The Great Climate Race

Posted: November 9, 2015 in Race Reports
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Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Great Climate Race through the awesome folks at West Van Run! Don’t forget to sign up for the West VanRun 5K or 10K (or both!) on March 5 & 6 – get 15% with discount code ‘bradley’.

I learned about the Great Climate Race a few months ago. It was co-founded by Ben West and Mari McMillan, two folks who are truly passionate about our environment. Their commitment to combatting climate change brought about this year’s inaugural event, the overarching purpose of which was to bring people together to crowdfund for local solar energy.

Here’s how the weekend went down:

Saturday

I had already committed to joining the Forerunners crew, rain or shine. And rain it did. Unlike the previous week, when the rain let up just a few minutes into a run, this day we got no reprieve. In fact, it seemed that with every step (into a puddle) we took, the rain got harder and the waters got deeper. We had the option of running 11km or 15km, but when I hit the water stop at 5.5km, I just had to turn back.

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Thanks to Stephen Chung for this authentic experience

Arriving at the store, I wrung out my gloves (outside) before gathering with the other #hardcore runners for this mid-deluge photo:

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Thankfully, I had brought a change of clothes – although not extra shoes, so my clean socks were soaked within seconds of putting them on. Still, I was mostly dry as I headed to the local Patagonia store to pick up my race package for the next day. In keeping with the ‘zero waste’ policy of the Great Climate Race, the package consisted of my bib.

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Sunday

Since the 10K didn’t start until 10am, I had a leisurely morning. I ate my oatmeal, drank my coffee, and had some toast with peanut butter. Lazed around a bit. It was actually nice not having to be at a race at the crack of dawn! Then I grabbed a car2go, picked Sam up at the station, and we were off to the start!

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When we arrived at Ceperley Park (Second Beach), the 2.5km race was just finishing. There were tons of people milling about, and we kept running into familiar faces.

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There were public washrooms close by – hooray! – so that made life easier, especially after all the coffee I’d consumed! Karin led us in a quick warm-up, and things were under way.

I had debated with myself about whether or not to wear my singlet, since I’m still a bit self-conscious. But I wanted to show my West Van Run spirit, so I didn’t let my snow-white skin get in the way! Sam, Sarah, Ben and I huddled together between the 40 minute and 50 minute pace bears.

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The first kilometre involved some serious puddle-jumping, as we looped the park and ran along the Lost Lagoon trail. Soon enough, we connected with the seawall, and started our counter-clockwise loop of Stanley Park.

You may recall from my Rock ‘n’ Roll Cunningham Seawall 10K that we did a clockwise loop. I debated at that time which direction was harder, at least from a psychological perspective. On this race day, I concluded that the hardest direction is whatever direction you happen to be going! That is my final word on the topic (until I change my mind!!)

The volunteers along the route – including those holding the kilometre markers – were fantastic. So enthusiastic and cheery! I have so much respect for the folks who stand out in whatever weather happens to be on order, and encourage the rest of us. They are truly the heroes of each and every race!

True to the sustainable nature of the Great Climate Race, there was a single water stop with no paper cups – we were forewarned (i.e. encouraged) to bring our own water bottles. I’m not to run with liquids, so I bypassed this station with a wave.

I was glad by now that I had elected to wear my singlet, because I was HOT – but still smiling (mostly because I passed the 50 minute pace bear… you can see him in the background!). Debra was smiling in her polar bear cap, too!

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At one point, a young woman in yellow passed me, ran about 100 metres ahead, then turned and went back. As she passed from view, I heard someone cheerily shout, “You’re going the wrong way!” I cringed a little, thinking back to the awful experience I had during the Scotiabank Half…that is a phrase I will never utter again.

Up until this point, my legs had been feeling a bit heavy. But as we got close to the 8km mark, I forced myself to pick up the pace. One of my internal mantras, picked up earlier this year, is: “Don’t pass anyone in the first kilometre, and don’t let anyone pass you in the last kilometre.” I pushed myself to get ahead of some of the folks in front of me…and then THE GIRL IN YELLOW passed me!! Yep – she passed me again, even after running back behind me! Harumph.

Rounding the final corner, I realized with a mild groan that the race ended on an uphill. And then I saw Sam’s blue ponytail bobbing along up front and I forced myself to gun it and catch up with her. While I didn’t grab her hand in a victory wave (she had earbuds in and I didn’t want to freak her out), we crossed the finish link at the exact same moment, true West Van Runners!

Celebratory photos!

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Final Results

Chip Time: 48:55
Average Pace: 98/742
Place Overall: 12/49
Age Category Place: 4:53 min/km

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RACE REPORT

Packet Pickup
Not much to report – quick and straight-forward. Dropped by Patagonia, got my bib, and I was on my way. If it hadn’t been for my wet feet (thanks to a run in the rain just before), I might have hung around a bit. But I didn’t.

T-Shirt/Swag
In keeping with the sustainability theme of the race, no t-shirt (though they did have some fun trucker caps for sale!). The ‘medal’ was a cute leaf on a string.

Course
Counter-clockwise on the Stanley Park seawall. Almost entirely flat. Scenic – with views of the ocean, the park, the North Shore mountains…everything you’d want from an environment-themed run in Vancouver! One aid station without paper cups – you had to bring your own water bottle!

Post-Race
Climate bear was there to welcome us to the finish line! Apples, bananas, CLIF Bars and (as long as you had your own water bottle, or bought one on site) water. Friends and fun!

Would I Run It Again?
Yes! I was glad to be part of the inaugural Great Climate Race, and I look forward to seeing how things progress in the coming years.

 

And while I’m at it, I’m linking up with Marcia from Marcia’s Healthy Slice for Tuesdays on the Run!

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Comments
  1. Kristen says:

    This race sounds awesome! Love the theme and the course sounds gorgeous. I’m really hoping to get to run in Vancouver someday!

    • bjcjapan says:

      It was a fun race and you should totally come and run in Vancouver. We have so many great races throughout the year – it’s totally worth a visit!

  2. Megan says:

    It is so great to find another Canadian runner, (or runner in Canada as the case may be?) in this blog hop. I used to live in Vancouver so looking at your pics brings back memories. Ths looks like a crazy run though, that rain!! Well done!
    Meg x

    • bjcjapan says:

      Canadian runner here for sure – and you are an honorary one! When did you live here? Scroll through my blog and you’ll see lots of Vancouver scenery. Thankfully, the rain was the day before and the race was perfectly dry!

      • Megan says:

        Yes I will be checking out your Vancouver pics for sure 🙂 I lived there in 2013, I’m in Montreal now, but I’m an Aussie. Vancouver is definitely more beautiful than Montreal, but I love both cities!

  3. Marcia says:

    Thank heavens it didn’t rain like that on race day! Overall this looks like a great race, especially for an inaugural year. Congrats on a solid finish! Thanks for linking up too! : )

  4. Elizabeth says:

    This looks like a fun race! Beautiful scenery but what really sold me was the picture opp with the bear at the end. 🙂

    • bjcjapan says:

      Climate Bear was hugging everyone as they crossed the finish line! He was a bit gamey at the end, but still awesome! 🙂

  5. Congrats on a great race! It sounds like its really well organized, and that the course is a great one to run on.

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks, Kathryn! I was impressed how organized it was, for an inaugural race – and you can’t beat the Seawall!

  6. Brittany says:

    Free entry!? Heck yea!! Looks cold, but worth every mile!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Before and after was chilly, but during was just right! And what’s better than free, right? Except Climate Bear, of course!

  7. Oh wow that picture the day before, I’m not sure I could have done that! So very glad it wasn’t that way on race day! Lucky you, I’m still holding out for a free race entry too! Maybe one day! This course looks so nice and the theme love it! This was a great recap Bradley!
    Tricia@MissSippipiddlin recently posted…I’m in the Spotlight!My Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      I wouldn’t have done that if it hadn’t been for my awesome running group. And truth be told I turned back earlier than some folks. Very lucky to have a rain-free race the next day!
      I’ve been fortunate to get a few free race entries this year. Would love to make that a theme for a year – only run races for free! Ha!
      Thanks for coming by!!

  8. what a fun looking race! congrats on your finish and great job. Love the Polar Bear costume haha 🙂
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…5 Ways to Be More Present During the HolidaysMy Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Thanks, Mar. It was a really great race and the polar bear delighted me! I feel very fortunate to live in a city like Vancouver where we can run in such beautiful places!!

  9. Christy says:

    I really got a kick out of seeing everyone dressed up as polar bears! The skirt was truly hilarious. Glad you enjoyed it!
    Christy recently posted…Day One: Our First Time in Philadelphia!My Profile