The annual PeaceHeath AppleTree Marathon Festival will be a virtual event this year, but that doesn’t mean runners can’t get their competitive juices flowing.
The September event will include a new Vancouver vs. Portland 5K Challenge.
Runners, which will include city officials and first responders, will choose either Team Vancouver or Team Portland. The team with the fastest average 5K time wins.
“We wanted to do something fun, exciting and create a challenge that would bring people together so we can feel that sense of community,” said race director Sherri McMillan. “”We want to have fun with this 5K so not only crown which city is the fastest but also which mayor, police chief, fire chief and city council is the fastest.”
The AppleTree Marathon Festival, which began in 2018, is among many races in the Portland-Vancouver area to go virtual amid coronavirus restrictions that limit large public gatherings.
This year, participants can run pre-marked marathon, half-marathon and 5K courses anytime between Sept. 19-27. Runners then enter their time on the race website.
The courses will pass many of the historic sites in downtown Vancouver. All races start along Officer’s Row, wind by Fort Vancouver and connect to the Columbia River waterfront.
Another addition to the virtual race will allow runners to complete a marathon or half-marathon over several days.
“Not everyone is able to or wants to run an entire marathon or half marathon all at once,” McMillan said. “The beauty of a virtual race is a participant can complete the distance over a number of days. That’s a perk that a virtual event allows for so you’ve got nine days to get it done and you too can be a marathoner with an asterisk. We hope many people will give the Marathon or Half Marathon a go on their own terms in a non-intimidating way.”
McMillan said some race memorabilia will pay tribute to the Old Apple Tree, which died this year at 194 years old.
Runners can register online at https://whyracingevents.com/appletree-marathon/