I don’t much like driving at night. I need to wear glasses, and if it’s raining then I get really anxious. I’m not a big fan of running at night, either. But with the Night Race Vancouver under my belt – I may have to rethink that!
The Night Race was on my calendar a few months ago. I pondered signing up, missed the earlybird deadline and, after committing to several other races in Septmeber (including 5 Peaks, Spirit Run, and Eastside 10k), basically talked myself out of it.
Then, I ended up doing the Terry Fox Run, joining forces with a bunch of my partner’s coworkers. They were tremendously enthusiastic and encouraged us to join the upcoming Night Race. By the end of the day – with the midnight registration deadline fast approaching – both my better half and I were signed up!
About the Night Race
The Night Race is actually a series, taking place in 6 cities across Canada. The Vancouver event took place on Friday night, and involved a 1km kids race, as well as a 5k and a 10k. We ran the latter, a loop of Stanley Park that basically mirrored the Terry Fox Run from the previous week – except it wasn’t pouring rain, and we started and finished at the Stanley Park Pavilion.
Package pickup was held at the Running Room on Denman on Wednesday and Thursday nights. We went down on the first night, and got the race T-shirt (a nice, midnight blue Brooks technical shirt), an Energizer 4 LED headlight (batteries included!), and a bag of magazines and promo materials – most of which I recycled almost immediately. I’ll admit that the headlamp was one of the big motivators for doing this race – that and the novelty of the whole thing!
I have to admit I was underwhelmed by the social media presence and communications for this race. By the day of, we had received no updates or reminders beyond the initial registration email. Referring to the website, I found it a bit challenging to navigate, and information on race day was sparse. It indicated a 7:10pm start (made sense – sunset being at 7:03pm) – but was that for the 5k or the 10k? Or both?
It was impossible to tell. Found it! But it was at the bottom of the ‘Race Kit Pick Up’ page? Not intuitive.
And, as of writing, the most recent photographs from previous races are from 2013. And their last tweet was on September 22 – three days prior to the race itself.
We arrived to crowds and announcements at about 6:45 – and they were telling us to hurry up because things were about to start! Really? Already? Quickly checked my bag (very efficient) and made a potty stop – and it turned out it was the kids race that started at 7:10. This gave me a bit of time to get some fluorescent face paint, and we finally started at 7:25pm.
The first kilometre or so was a bit of a bottleneck, everyone jockeying for position and getting used to the bobbing headlamps. I decided to pace my partner in crime, taking things a bit slower and really enjoying the atmosphere of the run.
As darkness fell, there were some beautiful views of the city, and a bright full moon above us. I tried taking some pictures, but I yet again proved my lack of skill with low-light photography.
The coolest part of the race, by far, was looking back along the seawall and seeing dozens of dancing lights. It must have been amazing to see from above! Also, running under the illuminated Lions Gate Bridge was pretty neat.
One of the weirdest moments: somewhere between Third Beach and Second Beach, a woman. Wearing black, in the dark, carrying no lights and nothing reflective…walking backwards.
At last, we skirted Lost Lagoon and reached the final (uphill!) push to the finish line, with lights and cheers and neon! We regrouped with our peeps and lined up for refreshments!
What we got was: Pure Protein bars, King Island coconut water, French fries, veggie (or chicken) wraps, and a bottle of Molson Canadian. We gathered inside – where black light brought some awesome colour to my face paint and bright orange Buff – and enjoyed our food.
It turned out there were some issues with timing chips. They had these odd overhead timers, rather than mats, and apparently some folks’ times started before the gun even went off. However, by Sunday everything seemed to have been sorted out.
In the end, we went home satisfied, sore and a bit chilly – but ultimately we had a great time!
Chip Time: 1:06:41
Average Pace: 6:40 min/km
Place Overall: 240/399
Age Category Place: 19/26
I hadn’t heard of this race before, but I understand this race has been going on for a few years. It kind of felt like an inaugural race. Don’t get me wrong – it was good fun – but things just didn’t seem all that well organized. I get that it was a ‘fun run’ but it was also chip timed…I guess I just felt like things could have been a bit more professional.
Table set up at Running Room – quick and efficient. They also had a table with some cookies, which made me happy.
The t-shirt was pretty cool – midnight blue with stars and logo. But the best thing was definitely the Energizer LED headlamp – something I’ll most certainly use again!
A counter-clockwise loop of Stanley Park, starting and finishing at the Stanley Park Pavilion. Everyone I talked to agreed that it was slightly longer than 10km – more like 10.4km. But who’s counting?
I believe there were 2 aid stations with water. Not sure if they had anything else – I couldn’t see! But encouraging and enthusiastic volunteers were there for sure!
A lot of fun! Pure Protein bars, King Island coconut water, French fries, veggie (or chicken) wraps, and a bottle of Molson Canadian. The wrap was OK – kind of lacking in taste. There was a DJ, with decent music playing. We didn’t stay late, but I imagine the party went on for a bit.
This is the first race I’ve attended lately where I was disappointed by race management. As detailed in my blog post, the social media presence was quite poor, the website sub-par, and overall there seemed to be a lack of detail and organization. A bit of chaos at the start line. Issues with timing. Room for improvement.
Would I Run It Again?
Hmmm…maybe. Ultimately, it would depend on who else was running. This is definitely a ‘gimmick’ run (in a positive way), so it’s more about the experience than anything else. If I was participating with friends so we hang out afterward, and if I got in for a reduced price, then I’d probably run again. Otherwise, I think once is enough.
I’ve linked up with Jessica at The Silvah Lining for her weekly Race Recap link up!