Regional marathon event organizers tripped and fell in 2016 and 2017. This weekend, Vancouver’s WHY Racing launches a bundle of replacement events, including a marathon, a half-marathon and a Sunset 5K. That’s in keeping with WHY’s aim to get everybody running — not just champion athletes.
The 2016 Vancouver USA Marathon inadvertently fell 1,126 feet short of a standard marathon’s 138,435 feet. That led to big problems because many runners were striving to qualify for the Boston Marathon — but after the error, Boston refused to accept Vancouver’s qualifying times. As a result, registrations for the 2017 Vancouver USA Marathon fell by about one-third, and the event was canceled with one month to go.
Simultaneously, the Portland Marathon also got into trouble — misjudging its distance in the other direction (too long), getting into disputes with public safety agencies, and eventually becoming the target of a financial probe by state investigators. The 2018 Portland Marathon was canceled last spring, but then a new organizer was chosen to host it on Oct. 7.
And that’s simply swell for Portland — but even those champions won’t get to enjoy apple pies baked by the mayor of their historic city. That’s what our top overall male and female finishers will get: apple pies from the hands of Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Vancouver’s mayor and, even more importantly, a renowned pie baker.
The Apple Tree Marathon is all about apples. There will be apple cider and “apple bling” at the finish line on Officers Row — along with free beer from Deschutes Brewery — and the course sends you past the Old Apple Tree, storied mother of the entire Washington apple industry. The tree, which was planted in 1826, still stands (with professional bracing by arborists) in its own little city park at the foot of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.
If You Go
• What: Apple Tree Marathon, Half-Marathon, Sunset 5K.
• When: Sunset 5K at 6 p.m. Saturday; marathon at 7 a.m. Sunday; half-marathon at 8 a.m. Sunday.
• Where: In front of Grant House, 1011 Officers Row.
• Cost: $130 for marathon; $95 for half-marathon, per person for marathon relay; $55 for 5K; free for 17 and younger.
• To learn more: For information or to register, go to www.whyracingevents.com
The scenic course also visits Pearson Air Museum, follows the Waterfront Renaissance Trail along the Columbia River and through Marine Park, turns around at Wintler Park, heads all the way back to downtown Vancouver and the new waterfront development, then returns to the start/finish line on Officers Row. That’s the half-marathon course; the full marathon repeats the loop. The Sunset 5K visits Pearson, the Old Apple Tree and the waterfront before turning around.
All of which is why the subtitle of this event is “Run through history.” Vancouver’s waterfront, fort and historic reserve make up what’s perhaps the most historic site in the Pacific Northwest, and Apple Tree Marathon runners will tour all of it — and take in great views of Mount Hood and both interstate bridges, too. Water stations with live entertainment at each mile will speed runners along, and Sunday runners get a free lunch catered by the Eatery at the Grant House, featuring pulled pork sandwiches with apple cabbage slaw, pasta salad and apple crisp. (Families and fans of Sunday runners can buy the meal for $12. Dinner at the Grant House is not included for Saturday evening 5K runners, but will be available for $12.)
The Sunset 5K run is free for ages 17 and younger. There are top-three awards for males and females in many age groups and for marathon relay runners; there are also awards for the overall top male, female and master champion finishers in all distances. All athletes who race on both Saturday and Sunday receive a BEAST medal.
The Apple Tree Marathon event benefits the Police Activities League of Vancouver.