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Saturday, December 2, 2023
Dec. 2, 2023

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Virtual Apple Tree Marathon draws nearly 700 competitors

Many runners choose to run actual marked course

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
3 Photos
Rolf Vellek of Vancouver runs along the Columbia River on the marked course for the PeaceHealth Apple Tree Half Marathon last month.
Rolf Vellek of Vancouver runs along the Columbia River on the marked course for the PeaceHealth Apple Tree Half Marathon last month. (Photo by Why Racing Events) Photo Gallery

Why Racing Events was met with a perfect storm of factors when it hosted the PeaceHealth Apple Tree Marathon Festival virtual running event last month in Vancouver.

In addition to the pandemic, the Vancouver-based race organizer had to deal with dangerous air quality from forest fire smoke, the Interstate 5 bridge closing and ongoing protests in the area.

Yet, the event drew nearly 700 competitors from around the world and raised nearly $14,000 for its charitable partners.

“Challenges prove resilience, and grit always overcomes,” said Karissa Schoene, event director for Why Racing. “Our athletes did not let all these obstacles stop them. They overcame.”

Sherri McMillan, owner of Why Racing, said the Apple Tree event drew 680 athletes from 14 U.S. states as well as Canada, Australia, Sweden and Great Britain.

“Our numbers were lower than usual, but we feel so happy that we had 680 athletes who were able to experience joy, excitement, accomplishment and feel a sense of belonging and community — something we all need right now,” McMillan said.

The Apple Tree virtual event provided competitors a nine-day window to complete race distances either on a course of their own choosing or along the marked course around downtown Vancouver and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

“It was amazing to see so many athletes out on the course, and there were many times we were able to capture them racing or finishing and cheer them on,” McMillan said.

The event also raised $13,886 for the Police Activities League, Friends of the Fort and other non-profits.

Why Racing’s next virtual event is the Girlfriends Half Marathon, 10K and 6K for women, which will be held over Oct. 11-18. Registration for that event, which will benefit the Pink Lemonade Project and Jaime Wyatt Miller Cancer Compassion Fund, can be made at whyracingevents.com.

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