Ambleside Mile: the race I almost didn’t run


Little teaser here: Ambleside Mile video! (You’ll see me cross the finish line at 4:28)

Since the Vancouver Marathon, I’ve been nursing a couple of injuries that have severely limited my ability to run. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the Ambleside Mile was important to me in more ways than one!

Bringing Back the Mile

I’d never thought about running a mile before.

This year, the Ambleside Mile was organized by the same folks who brought us the West Van Run earlier this year. I was so impressed with that race that I took note of this short-distance run. Then, in an effort to promote my blog, I was offered a free entry to the Ambleside Mile to give away in my first ever blog contest!

One of my nagging injuries was still bothering me in the week leading up to the race, and I only had a couple of short run-walks under my belt. On Saturday, at the prompting of my Dad (visiting from Ontario), I gave a one-mile run a try. And guess what? It was quick, hard work, and it didn’t hurt (at least, not in an injury-related way). So, the Ambleside Mile was still on!

Package pickup was both Friday (but only until 6pm, so no way to get there on a weekday) and Saturday before the race. With a 9:45am start, we arrived promptly at 9am. There was a short lineup at CoffeeBar, waiting to get bibs and T-shirts. And here is my only criticism of the race. The young man handing out bibs seemed to be having technical difficulties, and seemed a bit at a loss. Although I had ordered a small shirt, they couldn’t find any – BUT! the medium actually fits really well so no complaints.

Out on Marine Drive, the announcer kept us updated on the time leading up to the race, and there was motivating music playing. We were finally called to the start area, where we were led in some warmup exercises. I took a photo for a very sweet couple, who I later saw crossing the finish line hand-in-hand. That’s me there, number 17 – and the cute couple is to my left. 🙂

Start line stretch
Start line stretch

Is it weird that I was actually more nervous about this one-mile race than I’ve been about much longer, much more intimidating races? But as we gathered at the start, there was so much good-natured chatter, and a great diversity of participants, that I soon felt at ease. There were seasoned runners, kids and families – such a great community event!

Gathering to the start
Gathering to the start

Soon we were off! It’s amazing how long a mile can feel – but also how exciting such a short run can be! Anticipating the Ambleside Community Day parade, starting immediately after the race, lots of local people were gathered on both sides of Marine Drive. There was such a positive atmosphere, such enthusiasm, with everyone cheering us on. While it certainly didn’t show on my face, I was definitely smiling inside!

And they're off!
And they’re off!

The race travelled 4 blocks down Marine Drive (from 17th to 13th), a quick right, and another onto Bellevue. My favourite comment from a fellow racer to a cheering spectator: “It’s not as easy as it looks!” We hit 13th, ran back up to Marine, and then headed to the finish line just beyond 16th.

Sprinting (?) to the finish
Sprinting (?) to the finish

There seemed to be some uncertainty about the accuracy of the finish line clock, and I chose to run this race ‘naked’ (i.e. with no technology) – so I was really unsure about my finish clock until the results were finally posted on the Ambleside Mile website. In the end, I had a chip time of 6 minutes 46 seconds. Based on my research, this is a pretty respectable time, so I’m pleased with my results (and, having nothing to compare to, it’s a PB!)

I was also really excited to have my Dad in town to see me finish a race – having him and my guy to cheer me on really made a difference!

Thanks to the volunteers and organizers for putting on a great event, and to all the West Vancouverites who came out to cheer us on! I’ll be there again next year!



  1. Pingback: Bradley on the Run: Ambleside Mile: the race I almost didn’t run | My Next Race

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