Disclaimer: I received a free entry to MEC North Vancouver Race FIVE as part of being a WestVanRun Ambassador. Don’t forget to register for the West Van Run (5k / 10k) on March 4 & 5, 2017. Use the code ‘bradley‘ for 15% off!
Dubbed ‘Haunted Headwaters‘, the fifth and final race of the MEC North Vancouver trail series had both 5k and 10k options. Initially, I threw down and planned to sign up for the 10k, but ended up scaling back to the 5k. Which was plenty long enough for me! The event starts at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – hence the name of the race!
Susan – who joined me at last year’s Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half for her very first half marathon – picked me up for her very first trail race! She had the heater blasting, and as we crossed into North Vancouver and headed up Mountain Highway, the rain started to fall. I blame the poor visibility for me navigating us down a private road that turned into a trail…that we had to then back out of.
When we finally reached the park, we had to double back upon discovering that the first parking lot was full. The traffic situation was pretty dismal, actually, as the morning wore on – requiring folks to park quite far from the start line. But then, that’s the nature of trail races…they’re not always easy to get to!
Package pickup was quick and fairly painless, and then we enjoyed the scenery, connecting with friends and the rest of the West Van Run Crew! Thankfully, the rain had stopped by this point, and held off for the rest of the morning.
The 10k run started at 9:00am, with the 5k starting 20 minutes later. It was an eclectic group of all ages, kids through seniors, and a great array of costumes. Grumpy old man that I am, I stuck with my thematic orange and blue.
While I had expected muddy, slippery trails – that wasn’t the case at all. The route was well-maintained, rocky but fairly easy to navigate. After the initial uphill, made slightly more challenging for dodging some of the kids, it was a pretty manageable course. After looping Rice Lake, I was in familiar territory…we ran right past the starting line of February’s MEC NV Race ONE!
The trail veered downhill, and we crossed a small wooden bridge over Lynn Creek (that bounced a bit disconcertingly), and then we were back amongst the trees. It was a bit of a blur, and I was getting tired. I wanted to catch up to the folks ahead of me, but then it’s hard to pass on the trails. There were a couple of short boardwalks, and then were were climbing stairs.
And suddenly, we emerged into the parking lot and the finish line was in sight! I ‘sprinted’ the last few hundred metres, celebrating another trail race in the bag!
I cheered on a few more teammates – those finishing both the 5k and the 10k – and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee.
Then it was time for brunch.
Chip time: 28:12
Average pace: 5:38 min/km
Place overall: 40/166
Gender place (no age categories): 24/69
Quick Review – MEC North Vancouver Race FIVE (Haunted Headwaters)
Social Media: MEC events are very reasonably priced, and fairly bare bones. There is no specific event-related social media, though you can follow MEC North Vancouver on Twitter. We received a detailed email a couple of days before the race, and that communication was sufficient.
Package Pickup: We arrived early, so bib pickup was quick. The lineup had grown quite a bit as the start time approached.
T-Shirt/Swag: Bare bones. No t-shirt or swag.
Course: Slightly shy of 5k, the route was mostly well-groomed trail, with some boardwalks and a few stairs at the end. I believe the 10k course was more hilly and technical. Beautiful, unbeatable north shore scenery – flowing water, and lots of trees!
Post-Race: We got coffee (or tea), KIND bars, and bananas. Just enough to feel satisfied!
Organization: This is only the second MEC event I’ve been to, but it was just as well organized as the previous one. No complaints!
Would I run it again? There are so many MEC events throughout the year – I’ll either do this one, or another one in the series. Fun times!!