Runs promise summer fun in Clark County

A host of summer running events kick off this weekend

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

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If your upcoming plans include getting bombarded with multi-colored corn starch, following instructions from a mystery envelope or crawling under barbed wire — you just might be a Clark County runner.

Those are just a few options for the more than 15 running events coming to the area over the next three months.

The selections, which range from the blood-pumping Vancouver USA Marathon to the bizarre Color Me Rad 5K, where runners get coated in colored dust, are a testament to creativity. And all hold forth the promise of fun.

“For most people, exercise is a chore,” said Sherri McMillan, owner of Northwest Personal Training, which puts on the Summer Solstice Amazing Scavenger Race. “So a lot of these events try to make it more fun and interesting. If it takes your mind off the fact you’re working out, people are more likely to do it.”

In the scavenger race, which starts at 1011 Broadway at 6 p.m. June 22, participants will solve trivia clues that will lead them to 15 stations with physical or mental challenges over the course of about an hour and a half.

“At the start of the event we will throw up a bunch of envelopes, and each team will get a clue,” McMillan explained. “It ends up being about four miles of walking and running, along with whatever’s involved in the 15 stations. It’s very fun, and it’s very team camaraderie focused.”

Back for its second year, the Spartan Sprint race also includes some funky angles, such as running through the mud, crawling under barbed wire and jumping over burning logs. That one’s at the Washougal MX park on Aug. 3 and 4.

There are also plenty of events for those new to the sport, including the June 2 Run Like a Girl event that starts outside the Pearson Air Museum. The race, which is a fundraiser for Second Step Housing, includes 5K and 10K races for the adults and a 1K kids fun run, said Debby Dover, the charity’s executive director.

“Exercise is such a great thing, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk every day,” Dover said. “It’s good for mental and physical health. Our run, it’s not about being a certain weight or a size, it’s about getting out there and having fun.”

The charity provides clean and sober living transition programs for women in a variety of situations. The run gathered about $8,000 last year.

Many women from the program participate, but it’s not just for women, McMillan added.

“Last year we had a boys track team participate, and they all ran in their mothers’ dresses,” she said with a laugh.

The Vancouver USA Marathon, in its third year, is probably the biggest event on the agenda. So far, about 2,200 people have signed up for the full and half marathons, which start at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively, on June 16 at Esther Short Park.

This year, that race will be part of a larger three-day festival from June 14 to 16 that includes a fitness expo and a new beer festival called the Vancouver Summer Brewfest.

“We’ve added more elements, and also more security” in light of the Boston Marathon attacks,” said organizer Brain Davis. “We really want this to be a destination race for the whole community.”

Davis’ company, Energy Events, is also putting on the Cosmo 7K race on Aug. 10. It’s a race just for women that supports the Pink Lemonade Project, a charity for breast cancer research.

“Well, we did have one guy dress up as a woman and run in it last year,” Davis said. “If they want to do that, it’s fine with me. It’s a fun, social event.”

Upcoming races in Clark County

June 1: Color Me Rad 5K, Clark County Event Center, http://www.colormerad.com

June 2: Run Like a Girl, Fort Vancouver, http://secondstephousing.org/rlag.shtml

June 8: Coach Anderson Memorial Relay, Hudson’s Bay High School, http://www.caamr.org

June 16: Vancouver USA Marathon, Esther Short Park, http://vancouverusamarathon.com

June 22: Summer Solstice Amazing Scavenger Race, downtown Vancouver, http://nwpersonaltraining.com

June 29: Bigfoot 5K and 10K Fun Runs, Yacolt, https://www.sites.google.com/site/bigfootfunrun

July 4: Ridgefield’s Independence 10K/5K, Ridgefield, http://www.runridgefield.com

July 14: Mount Tum Tum Fun Run, Amboy https://www.facebook.com/events/384900401614278

July 21: Harvest Day Half, Battle Ground, http://harvesthayhalf.getboldevents.com

July 21: Girlfriends and Dudes Triathlon, Frenchman’s Bar, http://www.nwpersonaltraining.com

July 28: Lacamas Lake Half Marathon/5K, Camas, http://www.fit-right-nw.com/lacamas-lake.html

Aug. 3-4: Spartan Sprint, Washougal MX Park, http://www.spartanrace.com

Aug. 4: Race for the Homeless, Fort Vancouver, http://www.raceforthehomeless.org

Aug. 10: Cosmo 7K, Esther Short Park, http://www.energyevents.com/cosmo7k

Aug. 17: Jordan Crouch Memorial Scholarship 5K, Marine Park, http://beta.active.com

Sept. 21: North County Wine Run, Ridgefield/Battle Ground, http://northcountywinerun.getboldevents.com