There was no starting gun. Clark County Running Club President Russ Zornick counted down from three to send runners on their way. One participant answered back: “Happy New Year!”

Race has grown

Vancouver resident Jenny Teppo said she’s been taking part in the Hangover Run for more than 20 years. She remembers a very different event in the early 1990s.

“It used to just be kind of a core, small group of us,” Teppo said.

From just a few dozen participants back then, the event has topped 200 in recent years. It draws a wide range of runners now, she said, young and old, entire families, or local students looking for a training run.

“It’s like the running boom is back in Vancouver,” said Teppo, who ran with her brother, Andy Pierce, who was visiting from Boston.

The Hangover Run is one of three big events each year for the Clark County Running Club, Zornick said. The other two are the pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, and this month’s Vancouver Lake Half Marathon. The half marathon is the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Zornick said.

Few, if any, appeared to actually bring a hangover with them to Tuesday’s race. Several said they didn’t even make it to midnight on New Year’s Eve before going to bed. But at least one participant reported staying up all night and coming straight to the race on no sleep, according to Zornick.

The first person across the finish line Tuesday was Vancouver resident Jesse McChesney, who clocked a time of 15 minutes, 58 seconds. But most agreed the Hangover Run is more about tradition and camaraderie than competition.

Brandon Finstad, a Portland resident who grew up in Clark County, said he came out for the first time in 20 years. He ran into plenty of familiar faces.

“It doesn’t matter if 10 years passes, 20 years passes,” Finstad said. “It’s all family out here.”

Eric Florip: 360-735-4541; http://twitter.com/col_enviro; eric.florip@columbian.com.