Vancouver Historic Half 10k

Posted: December 2, 2017 in My Story, Race Reports
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vancouver historic halfI hadn’t planned on running a race the weekend after returning from Mexico. But when Susan announced that she and Michelle had signed up for the Vancouver Historic Half 10K, I couldn’t resist. Although I’ve participated in a couple of TRY Events races before (Chilly Chase Half and Shamrock’n 7 Miler), this was my first ever Historic Half 10k!

This race event is called the Vancouver Historic Half, but I’ve not been able to determine if there’s a reason for this name, other than the fact that Stanley Park is an historic, and scenic, part of Vancouver. The race includes not only a half marathon, but also a 10k and a 5k. The half marathon is a double loop of Stanley Park. Having just done a race that involved 10 loops of a track (I’m talking about you, Mission Half Marathon!), I wasn’t prepared to do it again, so I stuck with the 10k.

Package Pickup

Pre-race information stated unequivocally that there was NO package pickup on race day. Fair enough. It’s a pain to manage, requires extra volunteers, etc. But the only pickup in Vancouver was Friday night, and I already had after-work commitments. Saturday, I would have had to truck out to North Burnaby, which is tough when you don’t have a car and the location isn’t very transit friendly.

Thankfully, Susan to the rescue! She kindly picked up bibs for Michelle and me (and may have done some Ladysport shopping for herself…). Apparently, there was some confusion at the store. To keep the sidewalk clear and allow folks to stay dry inside, people were given numbers (kind of like at a deli). However, they started calling them out in the wrong order (as in, latecomers first).

Thanks, Susan, for your help!!

Race Morning

As usual, we expected rain. Somehow, though, the morning was crisp and…well, not clear, but at least dry. Susan swung by to pick me up, we parked near the Aquarium, and wandered down to the start line at Lumberman’s Arch.

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There were lots of people milling about and a couple of familiar faces, but I didn’t know or run into as many folks as I usually do. I was grateful to have Michelle and Susan there to keep me company, and to huddle with to stay warm.

vancouver historic half

While I was quite chilly, I decided to check most of my gear and stick with shorts, a t-shirt and gloves. The young man at gear check was taking photos of each bag and making notes on his iPhone, which I thought was an interesting approach to tracking!

The half marathon started promptly at 9:00am, which the 10k and 5k following in successive waves. Once the half runners had headed out, I moved toward the front to start my 10k.

The Course

We headed counter-clockwise around the Seawall, the Lions Gate Bridge in view from the beginning. It was kind of like a deja vu of the James Cunningham Seawall Race from about a month ago, except that we started on the far side of the park. And this time, it wasn’t raining!

I warmed up quickly, and was glad I hadn’t worn my arm sleeves!

Things were going well until the inevitable happened: I started to catch up with the half marathoners. Everyone has their own pace, and I respect that. The challenge comes when trying to overtake other runners who don’t stay to the side of the path. The Seawall is great, but it’s narrow. I found myself caught behind folks running two or three abreast, unaware of those around them.

In order to maintain my pace, I ended up jumping up onto the bike path to pass, an extra bit of athleticism that I hardly possess!

Things started to improve around 5km, when the 10k had a slight out-and-back near Second Beach, and the half had a slightly further out-and-back. Paces were more aligned, and folks more spread out.

MILE MARKERS – OK, kilometre markers, but anyway…these were a problem. Because of that extended out-and-back for the half? That meant their kilometre markers were different from the 10k. But they were the same colour. It was so confusing! In my mind, I had figured this out, but in reality, it made me question myself. Fortunately, I had my Garmin to keep track, but not everyone has this technology.

The volunteers on course were great – very encouraging, pointed us in the right direction – always appreciate what the volunteers do!

Nothing worth noting in the second half – obviously, we’re spoiled for beautiful scenery here! The Seawall didn’t fail to deliver, as usual. In the final kilometre, I found some extra energy, and picked up the pace to the finish line…which is unforgivingly uphill, but blessedly short!

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Love the medal!

vancouver historic half

Post-Race

I grabbed my gear bag to put on an extra layer, and then chatted with Christina from nuun.

vancouver historic half

She told me she had done her first race ever at the Fall Classic 5k – with my pace group! and finished even faster than she had expected to! Congrats, Christina!

There were some bananas, bagels and one-bite brownies in cardboard boxes near the gear check. I found it a bit odd that no volunteers were handing out the food, or even pointing out where it was. It seemed somewhat ‘each man for himself’.

Michelle and Susan joined me soon afterwards, followed by the lead half marathoners whizzing across the finish line. Craziness!

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We celebrated our success!

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And then we were to De Dutch Pannekoek House for a hard-earned breakfast…and watched as the heavens opened. We missed that downpour!

Final Results

Chip Time: 49:58
Average Pace:
Overall Place: 36/230
Place in Age Category: 6/17

For full results, click here.


Quick Recap – Vancouver Historic Half 10k

Social Media: TRY Events is a local outfit. They have some decent activity on Twitter, limited Instagram posts, and I struggled but couldn’t find anything on Facebook. However, their pre-race email is sufficiently informative, and their website is quite comprehensive.

Packet Pickup: The Vancouver Historic Half pickup options were Friday night in Kitsilano, and Saturday in Burnaby – with no option for pickup on race day. This was challenging for me, since I wasn’t available on Friday and couldn’t get to Burnaby on Saturday. Thankfully, they allow friends to pick up on your behalf, and I have a good friend.

T-Shirt/Swag: We received a TRY Events drawstring bag and a remarkably nice long-sleeved technical shirt. I quite like the logo for this year’s race, and the medal was a nifty eagle to match! Also, free finish line photos from Photobomb Creative!

Course: The Vancouver Historic Half 10k is a counter-clockwise loop of Stanley Park, starting and finishing at Lumberman’s Arch. The half is a double loop and the 5k a quick out-and-back. Fast and flat, except for the wee uphill at the finish. Amazing scenery throughout. Two complaints: runner etiquette – please move to the right so people can pass! And some improvement to the confusing mile markers.

Post-Race: Simple – some bananas, bagels and brownies in cardboard boxes. And lots of nuun available! Really wish they’d had coffee to warm me up.

Would I Run It Again? Heading into 2018, I’d like to get some variety in my races. Living downtown, and running the Seawall often, I’m not sure if I want to do another ‘loop of Stanley Park’ race again too soon. But I had fun, and wouldn’t write it off completely. We’ll see what the new year brings!

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