First Half Half Marathon 2018


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It’s been a year since the Vancouver First Half Half Marathon was cancelled due to snow. February 2017 – what a month that was! Anyone who had registered for last year’s race was given both a discount and priority registration for the 2018 race. So really, how could I turn down an opportunity like that?

The First Half was literally my first half in 2018…and despite a case of nerves, it turned out to be a day of fun, sun, and personal success!


I’m going to include training in my pre-race notes, since that has been my big focus of 2017 so far. I have decided that my goal race – at least for the spring season – is the Eugene Marathon at the end of April. With this in mind, I’ve started working with Coach Tony from Mile2Marathon to keep me accountable and focused on that goal. The training regimen he’s laid out for me has improved my pace, helping me achieve good results in the Icebreaker 8k (despite the wind!) and the Chilly Chase 10k.

The First Half Half Marathon put me to the test once again.

Getting in the distance is important, so I still did a 27k run the week before the First Half. However, I kept my other runs shorter and easier for the rest of the week, including a shakeout on Saturday morning. I even managed to squeeze in a massage, which was amazing!

Package pickup was held this year at the new Forerunners on Main Street, so honey and I combined it with brunch and some grocery shopping. The process was very efficient – I came in the main door, got my bib, headed to another table to get my t-shirt, and then proceeded out the door on the far side of the store. Of course, in between I stopped to chat with Coach Carey and a couple of other familiar faces.

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Looking at the weather report that night, I was faced with a dilemma – what to wear? It would be chilly at the start. Long-sleeved shirt? T-shirt with sleeves? The struggle was real.

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Race Day

It was a brisk morning. I decided to err on the side of caution and wore my newly minted M2M t-shirt over a long-sleeved tech shirt to keep myself warm. I didn’t regret the decision.

The Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown was a hive of activity when I arrived, nearly an hour before start time. I made a beeline for the Forerunners tent and stashed my gear. Grabbed a quick selfie with Debra, decked in her Olympic finest!

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I started chatting with Jill, and we agreed to do our warm-up together. Out along the Seawall, where we were joined by Judy. The three of us chatted and psyched ourselves up for a promising race, moods buoyed by the near-perfect weather.

Quick pee break. A pre-race gel. And a dash to the start line.

On the Course

Because it wasn’t meant to be a goal race, Coach Tony suggested going with a comfortable pace – and to pick it up if it felt right. I cautioned myself to resist the urge to go out to fast, a mistake I’ve made in the past. I held steady as we looped BC Place and circled back past the Roundhouse and along Pacific to Beach Avenue and, eventually, the Seawall.

I’ve run this race five times before. These were, perhaps, the best weather conditions ever. The route is familiar, and there was nothing remarkable about it this time around. Until I approached Siwash Rock, that is – and Susan was there volunteering. AND it was her birthday! We screamed and hugged, and I was on my way again!

Even the loop around Lost Lagoon didn’t seem like the struggle it has been during previous races.

Somewhere along the way, I couldn’t help but mug for the camera.

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The toughest challenge was, as expected, the final 2 kilometres. There were a few people I knew cheering along the way, which helped immeasurably (I’m talking about you, Greg!). At the top of the hill from the Seawall up to Beach Avenue, my honey was there with a camera and a wave.

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Under Granville Bridge, the East Van Run Crew folks called out my name, and halfway up the hill, Caroline was there! Thanks everyone!!

Then it was the last sprint to the finish line. And it was awesome.

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My chip time was 1:45:47. This is my fastest half marathon time since my PB race (1:44:24) at the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon in 2015. And it was a tiny bit faster than my 2016 First Half Half Marathon. So I was feeling pretty pleased!


Allie and Carolyn had finished the race ahead of me, and I was thrilled to see them!

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And then, per Coach Tony’s directions, I ran an additional one mile cool down. And then back to the Roundhouse for all the festivities.

I bypassed the food in order to chat with some friends before deciding I needed some nourishment. I was particularly chuffed when I asked the soup server if they had anything vegetarian, instead of the chicken noodle soup. He turned around, where veggie tomato soup was warming in another pot. Bliss! There were bagels, bananas, juice and yogurt to fill out the post-race noshing.

Celebrated race success with Jill, Siobhan and Shannon (who blew her first ever half marathon out of the water!):

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The awesome First Half medal doubles nicely as a keychain, so I made good use of it right away!

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And then we went for brunch.

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Final Results

Chip time: 1:45:47
Average pace: 5:00 min/km
Overall place: 540/1535
Place in age category: 52/104

Click here for complete race results

Quick Recap – First Half Half Marathon 2018

Social Media: Pretty active on Twitter and Facebook, with informative pre-race emails to keep us posted!

Packet Pickup: Well-run and convenient – held at the Main Street Forerunners store on both Friday and Saturday.

T-Shirt/Swag: My one and only green race shirt! Great colour for a St. Patrick’s Day run! And the medal this year doubles as a keychain, so that’s exactly how I’m using it!

Course: Primarily along the Seawall, and almost entirely flat…except for those two small but endless hills in the last two kilometres!

Post-Race: Pacific Road Runners always put out a great spread – bagels, bananas, fruit drinks soup, Ethical Bean coffee and yogurt. If you stick around long enough, they also have some awesome door prizes!

Would I Run It Again? With the exception of the 2017 cancellation, I’ve run the First Half every year since 2012. Why stop now?!

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