The biggest news in the local running scene is the opening of the brand new Forerunners store on Main Street! How excited was I to learn that our longest run of the BMO Marathon training calendar would be the Forerunners Social Run – starting at the new store?!
If you live in Vancouver (or nearby) and haven’t visited Forerunners at 3889 Main Street (at 23rd) – go! It’s lovely! While they’re still putting on the finishing touches, the space is huge and bright. Among the features, lockers to keep your gear during a run (bring your own padlock), a Strava screen to track our runs, and a chocolate milk fridge with a couple of easy chairs nearby. Not a bad deal.
The Forerunners Social Run gave us a chance to start at the new location, and we were joined by runners from a variety of different places (Mission – and Toronto!) and running groups (including North Burnaby Runners). Quite a crowd packed into the space – and there was a long line for the swanky new washroom – as we waited to begin.
Coach Carey revved up his new sound system, and gave us an overview of what the Forerunners Social Run would look like. Instead of his trusty whiteboard, Carey sketched a map on a piece of brown paper (which I think they’ve been using to cover the windows at night, until the security gates are in place!).
The route had a couple of options – 19km for those training for the half, and 36km for the full. This would be our longest run of the training cycle, and we’ll taper from here. Our fearless pace group leaders lined up for introductions – Walter, Carlos, Lucy, Kristin, Judy and Dan – and then we were off!
We headed out towards Ontario Street, and then straight down to the Seawall near Science World. I had the pleasure of chatting with a visitor to the group – Navin – in town from Toronto for the week. I learned that in the 8 years since he started running, he’s completed 60 marathon. Not to mention a few ultras along the way. Impressive! I can’t wait to complete marathon number 3!
We reached our first water stop at the entrance to Stanley Park, and enjoyed a wee break before our counter-clockwise loop of Stanley Park. A few of us were struggling with temperature – it was a bit damp, slightly chilly but also humid. I stuck with my long-sleeved shirt. The folks running 19km turned around here to head back to the store.
By the far side of Stanley Park, I was glad I’d stuck to my guns. The wind picked up and chilly became chillier. Fortunately, the cooler weather meant fewer folks on the Seawall – we had the place much to ourselves.
Circling back to the water stop, we took another well-deserved break.
Familiar terrain now, as we cruised along English Bay, over Burrard Bridge, and back to our usual digs at Forerunners on 4th. Karen was ready with a third water stop – how spoiled we were! – and reminded us that we were about two-thirds done. And, by now, the sun had come out and we were warming up!
A few twists and turns, and we ended up on the long-suffering but finally paved Arbutus Greenway. After just a few block, however, we ran into Carey where he had set up our fourth (and final!) water stop.
We continued along the Greenway for another kilometre or two, and then turned onto 33rd Avenue. Where most of our run had been fairly flat, now the hills began. To compensate, however, cherry blossoms!
The final few kilometres – like any long run – were challenging. When we finally reached Queen Elizabeth Park (where the BMO Vancouver Marathon begins), the end was nearly in sight. I egged Byron on to sprint the final 2 blocks to the store, which he gamely did. Then. We. Were. Done.
With great thanks to the Forerunners team, we wrapped up our Forerunners Social Run with pancakes – as well as fruit juice, bananas, and chocolate milk. Not a shabby end to a long but surprisingly enjoyable run.
Make sure to hook up with Forerunners on social:
Forerunners Main Street
Forerunners 4th Ave
How do you like to do your long runs?
On your own, or with a group like Forerunners?