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Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half

the Silver Strider onlinpresents

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Route 16 Running and Walking
6745 Kimball Drive, Gig Harbor

 

 

      The Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon

 

 

by Nanci Larsen
Photos courtesy of Rainbow Photos and Charlea Sherman

 

October 22, 2017

 

Our friends to the south of us in Oregon took quite a hit this summer with all the wild fires. Not only did it affect their economy, but their beautiful forested lands. What a good feeling they must have had the weekend of October 22 when runners gathered to run the Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon in Hood River. While some of our Silver Strider family were traveling to other states and countries to take on the Big Six Marathons, others traveled south for some fall colors and a half marathon course challenge.

Ready for the challenge are (l to r): Marsha Murray, Nanci Larsen, Karen Lichtenstein, and Charlea Sherman.

This event was put together by Breakaway Promotions who host several running events in Oregon which include The Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, The Columbia Gorge Marathon in Hood River, and Bend Ale Run in Bend. Breakaway Promotions owners, Chad Sperry and Lori Waters, definitely know the ins and outs of putting on an event. From registration to race swag to post race meals and festivities, they host some of the best events in the Northwest.

Our trek south from West Seattle to Tacoma to Olympia to Oregon was a very wet one. It’s kind of ironic that two weeks prior to the Oregon race, runners were treated to a beautiful sunny day for the Goodlife Victoria Marathon in Canada. Like they say, ‘what a difference a day makes’. The rain was relentless all day Saturday. At first glance out the window at 5:50 am on Sunday it was still raining – bummer! However, a half hour later, another glance out the window revealed the rains had stopped – oh happy day!

 

By the start of the half marathon, the sun was bright in the sky accompanied by the most beautiful rainbow that stayed bright for close to half an hour or more. Runners were stopping along the course up the first hill to take a picture of this incredible sight – WOW!. The Columbia Gorge avails itself to some of the most beautiful scenery the states of Washington and Oregon have to share. There were 5 Aid Stations on the half marathon that were well stocked with water, Gatorade and Gummy Bears. Some added bananas and GU, so runners could stay well fueled.

 

To say the course was ‘hilly’ would be an understatement. The first half of the race was an uphill climb counted in miles not blocks. Dave Sherman, one my fellow Silver Strider runners, told me the course was very hilly. I thought, “Well I’ve run The Bridge of the Gods and that had alot of hills,”  but I did not realize prior to race day how hilly the hills actually were – phew!

To arrive at a downhill break was a treat for the legs. Runners found their own ways of taking on the challenge; running with friends and family, taking Selfies, running with their dogs or just taking it one step at a time. The half marathon turnaround was at the end of a tunnel. You’ve heard the phrase ‘There’s light at the end of the tunnel’ . . . it was a welcome sight for sure. The return trip was downhill which allowed runners to recapture some of their time lost on the uphill climb.

 

Awards were given to the top three men and women in 10 year age categories. I had a great feeling of accomplishment crossing the finish line of this course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave and Charlea Sherman, Molly Childs, Marsha Murray, Karen Lichtenstein and myself enjoyed our post-race event by indulging in a well deserved meal while rehashing the days’ event. Many post-race conversations were held at our hotel. It is amazing what happens in a room filled with fellow runners. The camaraderie and humor is understood only by a group of humans who insist on seeing what their bodies can endure.

Okay, where shall we do our next half?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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