The 11th annual Lacamas Lake Half Marathon not only welcomes walkers, they provide a Half Marathon Walk category. I was one of the 65 walkers who trailed the 589 runners on Sunday, July 27, 2014. This was a new race for me. They changed the course from previous years and that was a deciding factor. It is sponsored by Fit Right Walking and Running
After the Foot Traffic Flat Half, you could definitely call this one the Lacamas Lake Lumpy. It has a very steep hill at the start, climbs through most of the first half, and another steep uphill at the halfway point.
The smaller race was very friendly and convenient. In 2014 it started right in the charming heart of downtown Camas, Washington, on 4th and Cedar. There is plenty of parking in downtown Camas, including a large parking lot. I arrived an hour before the race to check things out. There was some weirdness with porta-johns being moved around by the contractor. We ended up with a longer line in front of a single bank of porta-johns.
But many businesses were also open at 7 am in downtown Camas to welcome the racers. They had a few vendors set up at the starting line. Everything seemed relaxed and friendly.
The walkers have their own starting gun five minutes after the runners. That was a friendly way to acknowledge the walkers and to keep them from blocking the runners. But in fact I think most of the runners were walkers in the first kilometer with a very, very steep climb through Camas. Anybody who thought the morning was cool was very warmed up by the top of the hill.
The route turns onto SR500 passing by Lacamas Lake and then taking Leadbetter along the north shore of the lake. The left lane of the two-lane road is coned-off for the racers. The course is mostly shaded, which is a very welcome thing for a July half marathon. It was great to be walking surrounded by greenery, with views of the lake. I also enjoyed seeing horses, cattle, llamas and goats.
After six miles we turned south as we rounded the west end of the lake. There was a mile-out and mile-back leg tothe Camas Meadow Golf Club to make the distance, with another steep hill. But by mile 8 we were on the gravel trail alongside Lacamas Lake. This is a narrow trail where you mostly have to walk single file. I found that it slowed me, but I'm sure many love the trail surface.
The race provided water stations every two miles, with energy gel, and most of them had two porta-johns. This was very welcome as they had left the old verbiage on their site saying only two stations would have restrooms.
A bike patrol would pass by every few minutes to ensure everyone was safe.
As a walker, it was nice to always be in view of other walkers but on an uncrowded course. The whole day was a delight, even though very sweaty.
The race finishes at the Mill City Brew Werks, which provided a free beer for all adult racers in a beer garden. I finished with 15 minutes to spare before the four hour cutoff. I did not see any food or snacks at the finish line, even though they are listed on the web site for the event. But the race announcer, Greg Pressler, was announcing everyone's name as they crossed the finish. The medal handlers were alert and ready to give out awards for the walkers, and I was handed a cup of replenisher sports drink.
I didn't really miss the food as I was targeting the beer after the race. I was quickly admitted to the now-sparsely-populated beer garden when I proved my age. I had a cold cup of their pale ale, which was simply wonderful. I enjoyed a seat and sipped the beer as the final walkers came in on the finish cutoff. I would rank this very walker-friendly other than the lack of food at the finish.
No matter, I enjoyed a burger inside the Mill City Brew Werks and it was fantastic. I would happily return. The same goes for the Lacamas Lake Half Marathon.