Vancouver USA Marathon replacement in the wings

New race will be Boston qualifier

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer



A replacement for the Vancouver USA Marathon is on its mark and ready to go.

It doesn’t have an official name yet, but Why Racing Events announced Friday it has a new marathon, half-marathon and 5K on the books for September 2018. The new event will loop around historic sites in Vancouver and be a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

The September 2017 slot had been held by the Vancouver USA Marathon, but the race didn’t take place and that group has not applied to host a race in 2018, city officials said Friday. The 2017 race was canceled in August amid reportedly low pre-registrations, barely a month before the scheduled starting gun.

The 2016 Vancouver USA Marathon was marred after it was found to be 1,120 feet short of the standard 26.2 miles, disqualifying participants from using their results to qualify to enter the Boston Marathon.

Stacey Donovan, special events organizer for the city of Vancouver, said two new organizations applied in the last couple of months to take over the September slot. The city typically only permits one annual marathon, she said, but it could host another in June with a yet-named organizer.

The city likely won’t accept any more applications, however. 

“It’s a much different event than a one- or two-day event in the park. The footprint is just so big. Many, many departments need to be involved to make this a successful event for the city and organizer,” she said.

Sherri McMillan, owner of Why Racing, said her group applied for a September date because it was a good opportunity. Why Racing already hosts events March through October, but always left its calendar blank around the Vancouver USA Marathon.

“We had that hole in September, and in the Northwest that’s such a good time to host an event in terms of the weather,” she said. “When they canceled all of a sudden, that September date was available and it made sense to do an event.”

The new race’s course will take runners through a circuit of Vancouver’s historic sites including Fort Vancouver, Officers Row and Pearson Field. It will be a two-loop course.

There are some details still to work out. A press release Friday called it the Great Northwest Marathon, Half Marathon and Sunset 5K, though McMillan later hedged and said it could be renamed to the Apple Tree Marathon.

McMillan added that they are still trying to determine if the race will serve as a qualifier for the 2019 or 2020 Boston Marathon.

Registrations open Nov. 1.