Archive for the ‘My Story’ Category


The West Van Run Crew was out in force this past weekend, joining the team challenge at the 2017 Strachan Hartley Memorial Foundation Run – otherwise known as the SHLF Run! Last year, Paula and I both ran the 5k, so I decided to up the ante and tackle this year’s 10k! However, there were a few surprises in store… (more…)

Granville Island Turkey Trot

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m still recovering from last night’s amazing Thanksgiving dinner, and now enjoying a mug of freshly brewed coffee.  But I’m also reflecting on the awesome experience that was this morning’s Granville Island Turkey Trot!

It shocked me, and a lot of my runner friends, that I’d never run this race before! Last year, we went to Seattle for the weekend. The previous year, I ran the Victoria Half Marathon. Previous years? I’m not sure why…but it just never happened. The great thing about this is having the chance to run the Turkey Trot for the first time!

The Granville Island Turkey Trot is Race #2 of the Run Van race series – which includes BMO Vancouver Marathon in May (#1) and the Fall Classic in November (#3). I’ll be pacing the 30-minute 5k at the Fall Classic this year!

Package Pickup

After a mellow morning at the Farmers Market, a catch-up with a bunch of friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, and a peaceful brunch – we dropped by Rackets & Runners to pick up my bib. Race registration included a gift card for the store, which was a nice bonus! I had my bib within seconds, and had a quick catchup with Lara Penno – RUNVAN Runner Services Manager extraordinaire!

Granville Island Turkey Trot Granville Island Turkey Trot


Getting up this morning was a bit of a struggle, particularly since the post-Thanksgiving dinner coffee I had last night kept me awake. Thankfully, the sun was starting to rise as I headed out and grabbed a Mobi bike to get me across Burrard Bridge and over to Granville Island. It was brisk and breezy, but also clear and dry…perfect race conditions!

Granville Island Turkey Trot Granville Island Turkey Trot

I checked my bag, and then caught up with a few of my running peeps.

Granville Island Turkey Trot Granville Island Turkey Trot Granville Island Turkey Trot Granville Island Turkey Trot

Then we gathered in the corral for a prompt 8:30am start!

The Course

Although I’m familiar with most of the False Creek loop of this course, I’ve never actually run on Granville Island. It’s usually rammed with tourists and cars (personally, I think the Island should be car-free, but I doubt that’s ever going to happen), but we had the place to ourselves as we wove through its streets for the first kilometre.

There are a few smaller hills in kilometre 2, and then the long, steady incline of Burrard Bridge. This was, unsurprisingly, my slowest kilometre. After that, the remainder of the race is essentially flat along the Seawall around False Creek.

Race Force was out with an awesome cheering and aid station just past 5k. Near Science World (7k), there was a huge crowd of young people with tonnes of signs and enthusiasm encouraging the runners. Having run this route many, many times, I knew what the remainder of the course would look like. At 8k, I did my best to kick things into gear, and stay ahead of the girl who had kept cutting me off over the past 2k.

Siobhan, in her fantastic Thanksgiving costume, came into view just before the finish line. We pushed each other right to the final turn back onto Granville Island. She even ran a PB race, just a week after completing a full marathon! Congrats, Siobhan!

Granville Island Turkey Trot 


Medals – fantastic!

Granville Island Turkey Trot

Post-race food – amazing!

Granville Island Turkey Trot

In addition to the usual suspects (fruit, juice, energy bars), there were Old Dutch chips (my favourite weakness), and chili (including a vegetarian option). It was the perfect food to top off an autumn race!

A live band was entertaining the crowd indoors, but once I had finished my chili, I decided it was time to head home. Another Mobi, and a quick jaunt back over Burrard Bridge, with one quick photo stop.

Thanks for an amazing Thanksgiving run – kudos to the volunteers and organizers who made the 2017 Granville Island Turkey Trot a success!

Final Results

Chip Time: 50:25
Average Pace: 5:02 min/km
Overall Place:  243/1833
Place in Age Category: 43/153

Granville Island Turkey Trot

Granville Island Turkey Trot 2017 – Quick Review

Social Media: I appreciate that the Turkey Trot has its own Twitter and Instagram accounts, although the latter hasn’t been updated in over a year. They have an active Facebook account, and kept participants updated on race events (although I only signed up last week, so I don’t have a lot of info to go on!)

Packet Pickup: Quick and straightforward pickup at Rackets & Runners on Oak Street on Both Friday and Saturday, as well as pre-race on Sunday morning.

T-Shirt/Swag: No t-shirt included in this race, but I love that they have a medal for this awesome 10k! It’s classy and simple, and will make a great addition to my medal wall!

Course: A fast and flat course, with the exception of the Burrard Bridge. Scenic and peaceful, just the way a Vancouver race course should be!

Post-Race: Although today was sunny, it was great to have a post-race venue under cover! Lots of food, including hot chili, and entertainment! Fantastic, filling and fun!

Organization: Typical of Run Van events, the Granville Island Turkey Trot was well-organized and fun. Great volunteer support, awesome pre- and post-event coordination. Two thumbs up!

Would I run it again? Having run this for the first time, I’ll definitely be back for more!

Granville Island Turkey Trot

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘N’ Roll Montreal as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Combined with my first visit to Quebec in four years, Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal provided the chance to reconnect with friends and explore even more of the city. As travel day approached, however, the extreme heat warnings began. Then, just four days before race day, on the eve of our departure, the unthinkable: the full marathon distance of Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal was cancelled! And so began a sweaty, humid and exhilarating weekend in Canada’s major French metropolis!


Under Armour Eastside 10kA new course. Unexpectedly good weather. A title sponsor that helped deliver a fabulous race. This was the Under Armour Eastside 10k 2017! After two consecutive years of utterly miserable conditions – particularly last year’s torrential downpour – it was such a blessing to wake up on Saturday morning to mild temperatures and clear skies. As I hopped on a Mobi bike and pedalled along Pacific Street towards the Woodward’s Building, I felt a surge of anticipation. This was going to be a good day!


James Cunningham Seawall Race

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the James Cunningham Seawall Race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

The James Cunningham Seawall Race holds a special place in my heart because it was among my very first races when I started running – among the first dozen, at least. Here are a few photos from 2010 and 2011, when I made the most of things:

2010 – I ran with my friend, Deanna (who was a spider). I donned a pair of wings and carried a wand to sprinkle fairy dust on everyone (?)

James Cunningham Seawall Race

2011 – Jean, Louisa and I dressed as mimes, and showed our Hallowe’en spirit.

James Cunningham Seawall Race James Cunningham Seawall Race

It was a very rainy day, and by the end I looked like a drowned rat / murderous mime. But oh the fun we had!

 James Cunningham Seawall Race James Cunningham Seawall Race

The James Cunningham Seawall Race has a prestigious place in Vancouver history. It’s the oldest consistently run race in the city of Vancouver, which is pretty cool. This year is its 47th iteration.

Who is James Cunningham?

Great question! I won’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve done a bit of reading on James “Jimmy” Cunningham. He was a Scottish stonemason who worked on the Seawall from 1931 until his death in 1963. When the race was started in 1971, the organizers wanted to recognize Cunningham’s contribution by name the event after him. I strongly encourage you to read about the history of the race here.

The Course

Lots of races include the Seawall as part of the course – including (but not limited to) the Summerfast 10K, the Great Climate Race, the SeaWheeze, and the BMO Vancouver Marathon. However, the James Cunningham Seawall Race is unique in that it makes a complete loop, and doesn’t make concessions or tweaks for distance: in fact, it’s an unusual distance of 9.62km. A great opportunity for a PB!

The Swag

This year’s James Cunningham Seawall Race includes an event shirt and a finisher’s medal.

The Costumes

Although just over a week before Hallowe’en, costumes are strongly encouraged at the James Cunningham Seawall Race! I’m not much of a costume runner myself, but I may just make another exception this year!

Event Details

When: Saturday, October 21 at 10:00am
Where: Starts at Second Beach in Stanley Park
Price: $55 until Sept 30;  $60 Oct 1 until race day
Stay connectedWebsite | Facebook | Twitter
Run the Seawall! Register here

PROMO CODE! Save 10% when using promo code BIBRAVE10 at registration!James Cunningham Seawall Race


hot chocolate seattleDisclaimer: I received a free entry to the Hot Chocolate Seattle 15K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

We’ve had a balmy summer here in Vancouver, and the past week has been no exception. So why am I thinking about hot chocolate? Well, although the race is still 6 months away, I’m pretty excited to be running my first ever RAM Hot Chocolate series race: the Hot Chocolate Seattle 15k!

What has me anticipating this race so far in advance? Let me tell you 5 reasons I can’t wait to run Hot Chocolate Seattle!

1. The City

Seattle is a great city! Although it’s just a few hours’ drive from Vancouver, we don’t get down there enough. However, last year some good friends of ours relocated from San Francisco, so we have even more reason to visit! Back in June, I had the chance to run Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – and even had my own little cheer squad! Here’s hoping that the weather in March won’t keep them indoors!

If you’re already in Seattle, you know what a vibrant place it is. But if you need a reason to visit – either for the first time or as a regular – then Hot Chocolate Seattle is the sweetest excuse!

2. The Distance

I’ve run oodles of half marathons, and a whole bunch of 5k and 10k races. The 15k distance is not one that runners see very often. In fact, in my 8 years of running, I’ve only raced this distance once – at the VanRace 15k in 2015!

If you’re aspiring to run a half marathon, but haven’t quite worked your way up to that distance, the Hot Chocolate Seattle 15k could be just what you’re looking for. It’s a great ‘in between’ distance that provides a bit more challenge than a 10k, but isn’t quite as daunting as a half. Plus, you’re guaranteed to get a PB / PR!

For a course map, click here. Oh, and it’s a USATF-certified course, too!

3. The Shirt

Every 5k and 15k participant gets a long-sleeved pullover with their registration. The Hot Chocolate Seattle shirts are beautiful – technical fabric, three-quarter zip, striking colours, thumb-holes – even a zippered chest pocket! Just the thing to keep you warm and toasty in the dreary Seattle winter!

hot chocolate seattle

4. The Bling

I have always admired the medals of the Hot Chocolate series, and the bling for Hot Chocolate Seattle is no exception. There’s a fancy new design for the 2017-2018 series, plus an extra bonus…every city has its own unique keychain! Whether you’re a Seattle native or visiting from out of town, the Space Needle keychain will be a great reminder of this awesome race!

hot chocolate seattle

5. The Hot Chocolate

Ummm…OK. I admit that in the grand scheme of things, I’m more of a savoury guy. I love me my potato chips. HOWEVER, on a chilly winter day, there’s nothing better than a warm mug of hot chocolate. It comforts you more than any bag of sour cream ‘n’ onion chips ever could.

What about the selection at Hot Chocolate Seattle? Well, here’s a preview:

First of all, it’s all about dark chocolate (yum!) – and it’s both gluten- and nut-free!

Then, there are the sweets stations on course – these include:  M&M station, strawberry marshmallow station, chocolate chip station, and chocolate marshmallow station.

For hydration – because even when it’s cold (and possibly rainy), you need to stay hydrated – my favourite brand nuun will be at the aid stations! I know, nuun isn’t chocolate, but still worth mentioning!

Let this photo inspire you:

hot chocolate seattle

Race Details & Promo Code!

Have I whetted your appetite for Hot Chocolate Seattle? Here are some of the key details, so you can make your plans!

When: Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 6:45am
Price: 15K is $59 thru Sept 17; 5k is $39 thru Sept 17 (price increases again in January and February…so sign up soon!)
Stay connected: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Want all the chocolate? Register here

PROMO CODE! You’ll get bonus Hot Chocolate swag using the code BRHCSEA18 at registration. Codes for other Hot Chocolate series races can be found here.

Have you ever run a Hot Chocolate race before?
Share your experience with us!

hot chocolate seattle

SeaWheeze 2017

Upon the completion of the epic SeaWheeze Half Marathon in 2016, I figured it was probably a ‘one and done’ type of scenario. Although I enjoy the hype and the bling, my race tastes tend toward the smaller and more understated. However, when I was given the unexpected opportunity to run SeaWheeze 2017, I jumped at the chance! And do I have any regrets? Not a single one!

I’ve given the spiel before – SeaWheeze / lululemon / yoga / Vancouver – the SeaWheeze Half Marathon is one of those races that draws people from all over the world, that sells out in an hour, and that gets everyone talking. SeaWheeze 2017 was no exception!