(Natalie Behring/for The Columbian)
Jesse McChesney didn't follow his plan for Sunday's Vancouver Lake Half Marathon. But that didn't keep the 26-year-old from the result he was after.
Despite running the first few miles significantly quicker than planned, the Vancouver resident reached the finish line on schedule, finishing in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 44 seconds to win the 13.1-mile race for a second time. McChesney and three of his training partners were the first four to cross the finish line at Vancouver Lake Park, but only McChesney broke the targeted 70-minute barrier.
"I hit the time that I wanted, but I think if we had gone out a little more conservative, then I could have picked it up more on the second half," McChesney said. "But I'm still happy with it."
There were plenty of happy faces among the hundreds of runners and walkers. The flagship annual event staged by the Clark County Running Club to fund its scholarship program, the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon is a race with a reputation for testing participants' resolve with wind, rain and sometimes snow. Sunday's conditions for the 24th edition of the January race would have been welcomed by runners any time of year.
The sunshine helped get Susie Scott to the race.
"I was tired this morning waking up, but I thought 'I have to do it. It's so great outside,'" Scott said.
The 27-year-old Portland woman got it done in 1:24:45 and was the first female to the finish line.
Race organizer Russ Zornick predicted that McChesney and training partners Ahrlin Bauman and Oscar Bauman of Vancouver were prepared to run fast. They started faster than planned.
Their plan was cover each mile in 5 minutes and 20 seconds. But, with Ahrlin Bauman setting the pace, the leaders covered the first mile in 5:06. The second, third and fourth miles were also faster than 5:20.
"I didn't look at my watch and we went out a bit hot," Ahrlin Bauman said. "Then I thought 'Oh- oh, we're going to pay for that latter."
McChesney pulled away with about two miles to go. But Ahrlin Bauman hung in for second place, just missing his 70-minute target with his time of 1:10:08. Cody Barton of Stevenson, who trains with McChesney and the Bauman brothers, finished third in 1:11:34. Oscar Bauman was fourth in 1:12:48.
I was hoping to be competitive, which I was for about eight miles," Oscar Bauman said. "I don't really like half marathons, but they're good training runs for other things"
The next challenge for the Bauman brothers, both age 41, is the USA Cross Country Championships on Feb. 15 in Boulder, Colo. Ahrlin Bauman is the defending masters winner (40 and older) of that national championship race. Oscar Bauman finished fifth in the masters championship in 2013.
Racing 13 miles is great preparation for the 8-kilometer national cross country championship, Ahrlin Bauman said.
The top women also saw Sunday's race as an ideal training exercise. Scott, who ran in college at Grand Valley State in Michigan, is preparing to run the Boston Marathon for the first time. She qualified for Boston by finishing the Eugene Marathon, her first full marathon, in just over three hours.
"I wanted to run at a 6:30-6:40 (per mile) pace. That's my goal pace for Boston," Scott said. "We found a really great group and they were going a little bit faster, but it felt really good so we just went with it.
Sarrah Hadiji, a Virginia native who moved to Portland last year to be around fellow runners, was part of that group. She was the second woman to finish. Her time was 1:25:28.
"It's a beautiful day and I was going to do a long run anyway, so I figured I might as well get a little race action in and hang out with the community," said Hadiji, who competed in college for William and Mary in track and cross country. "It's always fun to be around runners in a racing environment."
Teresa Lees of Washougal shared that sentiment. She has been a member of the Clark County Running Club for a decade, but this was her first half marathon.
"I figured I'd come get some speed work and come meet some new faces, and see the community of runners," Lees said.
Lees completed her first full marathon in September at Silverton, Ore. On Sunday, the 34-year-old was the third woman to finish, and pleased with her time of 1:29:59.
Unofficial top finishers
Top 10 men
1, Jesse McChesney, 26, Vancouver, 1:09:44. 2, Ahrlin Bauman, 41, Vancouver, 1:10:08. 3, Cody Barton, 24, Stevenson, 1:11:34. 4, Oscar Bauman, 41, Vancouver, 1:12:23. 5, Johnson Lee, 27, 1:12:48. 6, Matt Palmer, 25, 1:18:35. 7, David Caldwell, 39, 1:18:45. 8, Filip Schmole, 37, 1:21:53. 9, Mike Grimshaw, 48, 1:22:50. 10, Sean Coster, 38, 1:24:05.
Top 10 women
1, Susie Scott, 27, Portland, 1:24:45 (12th overall). 2, Sarrah Hadiji, Portland, 1:25:28. 3, Teresa Lees, 34, Washougal, 1:29:59. 4, Kelly Chang, 40, 1:30:18. 5, Jennifer Teppo, 55, Vancouver, 1:31:40. 6, Megan Lacey, 30, 1:32:34. 7, Kristine Archer, 34, 1:33;11. 8, Leeann Rice, 42, 1:33:58. 9, Whitney Dawson, 23, 1:35:12. 10, Amy Ellingson, 39, 1:35:25.