Vancouver Lake Half Marathon produces solid times

McMahon, Porter race to victory in annual event

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter


Updated: January 27, 2013, 5:52 PM


Did you know?

• The Vancouver Lake Half Marathon is the major annual event for the Clark County Running Club.

• The race is a major source of funds for the CCRC's scholarship program, which gives $10,000 each year to college students affiliated with the club.

photoKevin McMahon finishes first with a time of 1 hour, 10 minutes, 43 seconds at the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon at Vancouver Lake Park on Sunday.

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photoShannon Porter gets a hug from her sister Georgia Porter while talking on the phone with her other sister Sarah Crouch at the finish line of the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon after finishing first for the women.

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photoRunners compete in the annual Vancouver Lake Half Marathon at Vancouver Lake Park on Sunday.

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Until Sunday, Kevin McMahon had never raced in a half-marathon.

By midday, he'd never lost one.

A sophomore on the University of Portland track and field team, McMahon took the lead about five miles in and cruised to victory in the 23rd-annual Vancouver Lake Half Marathon. The 19-year-old completed the 13.1-mile race in 1 hour, 10 minutes, and 43 seconds.

Like many among the more than 400 runners and walkers who gathered at Vancouver Lake Park, McMahon said he entered the mid-winter race just to find out about his fitness level.

What he found surprised him.

"This has given me quite a bit of confidence," McMahon said. "I didn't think I would run that fast."

That refrain was common on a Sunday that delivered perfect conditions for a race. Temperatures in the mid-40s — with no wind and rain that held off until about two hours after the 10 a.m. start — made this one of the more pleasant Vancouver Lake Half Marathons in recent memory.

Shannon Porter remembers snow on the ground in 2009, the last time she ran in the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon. Sunday's conditions were a vast improvement, and so was her result. In her first significant race in months and her third time in this race, Porter was the women's champion in 1:19:58, a personal-record for the half-marathon.

"All I wanted to do was a sub 1:20," Porter said. "I'm happy with it. It hurt. It's been a while since I raced a half."

Porter was equally pleased for fellow 21-year-old Clark County Running Club member Katarina Mueller. The second woman to finish, Mueller improved her half-marathon time by more than five minutes.

"Katarina had a huge PR. She was right behind me for a while," Porter said. "She had an amazing race."

McMahon, a native of New Hampshire who said he plans to focus on racing 5,000 and 10,000 meters for the Pilots in the spring, said he is running about 90 miles a week now to prepare for the college season. He broke away from the lead pack about five miles into the race.

"I was thinking 5:30 (per mile) pace would be good. We were going a little quicker than that and I was feeling good, so around the five-mile mark I thought I might as well make a surge and see what happens," McMahon said. "After that I was just trying to build on the lead and see how fast I could go."

He was also being encouraged by the runners he passed on the out and back course.

"Let me tell you, the runners out there are great," he said. "Every time I was passing people on the way back they were saying 'Great job, good job.' I wasn't able to respond because I was focused in, but I can't tell them how much I appreciate it."

McMahon also was appreciative of the injured running friend whose spot he took in the sold-out race.

"I would recommend this to anyone who wants to run a good time this time of year," he said. "I hope I can come back next year."

Top 10 finishers

1, Kevin McMahon, Portland, 1:10:41.

2, Chris McIsaac, McMinnville, Ore., 1:12:35.

3, Eric Dolezal, Vancouver, 1:13:01.

4, Karim Shakalia, Portland, 1:13:14.

5, T-Roy Brown, Portland, 1:13:20.

6, Bill Aronson, Portland, 1:13:29.

7, Johnson Lee, Vancouver, 1:14:20.

8, Aaron Jones, Olympia, 1:14:50.

9, Andrew Huston, Portland, 1:15:43.

10, Leonard Neiberg, Portland, 1:16:34.

For complete results visit: