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No delay in reaching finish line of Vancouver Lake Half Marathon

Race winners make most of extra time to prepare for event

By , Columbian Sports Editor
7 Photos
Racers take off from the starting line as they take part in the Vancouver Lake half-marathon in Vancouver Sunday Febuary 26, 2017.
Racers take off from the starting line as they take part in the Vancouver Lake half-marathon in Vancouver Sunday Febuary 26, 2017. Photo by Natalie Behring for the Columbian) Photo Gallery

It was a month later than scheduled, but the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon got off and running on Sunday.

That delay suited Jason Griffiths just fine. The 36-year-old Hazel Dell resident is coming back from a hiatus of his own.

Griffiths won the 27th annual race by more than five minutes. He covered the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 12 minutes and 57 seconds.

Griffiths is getting back into racing after taking a year off. The 2014 Rock n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon champion went all-out in his attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the marathon, but came up short.

“It was needed because I did about three years of consistent training without any time off,” Griffith said. “Not only physically, but mentally I was worn out.”

Sunday’s race was originally scheduled for Jan. 22. But a snowstorm caused extensive tree damage to Vancouver Lake Regional Park, forcing the race to be postponed.

That extra four weeks of training suited Griffiths just fine.

“It was kind of a blessing for me because I wasn’t really prepared in my training,” Griffiths said. “It gave me that extra four weeks to put some stuff together. I hadn’t done any speed work in a year.”

The postponement was also not a problem for women’s winner Hayley McKeen, who covered the course in 1:26:24.

The 36-year-old from Portland had planned to use the Jan. 22 race as a rust-buster.

“It was originally going to be our ‘rip the band-aid off, get back into speed work after the holidays’ race,” McKeen said.

Instead, Sunday’s race was a step for her and husband Alejandro Fallas toward spring marathons. Fallas will run the Boston Marathon on April 17 and McKeen is set to run the Eugene Marathon two weeks later.

McKeen said her first Vancouver Lake Half Marathon on Sunday was enjoyable, especially because the rain held off during the time she was on the course.

“It’s great,” she said. “It’s well marked. It’s a nice course, nice and fast.”

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

The thoughts of many runners and race organizers Sunday were with club president Russ Zornick, who was hospitalized last week for a pulmonary embolism. It’s a potentially fatal condition where blood clots form in the lungs.

Friday, Zornick posted on the club’s Facebook page that he’s feeling better and doctors expect no permanent damage.

(Click here for complete results from the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon)


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