After more than two months without racing, Jesse McChesney wasn’t sure what to expect from Sunday’s Vancouver USA Half Marathon.
He certainly didn’t expect to have to wait for a train to pass.
But neither the layoff nor a delay of more than five minutes kept McChensey from a victorious return to competition.
The 26-year-old Vancouver resident won the 13.1-mile race with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 16 minutes and 39 seconds. Without a delay of more than five minutes, he would have posted a course-record time.
A message on the event website indicates times would be adjusted for those delayed by the train.
“I was actually really surprised. I didn’t think I’d run that well,” McChesney said.
Lauren Johnson of Portland was the first woman to finish the half marathon, clocking a time of 1:20:16. Shannon Porter of Vancouver finished third among women with a time of 1:22:52.
A calf strain had kept McChesney from competing for a while, and limited him to easy 4-mile tempo runs for most of the last month.
He said he didn’t know until Sunday morning if he’d be healthy enough to race.
“I felt pretty good through the first 7 miles,” McChesney said. “The hill at 7 miles was tough but I made it up it, then I got stopped by the train for 5 1/2 minutes. I think it might have helped me a little bit. It helped everybody I think.”
When the train near Wintler Park passed, McChesney and Derek Scott set the pace for a couple of miles before McChesney re-established his lead. Scott, from Portland, finished second by 27 seconds in 1:17:06.
McChesney said he plans to spend the next year training specifically for the 13.1-mile distance.
His goal is to go faster than 1:08:55 — his personal best for the half marathon.