SHLF Run 2018 – Best One Yet!


SHLF Run 2018

Whenever I mention to people that I’m running the SHLF Run, I get a lot of funny looks. “Shelf run?” they ask questioningly. “It’s an acronym,” I explain – an event hosted by the Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation. The SHLF Run 2018 was my third (and favourite) time running the race. And I really want more people to know about it and all the great stuff it represents – and run it with me!

The Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation – established in memory of Dr. Strachan Hartley, an advocate for youth athletics – uses the SHLF Run as a platform for fundraising and community engagement. The organization receiving the benefit of fundraising efforts is Streetfront – an alternative education program emphasizing physical activity and outdoor experiences. This year, a record $48,500 was raised!

With that in mind, I was eager to participate, once again challenging the 10K distance. The race had a few glitches last year in terms of logistics, resulting in some misdirection and unexpected distances (both shorter and longer!). I was determined to approach the SHLF Run 2018 with an open mind and a positive attitude, and I wasn’t disappointed!


The West Van Run Crew fielded four runners – Sam, Karin and Nobu in addition to myself. In previous years, I had done bib pickup the morning of the race, but living a short drive away on the North Shore, I decided to head over to Distance Runwear on Saturday afternoon to get things done! The volunteers gave me a warm welcome, and I gathered bibs and t-shirts for the team.

SHLF Run 2018 SHLF Run 2018

There was a sharp chill in the air on Sunday morning as we waited for the bus to Handsworth Secondary. As we wound through the hilly streets of Canyon Heights, I was reminded that this is not a flat course!

Upon arrival, I enquired whether it would be possible to switch my t-shirt – although I had ordered a small, I found it a bit…snug. Of course, they had limited availability, so I was asked to check after the race.

The team gathered and bibs were distributed.

SHLF Run 2018 SHLF Run 2018

Sam and I went out for a quick warmup run. Then, since I was the only one doing the SHLF Run 10K (the others were doing the 5K), I did a few drills and lined up at the start with the Handsworth mascot.

SHLF Run 2018
I forgot my sunglasses!

On the Course – SHLF Run 10K

I won’t go into too much detail about the course itself except to say that I find it one of the most varied and challenging 10K routes out there. It combines residential streets with some trail, a sprint across an elementary school field, more groomed trails, and lots of hills – both downhill and (inevitably) uphill. Best of all, it wraps up on the Handsworth track, making for an inspiring finish line!

All those logistical challenges in 2017? The SHLF Run 2018 dealt with every one of them. The route was extremely well marked with small signs and ribbons in the Foundation’s yellow and blue theme. The volunteers were plentiful and highly engaged, ensuring that runners knew exactly which way to go. Sure, a few of the football players near the end of the course seemed a bit indifferent about their volunteer role, but they weren’t in the more strategic locations so lack of enthusiasm wasn’t a critical issue. In any case, things went off without a hitch!

Lots of cheers as I reached the school grounds and started my final stretch on the track. My peeps got a few great action shots for me!

SHLF Run 2018 SHLF Run 2018


After the race, we were treated to lots of food – including bagels, fruit, coffee, and freshly made pancakes! One of my colleagues, Diana, was dishing out the pancakes with her Rotary group!

SHLF Run 2018 SHLF Run 2018

We hung around to watch the kids do a lap or two of the track, some were thrilled to be running, while others looked close to tears. Cuteness overload! Then age group prizes…

Karin and Sam? They took home age group wins yet again this year, as did our North Shore neighbours, Bev and Deb (who kindly drove us home afterwards).

SHLF Run 2018

And the t-shirt? Well, no mediums were to be found, so I was graciously given a too-big large size. However, a couple of hours after the race I got a message from Brandy, one of the Foundation’s key people and the SHLF Run even organizer. She had found a medium t-shirt for me, which I later picked up when my Dad was in town. It was a perfect fit! Thank you so much, Brandy!

SHLF Run 2018
Large – just a bit too big
SHLF Run 2018
Medium – perfect fit!

Final Results

Chip time: 50:21
Average pace:  5:02 min/km
Overall place: 34/123
Place in age category: 8/14

For complete race results: 10K or 5K

Also, make sure to register for the 2019 West Van Run!

5K – Saturday, March 2
10K – Sunday, March 3
Register at
Save 10% with discount code: ‘BRADLEY‘!

SHLF Run 2018 – Quick Review

What I liked:
The SHLF Run is unique in a few ways – it’s entirely volunteer-run, all of the proceeds (after operating costs) go to Streetfront, and the route is fun and challenging. Afterwards, there’s lots of food and community spirit. The involvement of the young people – students and children alike – is inspirational. Also, there are free photos

What could be improved:
The SHLF Run folks stepped up their social media game this year, so I recommend following them on Facebook and Twitter. And since the challenges of last year’s race were fully addressed, I have no criticism at all!

Would I run it again?
Yes – and you should definitely come and join me! We’ll see how things go with the impending rebuild of Handsworth Secondary, as that will certainly impact the event. I’ll be there to find out on October 20, 2019!

SHLF Run 2018

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