RunVan Fall Classic 10K 2018


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Wrapping up the 2018 RunVan race series, the Fall Classic is incredibly popular with the Vancouver running community. Held on campus at the University of British Columbia, the Fall Classic tagline as ‘Vancouver’s last great run of the year‘ is evidenced by the fact that it sold out yet again this year. In addition, if you’ve run the BMO Vancouver Marathon (or Half or 8K) and the Granville Island Turkey Trot, the Fall Classic earns you the coveted Hat Trick!

The Fall Classic has made it onto my race calendar twice previously – I ran the half marathon in 2015 (my 11th of 12 half marathons that year) and as the 30-minute 5K pacer last year. To complete the Fall Classic trifecta, I decided to tackle the 10K distance in 2018. The latter part of this year has been quite a journey for me personally, with a lot of changes affecting my ability to train as consistently. As such, the longer distances have taken a bit of a back seat and I’ve been favouring the shorter (5-10K) races.


Vancouver’s weather is consistently inconsistent in the autumn. The Fall Classic has experienced rain, wind and clear skies (maybe even snow?) so you never know what to expect. In the week leading up to the race, rain was in the daily forecast. Heading out to package pickup on the Saturday, it was raining steadily and heavily. The journey to Forerunners Main Street was sluggish, as Vancouver drivers (never known for their skill) struggled to navigate the wet conditions.

With a race the size of Fall Classic, timing is everything. My timing was not great, so I didn’t see many familiar faces at package pickup. But I got my bib, along with a nifty pair of RunVan-branded socks from endūr Apparel! Then, I received my first ever Hat Trick t-shirt for running the BMO 8K and the Turkey Trot!

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Race Day

A couple of good friends – Angel and Phil – were running their first Fall Classic. I agreed to pick them up in the West End as a drove by, and they had a coffee at the ready. Despite the deluge-like conditions of the day before, it was clear and sunny that morning, with a crisp chill in the air and a brisk wind to keep us awake. We arrived at UBC in plenty of time to get our bearings. After a few warm-ups and sprints, I connected with some of my favourite people for pre-race encouragement.

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As start time approached, I made my way into the corral somewhere between the 45- and 50-minute pacers, with vague intentions of staying in that range. Ran into fellow West Van Run Crew member, Anand.

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Then, who should appear in the corral right beside me but two of the three hockey players I actually know by name: Henrick and Daniel Sedin, darlings of the Vancouver Canucks. They politely agreed to let me snap a photo.

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(If you’re curious, the third hockey player in my knowledge repertoire is Sidney Crosby.)

On the Course

Moments later, we were off. I was familiar with the course, since the half marathon is essentially a double loop of the 10K. I cautioned myself to stay on pace, not pushing too hard at the start because I knew there were some inclines ahead. The Fall Classic route is actually quite scenic as it winds around the edge of campus, past Nitobe Garden and the western edge of the UBC peninsula.

My favourite part of the route is Old Marine Drive, shaded by tall trees in autumn colour, and with views of the ocean, log booms and the Iona jetty. It’s a peaceful 2 kilometres in the middle of the race.

We emerged onto NW Marine Drive towards our turnaround point, where we could see all the faster 10K runners on their way back. This portion of the race is both enjoyable and distracting, keeping an eye out to see who’s ahead of you. Angel and I saw each other, reached out for high fives, and completely missed each other’s hands as we passed.

After the turnaround, there’s a slight but steady uphill for the next few kilometres. To stay on pace, I focused on a couple of runners who were at a similar speed to tried to stay with them, more or less. We turned onto University Boulevard, hit a short, steep hill, and then onto Main Mall – another out-and-back section.

When I came to one of the final turns, my cheerleader Carla was there with shouts of encouragement that gave me the final burst of energy I needed to get to the finish line! (Thanks, Carla – as always!)


I rushed through the gauntlet of receiving my medal… (quick, get a selfie!)

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Then grabbed a banana and Old Dutch chips (hooray!!) and made a beeline to the sidelines by the finish chute to catch Phil and Angel fly by soon after.

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My timing was good, because I also saw Bev completing her race in style.

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Greeted and congratulated people, and grabbed a quick free sample of Stanley Park Lager.

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One of the great things about the Fall Classic is free food! Attached to your bib is a ticket for one of either pizza, chili or sushi. We all opted for pizza, joined the quick moving lineup. With full bellies, we headed back downtown to continue with our day.

If you’re curious, the Sedin brothers finished within 1 second of each other at 40:12 and 40:13.

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Final Results

Chip time: 48:13
Average pace:  4:49 min/km
Overall place: 146/1360
Place in age category: 20/93

Click here for complete race results (all distances)

Fall Classic 10K 2018 – Quick Review

What I liked:
Like all RunVan events, the Fall Classic is a tremendously well-organized race. The pre- and post-race activities are fun and run smoothly. The course is scenic and staffed by enthusiastic volunteers. I love the free food and the fact that if it’s cold and/or wet, you can seek shelter in the Student Union building both before and after.

Also, this year I loved the swag – the RunVan socks and the smart Hat Trick t-shirt. The medal was good but..

What could be improved:
While it’s not really an issue of ‘improvement’ and just a personal preference – the medal left me wanting. I really liked how the medals for the BMO 8K and Turkey Trot both had maps of the course on them. I had hoped the Fall Classic would be the same.

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Would I run it again?
In 2019, RunVan is taking over the iconic First Half Half Marathon. With four races in the series, I’m eager to see what they have in store – what happens to a hat trick then? The Fall Classic is an awesome race, so I’ll certainly be there again!

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