The PEACEHEALTH APPLETREE MARATHON FESTIVAL transitions to a VIRTUAL race with a pre-marked course and so many upgrades that 2020 may be the BEST year ever!

August 14, 2020

Portland vs Vancouver 5K Challenge - Who will be crowned fastest?

Vancouver WA – Covid-19 is dealing out some pretty rotten apples, but Why Racing Events is using it as an opportunity to make their 2020 PEACEHEALTH APPLETREE Marathon Festival the best year ever. Although the race is transitioning to a virtual option, which means athletes aren’t able to race together, the event will instead offer an official 5K, Half Marathon and Marathon course that will be pre-marked for 9 days from September 19th– September 27th for athletes to complete their distance(s).

Sherri McMillan, race director and owner of Why Racing Events, announced that, “a pre-marked course will give local athletes and others who would like to travel to Vancouver, WA, the opportunity to start in front of Eatery at the Grant House, race along Historical Officer’s Row, through Fort Vancouver and along the beautiful Columbia River Waterfront. It really is one of the most scenic and historical courses in the Northwest and athletes can enjoy it racing on their own or with a small group of family and friends while practicing physical distancing. If athletes are not local, they can participate on their favorite course in their community from anywhere around the world and still feel like we are racing together, apart! Last year, we had 8 countries represented and we’d like to beat that in 2020.”

Registration and details are available at https://whyracingevents.com/appletree-marathon/

A new component of the virtual event is the “Portland vs Vancouver 5K” challenge“We wanted to do something fun, exciting and create a challenge that would bring people together so we can feel that sense of community,” says McMillan. The challenge requires athletes to choose either Team Vancouver or Team Portland when they register and the team with the fastest average 5K time gets bragging rights.

McMillan continues, “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? Which news reporters who live on either side of the river are the fastest? If companies have offices on both sides of the river, they can race against each other. Which city can inspire the most amount of people per capita to take on the challenge? Portland and Vancouver are friendly neighbors bordering the mighty Columbia River so let’s see which city is the fittest! There’s definitely going to be some smack talk going on!”

Another new option added to the 2020 virtual event is the Marathon & Half Marathon challenge, allowing participants to complete the 26.2 or 13.1 miles over a number of days not to exceed the race period of 9 days. “Not everyone is able to or wants to run an entire Marathon or Half Marathon all at once. 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 9 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,” says McMillan.

“The best part of this event is all the upgraded swag that our participants are going to get this year thanks to our partners and sponsors including PEACEHEALTH, McCords Vancouver Toyota, the City of Vancouver, IQ Credit Union, Fairwinds, Foot Traffic, Franz Bakery and more, ” says Karissa Schoene, Event and Marketing Director for Why Racing Events. The list of gifts each participate will receive is impressive with all athletes receiving a Technical Finisher’s Racing Shirt, 3D APPLE Medal BLING, Buff, Drawstring Bag, Event Glass, First Aid & Sanitizing kit and SWAG bag full of goodies. In addition, all Marathon, Half Marathon and Challenge participants also get a hoodie sweatshirt and arm sleeves. No one gives out this amount of SWAG. We know how to take care of our athletes,” says Schoene.

2020 also claimed the death of the Old AppleTree, the oldest AppleTree on the West Coast, that the PeaceHealth AppleTree event was named after. On some of the SWAG items, the tree will be honored with an enscription “RIP OLD APPLETREE 1826-2020.”

FUNDRAISING: In 2019, the event raised over $40,000 for its main beneficiaries and local schools and clubs. “Our goal is to try and surpass this in 2020. Wouldn’t that be a testimony to how amazing our community is if we could actually raise more funds for our beneficiaries during a global pandemic?!,” says McMillan.

A group of police officers, first responders and supporters will be participating in the event as part of the PAL Squad, some racing in full uniform. Each member commits to raising $500 for Police Activities League, an organization committed to improving the relationships between police officers and youth in our community through recreational opportunities. In addition, $5 from each paid adult registration will be split between Police Activities League of Southwest Washington and Friends of the Fort. When athletes register, they can also set up a fundraising page to help raise donations and put an even more compelling WHY to their virtual race.

KIDS (12 and under) can participate in the virtual 5K for free and get a shirt, medal, bag, and bib and youth participants aged 13-17 can participate at a 50% reduced rate. McMillan explains, “The ‘Kids race for FREE’ initiative is important to us. We are teaching them important life lessons and how to focus on the positive during these challenging times. Kids are really struggling through Covid-19 and need to feel a sense of accomplishment. Getting them moving is going to help with their physical and mental health!”

Another new aspect of the event is the BEAST CHALLENGE! If you perform 2 or 3 of the events, you can earn the title of ‘BEAST’. McMillan explains, “since it’s a virtual race, you can do multiple events over the nine days. For example, you could do a Half Marathon one day, the 5K on another day and the Marathon challenge over the week. Any combination counts and you can earn a Beast Medal or the coveted Triple Headed Beast Medal for doing three events.”

“We look forward to the PEACEHEALTH APPLETREE Marathon Festival every year and we are so happy to be able to provide a way for participants to train, focus on their health and fitness, step up to the start line, take on the challenge of a Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5k, and feel the sense of joy and excitement of crossing the finish line. A virtual finish line is better than no finish line. Plus, I think our athletes are going to agree, we’re going to make this year our best year ever,” says Schoene.

The race will utilize the RunKeeper app to track participant times and calculate race results and a leaderboard. Athletes will send in race photos, videos and results and there will still be an official photo album, race video, finisher’s certificate, results listing and a Happy Hour virtual awards ceremonies. “It will be a wonderful way to commemorate what we did during the 2020 Global Pandemic. Instead of focusing on what we can’t do, we can focus on what we can do. We can’t race together physically, but we can still race together in spirit,” McMillan encourages.

Registration for all three race distances is open with an adult rate of $55 for the 5K event and $80 for the Half Marathon / Marathon race or challenge options and includes all upgraded SWAG and fundraising.

WHAT: PEACHEALTH APPLETREE Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K

WHEN: September 19th – September 27th

WHERE: Anywhere around the world or starting on Officer’s Row in front of the Grant House

HOW: Registration and all details at https://whyracingevents.com/appletree-marathon/

About Why Racing Events:

Why Racing Events is a multi-sport event management organization that offers athletes of all ages and abilities, from the elite level to the back-of-the-packers, the chance to successfully complete a racing event. They host a series of events every year from March to October, including children’s races, fun runs, half marathons, marathons, duathlons and triathlons. They are committed to providing a positive experience to everyone involved while raising awareness and funds for important community causes. Find out more information about Why Racing Events at www.whyracingevents.com


 Contact Information
Sherri McMillan
Founder and CEO