Celebrated my sixth Sun Run this year! Here’s a quick recap of the last few years:
- Sun Run 2009 (1:17:23) – my very first race…ever! Finished in a solid one hour and 17 minutes
- Sun Run 2010 (1:04:58) – trimmed over 10 minutes off my previous race results
- Sun Run 2011 (1:03:23) – slightly faster, but still room for improvement!
- Sun Run 2012 (57:39) – finally broke the one hour mark
Sun Run 2013– registered, but had to pull out due to my Mom’s illness Sun Run 2014– falling the weekend before my very first marathon, I decided to give the race a miss; fortunately, there’s a guest blog!
- Sun Run 2015 (47:08) – hot on the heels of my 10K PB at West Van Run, set my course record by breaking 50 minutes!
- Sun Run 2016 (??) – read on to learn how this year’s race turned out!
Just me and 40,000 of my closest friends ran this year’s Sun Run. After all these years, I knew what I was in for – crowds, crowds and more crowds. And, at the same time, lots of smiles, amazing energy in the city, and (yet again) beautiful spring weather. That’s the Sun Run!
I signed up with a large group of colleagues and their family and friends. There were close to 150 of us representing. But in the chaos at the start line, I didn’t run into anyone I knew this year…
THE START LINE
Predictably, I got complacent. The Sun Run start line is less than 15 minutes walk from home. Sure, I went through the usual routine, ate my oatmeal, drank some coffee…and then another cup of coffee. Though we had plenty of time to get to Burrard and Georgia, it dawned on me that the coffee had gone straight through. I lined up for the porta-potties.
And then I waited.
What the heck are people doing in there?!
Although I was in and out in a flash, by the time I got to my corral…well, it was full. I had strategically seeded myself in the Yellow corral, the one right behind the elites…but there was no room for me.
I crowded into the Green corral, blocked by a fence, and knew that this year would not be a Sun Run PB. Because no matter where you are, they will walk. Predicted finish time: 44 minutes? The walkers will be there. Five across. Holding hands.
ON THE COURSE
The Green corral was released not long after the Yellow corral, so it was a relatively short wait. But here’s the thing about the Sun Run…unless you’re at the front, you will never be nimble enough to dodge the hordes before you. And this happened to me.
The gun for the Green corral went off, and as we shuffled toward the timing mat, the announcer was yelling: “No running! Wait until you cross the mat!” I assume people were being trampled. I kept my eyes forward.
Over the mat, onwards! And then, at perhaps 100 metres, the girl in front of me fumbled, gasped (I can only assume), and dropped her smartphone. And came to a dead stop. Right in front of me. A collision was unavoidable. But I ricocheted off her, recovered my pace, and continued.
A good chunk of the race was a blur. The route is so familiar, one that I’ve run so many times, that none of it stood out particularly. Except:
- Christina cheering as we ran along Pacific Ave.
- One team with awesome Star Wars themed shirts…but I only ever saw the back, so I have no idea who they were *sad face*
- A guy dressed as…moss man? At one point I thought he was beating me, but I definitely finished first!
And, naturally, a whole lot of fancy footwork to avoid being tripped, trampled or otherwise catapulted off the course by many members of the running public!
I heard someone call my name as I veered up onto Cambie Bridge, just before 9k. Who was it? Rumour suggests it might have been Lucy, but I have no evidence to back that up. And then the finish line…I hear the name of my coworker Lana being called (how random, out of tens of thousands of people!), and I’m done.
Truly done. Hot and sweaty and done.
I waited around to watch a few people finish – a few folks spot me and come by for a chat. Finally, I head indoors, where BC Place is absolutely rocking.
Finally, we join some friends for brunch, and head home. Another Sun Run in the bag.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Yes, I may sound a bit complainy about the challenges inherent with the Sun Run…the crowds, the runners who don’t really know running etiquette, the challenge to achieve a decent time (which, by the way, people do). But, I love this race. It has a special place in my heart since it’s how I began. It’s my origin story, of sorts.
And the Sun Run brings together so many people – runner, non-runners, new runners, walkers, friends, family, coworkers, strangers – and gets them out, on the streets of this amazing city, in a big, colourful, noisy, disastrously chaotic yet incredibly well-organized celebration.
So, really, I’ve got nothing to complain about! See you at Sun Run 2017!!
Chip Time: 48:46
Average Pace: 4:52 min/km
Place Overall: 2688/41138
Age Category Place: 197/1667
Sun Run 2016 – Quick Review
Social Media: Organized through my company, there wasn’t the need for too much social media – plus, I knew pretty much what to expect. However, @VancouverSunRun had a pretty active Twitter feed, and engaged with its audience really well!
Packet Pickup: We had a corporate team event that involved free appies, so this was quick and easy!
T-Shirt/Swag: For the first time (in my experience), the Sun Run t-shirt was not cotton, but a legitimate technical shirt in blue and black. A nice souvenir that I can use in the future!
Course: Scenic, as is to be expected in Vancouver. The first kilometre downhill is always a challenge, trying to gain some momentum without going out too strong, and dodging walkers on the way. There are a couple of challenging hills…Hornby between Beach and Pacific, Burrard Bridge, and Cambie Bridge. But I’m pretty familiar with these, so I was prepared.
Post-Race: The BC Place festival is epic. Thousands and thousands of people on the stadium floor, free samples galore (if you’re willing to line up), and gigantic letters so you can pre-arrange meeting places. I didn’t stick around too long this year, but it’s quite an experience.
Organization: Given the scale of the event, I cannot but commend the organizers for pulling this off year after year. Tremendous!
Would I run it again? Oh, you know I will! How can I not?