Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Park’

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Big Elf Run 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!

*Once again, special mention to Debra Kato (aka Toffeefruit Wintertree) for many of the photos in this post – despite the wacky weather, she kept taking pictures! And also to Misa Ko (Scarletfrost Greentea) for some of the scenery shots!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not really into costumes. Debra – who faithfully dresses in some of the wildest and most appropriately-themed race outfits – has consistently tried (and failed) to get me into something other than my usual gear. However, I made an exception for the Big Elf Run!

Big Elf Run

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Great Climate Race

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.

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VanRace

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to VanRace 30K in order to promote and review the race on my blog. Thank you to Euan, our illustrious Race Director, for this opportunity!

VanRace VanRace

When I reviewed VanRace 2015, I commented that it was hard to believe it was an inaugural race. Well, now that we’ve hit year two, I have to reiterate my opinion: this is one darned good race! Last year, of course, I ‘merely’ ran the 15K…

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Summerfast 10K

This year’s Summerfast 10K was everything a local race should be – except, in my case, fast. It was well-organized, with familiar faces, plentiful prizes, delicious food and ideal running weather. Hosted by the Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club (VFAC), it was simply a great race!

I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking on doing any speed work for…well, for quite sometime. Sure, I’ve kept up with running, on weekends and a lunchtime, but I haven’t made it to any of the after-work speed clinics or pushed myself to pick the pace the way I should.

So it’s hardly a surprise that I didn’t get the race results I would have liked.

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ScotiaHalf

My role as Scotiabank Digital Champion culminated in Sunday’s race – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon AND my 25th half marathon or what I’m referring to as my ‘silver’ half!

With 24 half marathons under my belt and a few years of experience, you’d think I’d be ready for this significant race. And yet, race day arrived, and I felt almost as unprepared as I’ve ever felt before a half marathon.

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BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Facebook informed me that Sunday (May 1, 2016) was the five year RUNiversary of my very first half marathon – the 2011 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon! And it was a great day for celebration! Here’s what I looked like in 2011:

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Over the past few months, I have been running fairly consistently with the #RunVan Club on Thursday mornings at 6:30am. If you know me, you know I’m not a morning person – so this is a big deal. And it speaks to the quality of people I get the opportunity to run with in the early hours! RunVan is sponsored by the Vancouver International Marathon Society and the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel – and led by a group of very dedicated runners.

I hadn’t originally committed to signing up for the BMO Half Marathon this year – but I was so inspired by the RunVan gang that I ended up taking the plunge! I’m so glad I did!

The Expo

HUGE kudos to the Expo organizers!

In recent years, since I’ve run the BMO, the Health & Fitness Expo has been held at the ‘old’ convention centre. There was always a long lineup to get in, the whole bib pickup process was very transactional, and the expo itself was chaos – crowds of people milling about in all different directions.

THIS year, the venue moved to the new Vancouver Convention Centre, and it was sheer bliss! Just steps from my office, my coworker Kyla (who was running the 8k) and I ventured to the Convention Centre, decked out in BMO blue!

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Bib pickup was super-quick – if you didn’t know your number, there was a printed out list on boards at the entrance. While waiting in line, ran into Siobhan (@semcc53) – one of my RunVan buddies, fresh off her Boston Marathon!

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Another RunVan friend, Greg (@gherringer), was manning the course maps.

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Entering the exhibition hall, we were awed at the grandness of it all!

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

In my opinion, the great thing about the layout was that it zigzagged through the hall, allowing you to browse the many vendors, chatting with friends along the way. We spent some time with Debra, who was bringing her usual enthusiasm to the CRS West booth (Debra and I are both Digital Champions for the Scotiabank Half Marathon!).

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

Also encourage you to visit the website of Arroyo – a new brand of trail running gear from local entrepreneur and speedy runner, Ben!

Arroyo

There were a few minor complaints from those who didn’t want to linger, and felt the expo flow made it impossible to do a beeline to the t-shirt pickup. However, I’m fairly certain there was an open passage at the edge of the hall.

We picked up our t-shirt, free transit passes – and realized we had spent over an hour enjoying the event! Well done, BMO Vancouver Marathon!

Race Day – Start Line

The Half Marathon started at 7am, and Debra had promised to take some photos at the start line before she ran the full Marathon, which started at 8:30am. I picked her up in my trusty Evo, and we headed to Queen Elizabeth Park in the centre of Vancouver proper.

The sun was shining, there was a slight chill in the air, but it was clear that the day would soon warm up. We ran into several friends – including Caroline, Fiona and Jeannine.

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And after a few quick visits to the loo (yay for men’s urinal station!), off to the corral!

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Race Day – The Course

I’ve run this route a few times, and I think I did a pretty good job of telling its story in my 2015 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon race report. So I won’t go into a whole lot of detail. Here are a few of my recollections of this year’s race experience:

  • The lead wheelchair racer passing everyone on the downhill!
  • Awesome view of lead runners heading down Cambie Street, and up onto Cambie Bridge – with BC Place as the backdrop

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  • Thinking ‘if this were the Sun Run I’d nearly be done’ – on Cambie Bridge at kilometre 4
  • Being left hanging when I tried high-fiving a spectator at the turnaround…she high-fived the guy ahead of me!
  • Wishing I was at brunch as we passed White Spot on Dunsmuir (we ended up going there for brunch afterward, at my suggestion!)

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  • Passing the lead wheelchair racer on an uphill (a couple of times…but I’m pretty sure he finished before me!)
  • I thought Pipeline Road was the challenging hill, but what are all these hills in Stanley Park? Were these here last year?
  • Catching a glimpse of Caroline around mile 12…trying to catch her, but never quite reaching her…
  • That final stretch to the finish line…cheering spectators on both sides…music and announcements and noise and just trying to reach that goal…

Race Day – Finish Line

I haven’t pushed myself that hard in a race for a while. I earned this medal!

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Finally caught up with Caroline (umm…because she had stopped running) – and despite her pre-race protestations that I ‘always beat her’ in races, she bested me by about 30 seconds!

A voice behind me: “Are you Bradley?” Me: “Yep!” Him: “I read your blog all the time!” Me: “Aw, thanks! Let’s take a selfie!” New running buddy Jonathan and me (taken by his wife, who kindly didn’t steal my iPhone!):

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And Michelle, our Fairmont Waterfront rep and RunVan fan!

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Gathered up my green banana (ewww…), a couple bags of chips, a veggie sandwich (that I would eat much later in the day), and off to watch a few more friends finish their race. One more photo…

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon

And then brunch time!

Not a PB, but a negative split, and Top 3 out of my 24 half marathons to date! Not too shabby!

Runner of a Certain Age Podcast

I’m also very honoured to say that – along with fellow runner, Kaella – I was featured in a guest spot on the Runner of a Certain Age Podcast, hosted by one of my favourite BibRave Pros, Elizabeth! You can visit the page and download the podcast here. You should subscribe, too!!

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Final Results

Chip Time: 1:46:03
Average Pace: 4:59 min/km
Place Overall: 975/8720
Age Category Place: 83/439

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon 2016 – Quick Review

Social Media: BMO/RunVan does a great job of social media – Twitter, Facebook…they pay attention to what’s going on, follow up and connect. Thumbs up!

Packet Pickup: As noted in my report, this year’s Expo was a huge improvement over previous years – new venue, smooth flow of people, quick and efficient. Plus, a bunch of people I knew!! Two thumbs up!

T-Shirt/Swag: I really like this year’s t-shirt. The colour is kind of a blue-green, something I don’t already have. The design is simple but impactful, and the fabric quality is light but not too thin. The medal is similar to that of previous years, clean design, and solid. Nice!

Course: A great spectrum of what Vancouver has to offer! City streets, ocean views, Stanley Park…what more could you ask for? The one complaint I heard is that because we weren’t running the Seawall during the Half, the views of the ocean were not as spectacular. This was not my experience!

Post-Race: The flow of people at the finish line was smooth. Medals, photos, water, juice and bananas – all delivered by awesome volunteers! Other food was piled high, allowing us to grab what we needed as we went by. Baggage pickup was pretty quick. There was a ‘street party’ nearby, but I made a beeline out to meet friends.

Organization: I really thought BMO organizers did a great job this year. The one glitch (that may have been a technical issue at Sportstats) is that results were slow in coming. There were volunteers with iPads near the finish line, but the informed us the website had crashed. Many folks had Facebook/Twitter notifications popping up about them being on the run…hours after they had finished the race. This problem should definitely be addressed! Otherwise, things went off without a hitch!

Would I run it again? Vancouver’s only marathon, along with a half marathon and an 8k…as well as a marathon relay! Chances are pretty good that you’ll see me on the course in the future!

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Modo 8K

I want to start this post with a special announcement! Recently, I had the honour – along with Debra Kato – of being selected as a Digital Champion for the upcoming Scotiabank Half Marathon on June 26! Debra and I, along with a group of talented pacers, will act as ambassadors for this awesome race, which puts great emphasis on raising funds for worthy charitable causes. More to follow! Thanks to Canada Running Series for hosting this event, and providing an entry to this year’s Modo 8K!

Modo 8K

Debra’s hair matched the Modo race shirts!

Officially the Modo Spring Run-Off 8K, this event is sponsored by local carshare Modo, of which I am a long-term member. Like all CRS races, the Modo 8K is always well-organized with great swag and awesome door prizes. Another bonus:  if you run all three CRS West races in 2016, you get the fabulous ‘three-peat’ medal. So, if you ran the Modo 8K and you like your bling – make sure you register for the Scotiabank Half (or 5K) and the Eastside 10K!

Modo 8K

Race Day

This year’s Modo 8K happened to coincide with my guy’s birthday – and partly because I got to run the Laughlin Half Marathon on my birthday in December, I encouraged him to sign up. Despite having returned from a two-week trip to Japan just days before, he gamely ventured out on the morning of March 20!

Modo 8K

Debra picked us up in the green monster – and fortunately the race didn’t start until 10am so we didn’t have to drag ourselves out of bed too ridiculously early. It was still raining lightly and a bit chilly when we arrived at Stanley Park. An internal debate raged – should I continue wearing a long-sleeved shirt, or could I manage with just a t-shirt? Standing inside the Stanley Park Pavilion, it was easy to convince myself that it was warm enough, so I stood outside in the rain for a few minutes and decided I could handle it in short sleeves.

Got a few pre-race photos in…

Modo 8K Modo 8K

Then we milled about and socialized with some local celebrities, including Gord Kurenoff – Vancouver Sun blogger extraordinaire. If you’d like to read a more professional review of the race than mine, see Gord’s article here.

My chiropractor had recommended that I not ‘race’ this race, to help with a bit of recovery (don’t worry, nothing serious) and prepare for the upcoming Platte River Half Marathon in Colorado on April 10. So I decided to act as a pacer, and keep the birthday boy company in his first race since November’s Fall Classic.

Modo 8K

Start Line selfie

On the Course

In previous years, the Spring Run-Off took us clockwise around Stanley Park – skirting Lost Lagoon, and following the Seawall to Lumberman’s Arch. However, the race always ended with a short but steep uphill and a fairly sharp turn just before the finish line. This year, the course reversed direction, allowing for a smooth and speedy decline at the start. Inevitably, there was still some uphill at the end, but it was straight and (to my mind, at least) not as steep.

Modo 8K

As the gun went off, the rain stopped and we had pretty much ideal race weather – cool, overcast and dry. The views over the ocean were breathtaking, as they tend to be on the Seawall. Lots of cheering and friendly faces on the course. Although we didn’t stop to take advantage of them, there were two well-stocked water stations with particularly enthusiastic volunteers on hand. The course was fast and flat – and then we were done!

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Post-Race

Lots of goodies – cookies, bananas, yoghurt, Oasis juice boxes – and a medal! The rain started to fall soon after we finished, so we headed inside to enjoy live music, socializing, and awards. There were also some pretty substantial door prizes, drawn from boxes into which we had dropped tickets with our bib numbers. And here is my only complaint – when someone didn’t claim their number, rather than drawing a new number they simply chose the closest number. I didn’t feel this was completely fair, but there you go.

We snapped a few more finisher with friends, including the Kirill from West Van Run!.

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Then we went for birthday brunch!

Modo 8K

A huge shout out to the race organizers, volunteers and sponsors who made the Modo 8K a success yet again this year! I have to say that I loved the colour of this year’s race t-shirt, as well as the totem pole medal design!

Modo 8K

You can read about previous Modo 8K races here: 2015 and 2014.

Final Results

Chip Time: 49:05
Average Pace: 6:08 min/km
Place Overall: 494/962
Age Category Place: 28/39

WeeklyWrap

It’s been a few weeks, so I’m glad to link up again with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap!