Disclaimer: I received a free entry to The Great Climate Race 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!
In writing this post, I feel a bit guilty because my involvement in the race itself was remarkably minimal. I showed up, ran the race, and then dashed off for brunch with friends. Nevertheless, it was a very positive experience, so I’ll provide all the details I can!
The Great Climate Race focuses on the impact climate change has on all of us. It’s a walking/ running event series that enables participants to crowdfund for local renewable energy projects. I definitely recommend visiting the Great Climate Race website to learn more.
I ran the inaugural Great Climate Race last year, and had a brilliant time! I assumed that things could only get better – since a new race is bound to have a few glitches, and the 2015 race really didn’t – so I was excited to run it again.
Debra kindly offered to pick up my race package the day before. October had been a pretty busy month, so any help is appreciated.
Grabbing a Mobi bike, I cruised the couple of kilometres down towards Stanley Park. As I reached English Bay, who should be running alongside but Debra! I paced her for a block or so, parked my bike, and we wandered toward the start line.
It was a beautiful morning – foggy and chilly, but free from rain in a month where it rained for 29 out of 31 days, and broke records. Small mercies!
I generally resist wearing costumes, and a pre-Hallowe’en race with the West Van Run Crew was no exception. Having said that, I gladly donned a bit of cat-related gear for the photo ops.
Our start time was slightly delayed, since we had to wait around for the Kids (and sundry costumed adults) 2k race to finish. Among the finishers – Beetlejuice and friends!
Once everyone had wrapped up, the 10k race was ready to go…starting about 10 minutes late.
How do I describe a course that I’ve run so many times before? The loop around Stanley Park (counter-clockwise for this race) is part of multiple runs, including my own training runs. The scenery is familiar, the twists and turns and the distance to the next landmark are predictable. Certainly, depending on the weather (and my mood), how long these distances feel is another thing entirely. If you’ve ever run Stanley Park (e.g. BMO Vancouver Half, Seawheeze, Summerfast…to name a few), you know what I’m talking about.
What I’m trying to say is…the course did not disappoint. Mid-way through, there was an aid station. You had the option of filling your own container, or drinking from a reusable cup, since the Great Climate Race is a waste-free event. I did neither, feeling strong and relatively hydrated.
During the latter half of the course, there were photographers and numerous volunteers, though the latter were remarkably low key. I actually tried cheering them on to get a bit of enthusiasm going!
Although I crossed the finish line with Samantha last year, she bested me this year.
She was waiting for me when I got to the end. We chatted briefly, took a selfie. (Yes, Sam had more costume game than me!)
And then I said to her: “Oh, I have brunch with friends at 10:30.”
To which she replied: “You mean now?”
And then I realized that I had somehow miscalculated, and that I was going to be late.
Without waiting around to cheer on any of my teammates, I grabbed my checked bag – it took the young volunteers a few minutes to track it down – and literally ran out of the park, jumped on a Mobi, and caught up with my friends for ramen (lunch more than brunch!)
Chip time: 50:45
Average pace: 5:04 min/km
Place overall: 71/608
Age category place (40-49): 12/43
Quick Review – The Great Climate Race
Social Media: The Great Climate Race organizers are pretty savvy and active on social media. You can find them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Certainly no shortage of information to get us ready for the big day!
Package Pickup: Since Debra kindly picked up my race package, I didn’t experience it – but it was held at Patagonia on 4th Avenue.
T-Shirt/Swag: No t-shirt for this race, but we received a very cool hand-crafted wooden medal at the finish line. Very nice to add to the collection!
Course: Stanley Park Seawall, counter-clockwise, beginning and ending at Ceperley Park. Flat and – arguably – fast, although I never seem to be able to swing a PB on this route!
Post-Race: Whatever they had, I missed it! For sure, there was a water-filling station, and assuredly some food – I just don’t know what kind.
Organization: Other than the fact that the 2.5k race ‘took longer’ than last year, resulting in a later start by about 10 minutes, things went off pretty smoothly. No complaints.
Would I run it again? Depending on how many Seawall races I end up doing in 2017, I would probably give the Great Climate Race another go. I’ll get faster eventually, right?