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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Vancouver USA Marathon! The Most Fun I Have Had At A Race I Didn't Run!

Sunday afternoon after finishing the Revel Rockies Marathon, I got a call from Bart Yasso asking me if I was free to accompany him at the Vancouver USA Marathon in Vancouver, WA the following weekend. He was going to do the race announcing for the 6th year and I jumped at the chance. I have never traveled to a race where I wasn't going to run the race. There was a part of me that wasn't sure how I could survive the temptation, but once I got there, I had a blast just hanging out with Bart, doing shakeout runs, seeing friends and cheering on runners of all ages!

I flew into Portland on Friday afternoon and got to the Hilton at about 4:00pm. Bart was waiting out front for me with other runners when I pulled up. Being a celebrity in the running world (working at Runners World Magazine for 30 years and being a running legend in his own right), Bart does not get far at a race without being asked for pictures and/or selfies.

He told me first thing on the agenda was a shakeout run at 5:30pm, so I went to the room, changed into some running clothes and met a nice group of runners for an easy 3 miles along the Columbia River. 

Shakeout run #1

After the shakeout run Bart is invited to a dinner thrown by a group pf local runners. We went to this cute little Italian place called Little Italy's for some really tasty pasta and pizza! It was really fun meeting the local runners and I appreciated them being so welcoming to me!

After dinner, we hit the hotel hot tub for a little relaxing soak with a few other runners staying at the hotel. After being on a plane, sitting in a hot tub feels great!

The next morning Bart and I decided to go for a run before he had to announce the 5k, Kids Marathon (1.2 miles) and Kids Fun Run (one lap of the park) and asked a few people at dinner to join us, so at 8:00 we all met at the bell tower in Esther Short Park and headed on the same 3 mile out and back we did the previous night.

Saturday morning shakeout run!

After the run, we all went to Starbucks for coffee/tea and breakfast. Bart hit the shower so he could start is job of announcing all the days races. By the time I got in the shower I could see Bart starting the 5k. The great thing about the Hilton is that you could literally see the start/finish line from the room. As I got ready, the 5k leaders came across the finish line!

When I finally got down to the start, it was almost time to get the Kid's Marathon started! 

Bart and I at the 5k!

Bart asked me to help get the kids warmed up. They look thrilled! Ha Ha!

Bart getting ready to start the Kid's Marathon!

At 2:00pm, Bart did a Facebook live Q&A called #AskBart! People could ask him questions live or on Facebook. It was pretty cool! Facebook live is pretty awesome.

My job was to take tons of photos and post to on social media. Hang out and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all day? Yeah, I can do that! Ha Ha!

Bart answering questions during #AskBart

I have a few questions for this guy! Ha Ha!

Bart with Race Director Brian Davis and his cute family, April and Skyler!

Before dinner, Bart and I took a nice stroll along the river where we saw some fun art, beautiful scenery and BUNNIES! 

This stuff make me want to start Lindy Hopping!

In front of the bridge!

A nice view o the Columbia River

The Lady of the Harbor!


We made reservations at the Hilton for dinner and invited a few Maniac and local friends to join us. They were having a pasta buffet dinner for $10 and it was really good! You could still eat off the menu if wanted something different, but they had lovely salads and pasta with 2 sauces. For $10, you could not beat it. With our reservation we got right in at 6:00pm with no waiting.

Dinner with friends. Georges (and his selfie stick) must have thought Bart was in the witness protection program as only his face is blurred out! Ha Ha!!

After dinner, we hit the hotel hot tub with a bunch of runners again and got ready for race day!

The marathon started at 7:00am and the half marathon started at 9:00am. You could literally see the start/finish from our hotel window, so we looked outside and waited to go downstairs until we saw the Maniacs milling around for the photo scheduled for 6:30am!    

Yeah, I didn't run, but I still jumped in the Maniac photo! Ha Ha!

After a quick photo, we headed over the the start and Bart got to work!

Bart getting ready to start the marathon!

Bart giving Georges a high-five as he starts the marathon!

After all the marathoners were off, Bart and I headed out on the course for a quick 3.5 mile run of our own which ended at Starbucks for coffee and spinach and egg wraps before he had to be back send off the half marathoners.

Bart getting ready to start the half marathon!

Once the half marathoners were off, it was just a matter of minutes before we would start seeing the top runners in the marathon coming in. 

Cute little Skyler and I having fun waiting for the runners to start coming in!

About 4:00 into the marathon, I decided to run down to the trail along the river (where we had done our shakeout runs) around mile 24 to cheer on those runners who might need a little more encouragement in those last miles. I was so glad I did! I saw some of my favorite people!

Ed Childress was looking strong!

My new friend and fellow Emoji lover, Jim Skerjanc survived a heart attack and was back out there preserving his 6 year streak! His wife Suzanne is a doll too! THANKS for dinner you two! 

When I saw Georges he was looking strong, but told me that Johnathan was struggling... I went out to kick him in the butt! J/K! I ran with Jonathan to the finish and he did great! 

I met Half Fanatic, Mwenyewe and her sister Khadijah! They were so nice and I loved her pink outfit! (Photo credit: Hijabi Runner)

Super cool to see fellow Maniac, Janice Ann Northup finish her 100th Marathon! Congratulations! (Photo credit: Steve Walters)

One thing that sets the Vancouver USA Marathon apart from other races (especially in Utah), is that they have a Summer Beer Fest in conjunction with the marathon. If you like beer, this race is for you! With 25 breweries and 50 taps, beer lovers will never go thirsty.  

After the race, Bart, George, Johnathan, Mary Lenari and others hit the beer fest for food, dancing, and FUN! We had such a great time there! While we were there I got a text that my flight home was delayed 1 1/2 hours. I was so happy. I was having too much fun to leave!

We stayed until the Beer Fest closed, I got my stuff, said goodbye to Bart and headed home.

This race was so much fun and I didn't even run! The course is beautiful, the medals were awesome and the fun Beer Fest made it a really good time! This will be on my list for next year and next year I will run!

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