West Van Run 2019


We had the most perfect weather for the weekend. There was a record number of participants, including two kids’ races. There was a train. It was everything we could ask from West Van Run 2019!

As a West Van Run Ambassador, I’ve always looked forward to the West Van Run weekend, as well as the more recently launched North Van Run and West Van Run Summer. Last year, however, I received a complimentary entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle, which unfortunately occurred on the same weekend. So for West Van Run 2019, I was determined to participate to the fullest!

Friday Night

For the first time ever – I know, it’s a bit embarrassing to say – I volunteered at package pickup. After work, my friend dropped me off at the West Vancouver Community Centre. I spent the next several hours searching through bibs (sometimes on the computer, but actually easier using the paper list), grabbing the right size and colour of shirt, and generally encouraging folks in their upcoming runs!

I will totally volunteer again! It was fun hanging out with my West Van Run friends – Anand and Susan – and great seeing all the different faces excited about the race weekend. The evening went by quickly, and I remembered to pick up my own bibs before heading home.

west van run 2019

Saturday – West Van Run 2019 5K

Michelle picked me up and we got to West Van with plenty of time to spare before the race began. It was a crisp morning and gloriously sunny. At the Community Centre, there was an incredible line for package pickup. I’ll admit that West Van is a tough location to access – particularly by transit – so I couldn’t blame people for wanting to get their bibs ‘day-of’.

west van run 2019
Skepticism and enthusiasm lol!!
Photo: Pat Singh Cheung

The 5K started from the north side of the Community Centre (different from 2017, when it started on Marine Drive). I joined the masses for a quick warmup before the race began.

west van run 2019
Photo: Debra Kato

I had no illusions that this would be a speedy run. My training has been spotty, work has been intense, and I feel like I haven’t recovered the fitness I lost when I was sick last year. I figured I’d do my best to stay ahead of Misa, our 25-minute pacer.

Observation: Runner just ahead of me with a selfie-stick / GoPro combo – and she was still faster than me!

Heading east along Bellevue, I heard the ominous sound of a freight train. Knowing that our route would eventually cross the tracks before turning back along the Seawall, I hoped it wouldn’t get in my way. As it turned out, I was slow enough that the train didn’t impede my progress.

Others weren’t as lucky. While some of the elites ‘beat’ the train, those on target to run 18-20 minutes for their 5K got stopped for a couple of minutes. Which is a long time. Especially during a short race. I know some folks were pretty frustrated and there were some missed PB’s. Disappointing but memorable!

west van run 2019
Photo: Bryan Andrews

The West Van Run used to finish at Dundarave Pier, so the final stretch along the Seawall always felt kind of endless. Now that the race ends at 22nd Street, I was surprised how suddenly we were done!

west van run 2019
Photo: Bee Vee
west van run 2019
My buddy Corinna is fast, and she got stopped by the darn train!

It’s crowded, though, on the Seawall. I made a beeline for the Community Centre, enjoyed a bag of chips (my favourite post-race snack!) and reconnected with all my people to celebrate!

west van run 2019
Yay Michelle!
west van run 2019
Ohhhhhhh Gord!
west van run 2019

For brunch, it was off to Orto for some delicious homemade yummies and fresh coffee!

west van run 2019

Final Results

Chip Time: 24:19
Overall Place: 148/700
Place in Gender: 104/292
Place is Age Group (40-49): 24/63
Click here for full results

Sunday – West Van Run 2019 10K

There’s a lot of debate on the North Shore about the proposed B-Line bus that would connect Phibbs Exchange in the east to Dundarave in the west. West Vancouverites are sharply divided on the issue, with many fearing a B-Line will destroy the small town feel of their community. On Sunday morning, however, I really wished there was a B-Line.

My only transit options for the 6-kilometre trip were:

  • Spend an hour on the bus, with a 40-minute stopover, and arrive an hour early
  • Spend 30 minutes on the bus, and arrive too late for race start

I opted to cycle. It took 17 minutes.

The lineup for package pickup was enormous, but seemed to move at a fairly steady clip. The 10K is definitely a popular event with lots of our local elite runners participating. I saw lots of familiar faces as we gathered shivering in the cold – it was overcast and breezy. I had opted to run without gloves and started to regret it.

west van run 2019
west van run 2019
Selfie: Debra Kato

For the first 4km, we mirrored the previous day’s race. My hands were freezing. My legs felt heavy.

A few minutes later, the sun came out. My hands weren’t cold anymore and I was glad I hadn’t bothered with gloves. As we approached Park Royal, I had long since lost the 50-minute pacer, so I decided to make the best of it and just enjoy the race.

west van run 2019
Sorry, not sure who to credit for this photo!

The Ambleside Park leg includes the dreaded out-and-back section – which some have labelled ‘discouraging’. But I like to think of it as ‘inspiring’, as you get to cheer on all the people ahead of you, and then encourage all of the people behind you. Familiar faces and lots of smiles/grimaces.

Then – with little fanfare – the finish line!

west van run 2019
Photo: Bryan Andrews

Same as the day before, only after twice the distance! I was delighted to have another medal for my collection, two to show for the weekend!

west van run 2019

More chips! Hugs and smiles! A group of us – organized by Debra, of course – gathered at the Village Taphouse, where our bibs rewarded us with a cold, delicious beer! And with that, another successful West Van Run weekend in the books!

Final Results

Chip Time: 52:06
Overall Place: 254/676
Place in Gender: 179/318
Place is Age Group (40-49): 36/84
Click here for full results

west van run 2019

One comment

  1. Gord

    A lot of runners commented Saturday how they had to let the train go by before they could go again! I thought about dressing up as a train on Sunday so they’d let me pass too! The event was great and the vibe/course/cookie make this a must-do event every year! Great report and happy training!

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