Posts Tagged ‘north vancouver’


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…)

north van runIt was a short race, so this will be a relatively short post. However, the North Van Run was inspired by big ideas, and is worthy of two huge thumbs up! Thanks, as always, to Kirill and Shannon, and their team of volunteers for putting on a top-notch event!

I’ve been a huge fan of – and active participant in – the West Van Run over the past several years. When I first heard about the plans for a North Van Run, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to run as a member of the West Van Run Team!

From what I understand, this is the first road race to be held entirely in the City of North Vancouver. Sure, there are lots of trail races, given the mountainous nature of the area, but they are in the surrounding District of North Vancouver (as is the SHLF Run, which I’ll be participating in again this weekend!). So the inaugural North Van Run is a pretty big deal!

Package Pickup

All day on Saturday at the Capilano Mall, package pickup was also available pre-race on Sunday morning. Fortunately, my friend, Kyla (who lives in the area) was kind enough to grab mine for me.

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We were a bit worried that there might be rain, but the day was bright and sunny! Debra came by to pick me up, and we stopped at Burrard Station for Sam. The sun was rising as we headed over Lions Gate Bridge.

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The race started near the North Shore Auto Mall, and Level 10 Fitness opened their doors for pre-race preparations, including bag check and late bib pickup. There was also a short indoor track and other equipment made available for the use of participants.

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On the Run

After a quick but energetic warmup, the emcee called us all to the start line, and soon we were off. There was an extremely short out-and-back before things really got going. This – along with a few other loops – allowed Debra the chance to take lots of ‘runner in action’ photos en route!

Loop and another loop, and then we saw a hill, but then we turned left and did another loop and THEN the hill was for real! And by hill, I mean overpass (over the railway tracks) and although it wasn’t a steep hill, it was mentally daunting. It was over fairly quickly.

There was one ‘water stop’ midway through – and this is my only criticism of the race. The very enthusiastic volunteers were handing out huge bottles of water, which inevitably 1) had to be carried or 2) got thrown on the road, only partially drunk. I found this option wasteful, and would strongly suggest having the usual ‘water in cups’ option seen at most races.

The reprieve didn’t last very long, though, because as 2nd Avenue turned into 3rd Avenue, we kept ascending. It’s the kind of hill that you don’t notice when you’re driving, but that seems endless when you’re running. The kid in front me of – maybe 9 years old? – ya, I couldn’t catch up with him. And I thought perhaps I had gone out too fast.

Moments later, the road sloped down towards Esplanade. And, as 5k races go, we were in the final kilometre. There were a few twists and turns before the finish line was in sight.

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This was the most stunning finish line view of any race I’ve ever run! The last 200 metres took us out onto the Burrard Dry Dock Pier, with the City of Vancouver skyline as a backdrop. Epic!

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Everyone gathered at the end of the pier to take photos. How could we not? Lots of cheering and support and smiles.

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Then we wandered over to the Shipyards – where a night market is held every Friday in the summer – and joined the festivities. There were multiple vendors, free samples of food and drink, and lots of enthusiasm. Huge thanks to the sponsors of the North Van Run!!

Although I had to leave to get to another appointment, many folks stayed around for the awards ceremony. Those who had parked at the start line got shuttled back for free.

I deem the inaugural North Van Run a success! Looking forward to adding it to my annual race calendar!

Final Results

Chip Time: 23:55
Average Pace: 4:47 min/km
Place Overall: 78/242
Division Place: 10/20

REMINDER! The West Van Run weekend will be held March 3 and 4, 2018. Sign up now, and save with discount code ‘bradley’! The 2018 race will feature finisher shirts AND medals!

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Grouse Snowshoe Grind

The weather was perfect, the snow conditions just right, the company an absolute delight, and the organization a bit suspect for the 2017 Grouse Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run. Running for my second consecutive year, I had a lot of expectations for this event, and brought along my own ‘crew’ to share the experience. By and large, the Grouse Snowshoe Grind lived up to its reputation, but there are definitely some areas for improvement. Having said that, let me talk about all the good stuff – because there was lots of it! (more…)

MEC North Vancouver Race FIVE

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to MEC North Vancouver Race FIVE as part of being a WestVanRun Ambassador. Don’t forget to register for the West Van Run (5k / 10k) on March 4 & 5, 2017. Use the code ‘bradley‘ for 15% off!

Dubbed ‘Haunted Headwaters‘, the fifth and final race of the MEC North Vancouver trail series had both 5k and 10k options. Initially, I threw down and planned to sign up for the 10k, but ended up scaling back to the 5k. Which was plenty long enough for me! The event starts at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – hence the name of the race!



The storm warnings came at us throughout the week. The hashtag #BCStorm was trending on Twitter. I was worried that the race itself might be cancelled.

But when Sunday dawned, the rain was mostly at bay and I had a smooth, uneventful drive up Capilano Road to Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver for the SHLF Run!

Never heard of the SHFL Run? You’re not alone – I hadn’t either! But as an ambassador of the West Van Run, I was introduced to SHLF, and encouraged to run and represent our Crew. But what is the SHLF Run? It’s one of those rare races with a truly personal story behind it.


Spirit of the Shore

Just a week after my Washington Road Trip with Brie, where we ran the North County Wine Run, I had the Spirt of the Shore Half Marathon on my roster. As one does, I had signed up for this race months ago, and it kind of slipped my mind. And although I have a race calendar, October was on the ‘next page’ – so I didn’t notice that I had back-to-back halfs until they were pretty much happening.

However, this was my first half marathon on the North Shore (including both West Vancouver and North Vancouver) – and we had the amazing support of the West Van Run Crew – so the experience was fantastic. No regrets…except for one wee error in judgement…but more on that later!


MEC North Vancouver

When I started this blog 2 years ago, I hadn’t yet run a full marathon. I hadn’t run a trail race. The first race report I wrote was of the 2014 West Van Run. Fast forward to today – I joined with other enthusiastic members of the West Van Run team to conquer the trails of the MEC North Vancouver Race ONE!

MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop – an outdoor gear store and Vancouver institution) puts on a series of trail races (among other events) in communities across Canada, and keeps the entry fees low so everyone can join in. This was my first MEC race – and it was great!

Race ONE was held in North Vancouver, starting at the Lower Seymour Conservation Forest, and included both 5k and 10k options. Since I’m doing BOTH the 5k and the 10k at the West Van Run next weekend (March 5&6), I opted for the 5k. Although sub-titled ‘The Frozen Forest’, this run was anything but wintry!

Debra picked me up and we headed through foggy downtown, over the bridge and into the hills of Lynn Canyon. The parking lot was already getting crowded and we lined up to get our bibs and timing chips. Enjoyed a sample of David’s Tea, made a couple of potty breaks, and mingled with a bunch of familiar faces (not necessarily in that order). Given that I’m not a regular trail racer, it was great to run into a wide range of friends from:

Forerunners (Emily)

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RunVan (Jun)

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My office (shout out to Sharon! Why didn’t we get a selfie?)

And, of course, WestVanRun Crew! Paula, Mark (awesome t-shirt!), Milan and Stephen all tackled the 10k:

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Sam, Harrison, Debra and I took on the 5k:

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Ever reliable with her trusty camera, Debra (@debrakato) receives credit for all of the photos in this post!!

We cheered on the 10k racers as they headed out. About 25 minutes later, the 5k gang gathered at the start.

MEC North Vancouver

The first half of the race involved a loop around Rice Lake on a well-groomed trail. The terrain was relatively flat – a bit of undulation, but nothing especially intense. Almost immediately, however, I regretted wearing my jacket. Knowing a couldn’t continue like this, I hoped I wouldn’t repeat the incident at the Snowshoe Race where my jacket fell down around my ankles. I cinched it tight around my waist and forged ahead. It was all a bit of a blur.

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The second half was a whole different ball of wax. We passed the cheering crowds at the start/finish line and the course sloped downhill. Then, unexpectedly, stairs. Heading down. A whole lot of stairs.

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I gingerly passed a man in front, who said: “There’s a big uphill coming!” He was not mistaken.

At the bottom of the stairs, we were close to the shores of Lynn Creek, and the terrain became fairly rocky. There were more tourists and hikers and dogs as we passed the eastern end of Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.

MEC North Vancouver

And, as predicted, stairs going UP.

And UP.

I kept a pretty decent pace up the stairs. And then there was a hill. My pace slowed. I wanted to keep going…but I had to slow to a walk. I just couldn’t do it. Once I reached the top, I pushed myself to pick it up and keep moving. I had to convert my merino wool Buff (on its first outing) from cap to neck because I was SO hot.

There was a log.

MEC North Vancouver

In my mind, I leaped the log like a gazelle. In reality, I imagine it was more like a clamber.

In the last 100m or so, I managed to pass the guy who had been just ahead of me all the way up the hill. Sam and Harrison had finished moments before, so we reconvened with the 10k racers who had finished, and cheered in those who were wrapping up. We showed off our West Van Run team spirit! NOTE: Samantha came in 4th overall for females in the 5k! Congrats, Sam!!

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Debra and I then headed on to our NEXT race…to be continued at the Bagel Chase!!!

Final Results

Chip time: 28:29
Average pace: 5:42 min/km
Place overall: 23/161
Gender place (no age categories): 18/54

Trail races – yay or nay?


Join me in linking up with MissSippiPiddlin and HoHoRuns for their Weekly Wrap!