RIP – Races We’ve Lost in 2017



Vancouver is a city built for running. We’ve got hills, we’ve got nature, we’ve got the Seawall. Tired of running on the road? We’ve got trails galore! Need someone to motivate in your training? There is a running group / crew / team to meet every need! And if you’re looking for a race? It’s not an exaggeration to say that you could probably run a race (or two) every weekend of the year, and still have some left over!

Having said that, not every race survives the test of time. Even longstanding races are not immune to the winds of change. While we see new races pop up from time to time, it’s inevitable that some races are no longer with us. 2017 has been a challenging year, and this blog post is an ode to the Races We’ve Lost.

Bagel Chase 2013(?) – 2016


A totally unique concept, the Bagel Chase was a self-managed run sponsored by Siegel’s Bagels to raise funds for Backpack Buddies. It involved multiple trips out-and-back from Kitsilano to English Bay over the course of two days. Basically, you could run as many laps as you wanted to. Debra and I participated gamely in 2016 and had an absolute blast.

In 2017, it simply didn’t happen. The website no longer exists.

Modo 8K (2006-2016)


Part of the Canada Running Series, and originally known as Harry’s Spring Run-Off, this 8k was sponsored by Harry Rosen and the Running Room as a fundraiser to combat prostate cancer. Perhaps due to the rise in popularity of Movember, Harry Rosen withdrew sponsorship a few years ago. The event rebranded as the Modo 8k (sponsored by Modo Car Coop) in 2014 and became part of the trifecta of Canada Running Series West events, including the Scotiabank Half and Eastside 10k. I ran this race multiple times, and wrote a few reviews: 2014, 2015, and 2016.

With little fanfare, this race was dropped from the calendar in 2017. The March race calendar got gradually busier, and I gather that registrant numbers had started to plateau. Canada Running Series appears to be throwing their efforts into the Scotiabank Half Marathon and Eastside 10K (also great races!). After a successful 10-year legacy, the Vancouver Spring Run-Off/Modo 8k is no more.

VanRace (2015-2016)


Bursting onto the scenes in 2015, the VanRace was a late summer Seawall run that included two rarely-run distances: 15k and 30k. I participated in the fun and successful 15k in 2015 and then tried my hand at the 30k in 2016. However, after two short years, organizers decided to put the run on hiatus in order to focus on other projects. Euan Bowman, one of these folks, is now the Country Manager for the successful parkrun Canada!

I always hold out hope that this race might be resurrected, but for now, we’ve put VanRace to rest.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver (2014-2016)


It seemed like a dream come true when the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series announced that it was coming to Vancouver! The race was hailed a success after its inaugural run in 2014, which I enjoyed being a part of. In 2015, Rock ‘n’ Roll took over the longstanding James Cunningham Seawall Race to create the Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver Remix weekend.

Things faltered in 2016, as participant numbers fell and discounted registrations popped up on Groupon. Due to some glitch in planning, the organization was unable to secure a liquor license for the post-race celebration, which is one of the hallmarks of a Rock ‘n’ Roll race.

In January 2017, Competitor Group announced that they were pulling out of Vancouver, claiming that the city “didn’t exude the Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe”. There had been plans to continue the event under the auspices of the Vancouver Running Festival, but logistical challenges meant that the half marathon event was cancelled entirely. Nevertheless, the James Cunningham Seawall Race continued unabated with its 2017 reboot.

The only remaining Rock ‘n’ Roll event in Canada? That’s the Montreal Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon!

Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon (2013-2016)


Sponsored by BlueShore Financial, the Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon ran the hills and roads of both North and West Vancouver for 4 years. I had heard rumours that it was struggling with low turnout, but the only information I could glean about the 2017 cancellation was a brief statement on the race website:

We are sorry to announce that the BlueShore Financial Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon will not take place in 2017. 

I’m hopeful that this event might be back again next year.

Looking Forward to 2018!

Some races come and go, while others have the staying power to last for many years, even decades! I’ve got a few exciting things on my race calendar for 2018, but for now, it’s just about remembering and respecting the hard work of the volunteers and organizers for these races we’ve lost. Rest in Peace.

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