Discovering the beauty of Lacamas Lake on foot

Approximately 1,675 participants ventured around the lake during Sunday's half marathon run and walk

Babies in strollers to athletes in their 80s made their way around the track at Cardon Field Sunday as part of the seventh-annual Fit Right Northwest Lacamas Lake half marathon and Round Lake four-mile run and walk.

At the age of 80, Esther Nosler of Vancouver was one of the oldest participants in the event that drew approximately 1,675 runners and walkers from Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, Portland, and other areas in Washington and Oregon. In 2009, she finished first in her age group on the four-mile walk. On Sunday, she took second with a time of 57 minutes, 55 seconds.

“I love this course, but it’s very tough. It’s a hard one because there are a lot of hills,” Nosler said. “I had a good time. The weather was just beautiful.”

Nosler loves to exercise. She works out at Lacamas Swim & Sport six times a week.

“It’s very important for me to stay active,” she said. “The gym is fun. Everyone is so friendly. It’s just a very nice atmosphere at Lacamas.”

A handful of Camas and Washougal athletes finished in the top 10 of their respective races. Complete results are available online at www.lacamaslakerunwalk.com.

Sami Andrews of Camas took third place overall in the half marathon run with a time of 1 hour, 31.03 minutes. She also finished first in her age group of 19- to 29-year-olds. Kim Lester of Camas snatched second overall in the four-mile run (29:22), and Wendi Oneill of Camas notched fifth (36:12).

Anniel Franklin finished fourth in the female master’s division of the four-mile run (38:48), and Cynthia Oviatt of Washougal captured fifth (40:06). Mollie Collings of Washougal claimed ninth overall in the half marathon walk (2:44.01). Pamela Saunders of Camas earned eighth in the female master’s division (2:46.54).

“Our goal is for these people to have a good experience, period,” said racing director Dave Sobolik. “We want them to have a good time so that they come back next year, and bring their friends and family. Seeing people cross the finish line with a smile on their face is a good testiment to how much fun they’re having.”

The support from the community for the runs and walks around Lacamas Lake during Camas Days makes Sobolik’s job a whole lot easier. He said at least 150 volunteers helped out with registration, course management, directing traffic and supervising parking.

“This is the least stressed I’ve ever been at a road race,” Sobolik said. “Being a Camas resident myself, it’s a pleasure to be able to put on an event like this in a place I call home.”

Sobolik is also thrilled to see the numbers growing from 700 participants in 2008 and 1,300 in 2009 to 1,675 this year. He said the event is attracting the entire family. As many as 150 children ran alongside their moms and dads during the kids run.

“Out on the road, I ran into a family of five. Their only complaint was why they hadn’t done this before,” Sobolik said. “It was just mom, dad and their three kids. They were all out here together as a family. It was pretty cool.”

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