Posts Tagged ‘Scotiabank Charity Challenge’


My role as Scotiabank Digital Champion culminated in Sunday’s race – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon AND my 25th half marathon or what I’m referring to as my ‘silver’ half!

With 24 half marathons under my belt and a few years of experience, you’d think I’d be ready for this significant race. And yet, race day arrived, and I felt almost as unprepared as I’ve ever felt before a half marathon.



Another year has passed, and the summer is fast approaching…and it’s hard to believe that in just three weeks I’ll be running another Scotiabank Half Marathon <– click on that link to sign up!

I’m excited about this year’s #ScotiaHalf for a few reason:

  1. I have the honour of representing the race as a Digital Champion
  2. My dad will be in town to see me finish the race (read more about my dad here)
  3. This will be my silver anniversary half marathon – yep, my 25th half marathon ever!

So, what have I been doing to prepare for my next half marathon? Well, probably not as much as I should be…but I’m doing my best!

At the beginning of May, I finished the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – it wasn’t a PB, but it turned out to be in the TOP 3 of my half marathons, so that’s not too shabby.

Unfortunately, my ‘training’ was impacted by the very burdensome task of taking an overseas vacation…(in case you missed it, that statement is dripping with sarcasm…)

During my vacation, I continued with my runs – although I admit that they were not long or especially speedy, and involved a few stops along the way for scenic photos. (Read more about Running England, should you care to see a few pics from London and Yorkshire – in total, I ran about 42km in the UK!)

Back home in Vancouver, I started out running 17km with the Forerunners gang – in torrential rain. Seriously, we had perfect weather in England and Scotland, and this is what I came back to! Never been so wet in my life. It took three days for my shoes to dry out.

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

A few days later, I happily joined my dear friend Debra and fellow Digital Champion, along with other Scotiabank Half supporters, for a Pizza Training Run sponsored by Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria! Numbers were down slightly due to the threat of rain, which we laughed off…only to be drenched during our 5km loop in East Van. (On the flip side, I got to #fanboi on one of my running heroes, Rob Watson!)

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

This weekend, I ran the Ambleside Mile – part of the West Van Run family of races! I tacked on an extra 14.5km to make sure I was keeping up the distance because, you know, the Scotia Half is just three weeks away!

ScotiaHalf ScotiaHalf

I’m also very pleased to report that fundraising on behalf of BC Cancer Foundation is going well. At $2,664, I’m just over $300 shy of my $3,000 goal for 2016 in memory of my Mom. Should you be able to support this cause, please donate here.


Mom & me – I’m running in her memory!

Look forward to seeing you at the Scotiabank Half Marathon on June 26!

I’m also going to jump back in and join the Weekly Wrap-Up with MissSippiPiddlin and HoHoRuns!



When I did my very first Scotiabank race back in 2009, it was a 5K. It seems that the race wasn’t chip timed, so I have no idea how long it took me to finish. What I can remember – vaguely – is that it was a struggle. It was one of my first races ever. Fast forward to 2016, and I am proud and honoured to be a Scotiabank Half Digital Champion!

Scotiabank Half

And what exactly is that, a Digital Champion? Well, we are a diverse bunch of runners – different ages, who run different speeds, at different stages in our running journey. But what we have in common is our love for the sport, and our enthusiasm for the Scotiabank Half and what it represents and means to us.

You can meet all of the Digital Champions – and Pacers – by dropping by the Canada Running Series West website here. Debra Kato and I especially look forward to representing this event with enthusiasm!

Scotiabank Half

Charity Challenge

One of the things that makes the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K a truly special event is the emphasis on fundraising for charity. Every year there are a number of featured charities, plus a list of over 70 charitable partners to fundraise on behalf of. Fundraising can be as much or as little as you want, either as an individual or as part of a team. And while the Scotiabank Charity Challenge is an awesome component of the weekend, it’s not an obligation – but for me it holds great value.

I had intended to sign up for the Scotiabank Half in 2012 – and actually believed I had – but discovered just days before the race that I hadn’t registered. I took it as a sign and gave it a miss.

In 2013, I was on the ball early and signed up in January for the Canada Running Series Combo – the Vancouver Spring Run-Off 8K (now the Modo 8K), the Scotiabank Half, and the Eastside 10K. At that point, the thought of fundraising hadn’t yet entered my mind.

Scotiabank Half

BC Cancer Foundation

Late in March of 2013, life threw us a curveball. My mom ended up in hospital with a number of medical issues, and we soon learned that she had cancer. It would turn out to be late stage pancreatic cancer, one of the cancers with the lowest survival rates. Because it often goes undetected until it has spread, it is largely incurable. This turned out to be the case for my mom. I headed back to Ontario to spend time with her and my dad, but two weeks later on April 19, she passed away quietly in hospice.

Scotiabank Half

We spent the next couple of weeks putting affairs in order, planning the funeral, saying goodbye. And then it was back to the real world. I felt helpless, a bit lost, angry and exhausted. Then I decided that the only thing I could do was try and do something positive – and that where the Scotiabank Half came into play.

Deciding to fundraise on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation, I wanted to honour my mom’s memory. I committed to raising money to fight cancer – and to help fund the research that is still desperately needed.

Scotiabank Half

That commitment has continued – in 2014 and 2015 – and I’m doing it again this year. My goal is to raise $3,000 and bring my lifetime fundraising total to over $12,000. You can visit my fundraising page here:

So no matter what your motivation – to run your first half marathon, to join a team, to fundraise for a charity that is dear to your heart – the Scotiabank Half & 5K is a race worth running! Want to sign up? Visit the website here:

Scotiabank Half

Mary Alice Cuzen 1934-2013


Goodbye May, Hello June!

I got this idea from my fellow Vancouverite & Bib Rave Pro, Brie (find her, follow her, and love everything about her at Brie ‘Like the Cheese’!). I enjoyed her April/May post so much, I asked if I could copy her for this month. The idea of the monthly update is to reflect back on the month that has just ended, but at the same time look forward to the month that’s on its way.

Also, in order to ensure giving credit where credit is due – this idea originally came from Jessica Lawlor – so make sure you visit her site, too! I’ll match her style of highlighting 3 things from May, and 3 for June.

Without further ado, let’s wrap up the last month, and excitedly anticipate the next!

In May, I…

1. Achieved my half marathon PB! I actually ran two half marathons in May – started out with the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, and three weeks later travelled to Ontario and ran the Ottawa Half Marathon. Both runs were great experiences, but it was Vancouver that took the cake. A perfect storm of weather, course, and luck – I was able to complete the race in under 1:45 – which was a true hurdle overcome!

2. Ran my third ever blog contest! This time, it was a giveaway for the Ambleside Mile – coming up very soon in June! I was thrilled with the response I got from interested runners, and excited that my running buddy, Emily G., won the giveaway…and will be joining me at the race! Looking forward to seeing some of my other Twitter & social media friends there, too!

3. Participated in Link-Ups! If you’re a blogger and you’ve never participated in a link-up, you should totally start. It’s a great way to meet new folks with common interests, and get some new ideas and motivation!

  • Weekend Update: Such an inspirational bunch of people sharing their achievements over the weekend (and previous week). Tara at Reading ‘n’ Running hosts this link-up – and today’s post is part of that! Drop by her page, visit other folks, and link up!!
Running 'N' Reading
  • Wednesday Giveaway Roundup: Every week, Erica at Erica Finds hosts a Wednesday Giveaway Roundup. I think this is fantastic – though for us poor schlubs in Canada it can be a bit frustrating, since a lot of the giveaways are limited to US entrants. Nevertheless, my blog contest gained a lot more exposure through this link-up, and Erica has something going on all the time – definitely worth a visit!
  • Thursday Triumph: This NEW link-up is hosted by Smitha (Running with SD Mom), Carlee (Carlee McDott) and Linzie (Sharp Endurance). It’s a great chance to share a success and learn about what other runners are up to!

In June, I will…

1. Run three races! At least, that’s how many I’ve signed up for so far…

  • Ambleside Mile: Next Saturday is the aforementioned one-mile race in West Vancouver. It’s a new route this year – looking forward to giving it a go again. Last year, my Dad was in town for the race, which was really special.
  • Longest Day 10k: Held at UBC, the Blueshore Financial Longest Day Race includes both 5km and 10km distances. I race the 5km back in 2010 and it look me nearly 29 minutes to finish. We’ll see if we can’t improve on that pace this year!
  • Scotiabank Half Marathon: Once again, I’m fundraising on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation – and the total so far is nearly $2,000! I appreciate all the support and I’m so happy the money will be going to this great cause. I’m also excited to run my 5th half marathon of 2015, continuing with my #yearofthehalf theme.

2. Get back to the gym! I completed three training session with Lisa at the YMCA a couple of months ago. They had another deal in May for a discount on a 3-pack of sessions, so I signed up again. Because I’m out of town this week – headed to Edmonton for work – I’ll probably get started in the 2nd week of June.

3. Sing! I belong to a local community choir called Simple Gifts. Next Sunday is our final concert before the summer. We sing a variety of music – classical, jazz, musical, African folk – and have a lot of fun doing it. We also sing at two seniors’ homes as part of our ‘outreach’, which I think is one of the most fulfilling things about it. For the summer, I join SummerChor, which each year rehearses and performs a single major classical work. This year, we are working on Faure’s Durufle’s Requiem, which we will perform at the end of August.

Tell me about what you achieved in May in the comments! What do you have planned for June?

May posts you might have missed:



January is traditionally the month of resolutions made.

By February, many are broken.

March, however, has been a milestone month for me. Maybe because I didn’t make any resolutions this year, and decided instead to focus on goals and overall improvements. And while there have been a couple of downs, the overall trajectory has been up!

Here are 5 reasons why March exceeded my expectations:

1) Blogiversary

Bradley on the Run celebrated one year online on March 1. With gratitude to my faithful and supportive readers, the number of visitors for the first 3 months of 2015 has nearly overtaken the number for all of 2014. This humbles me immensely.

March also saw Twitter followers (@bjcjapan) surpass 500! This was quite a psychological barrier to break. I remember hovering around 100 followers for what seemed like an eternity.

2) Cancer Sucks – so do something about it

Commemorating my mom’s birthday for the second time since she passed away in 2013, the BC Cancer Foundation is once again my charity of choice as fundraising for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, which will be held in June, commenced in earnest.

Pancreatic cancer is insidious – it grows deep inside, often undiscovered until advanced stages. It remains largely incurable. I’m doing what little I can to support research by raising funds and raising awareness. But it’s the support of a lot of people who truly make the difference.

My personal fundraising page is here:


A good friend was telling me recently about her friend, Scott, who is fighting cancer himself – and running to raise both awareness and funds. I’d like to draw attention to his blog as well:

Run Fast. Run Vegan.

Because March is tax season, a lot of people start thinking about charitable donations for the coming year. Focus on the charities that are closest to your heart, and support them as best you can. Everyone can make a difference.

3) 3 Races – 3 PBs

I shall brag a wee bit. I ran three races in March:

All three were personal bests, although the 7 Miler was a bit of a cheat since it was my first race of that distance (automatic PB!)


#Modo8K dramatic pose

4) Miles Not Included Podcast!

Somehow, Brian and Joe – the awesome team at Miles Not Included – found me social media, and invited me to be a guest on their podcast. Such an honour! If you’re interested, you can listen to the episode here:


5) Got me some new kicks!

I’m back to my tried and true Nike Lunarglides in their 6th iteration. I strayed from Nike for a while, running with some stylish Mizunos (my Honolulu Marathon shoes). But they were not right for my feet and started causing some pain. So yesterday I pick up these beauties:


I had planned to break them in today, but it’s been pouring all day and I just couldn’t bring myself to sully the fantastic colour (plus I wanted to stay cozy in my pjs all day, and decided to focus on writing this post instead!)


Finally, here’s some food for thought for comments below:

What were your March highlights? Did your training suffer any setbacks?

Have you got any new running gear that you’re really excited about?

What charities are you passionate about and why?



I signed up for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon as part of a 3-race package (Modo 8k, Scotiabank Half, Eastside 10k). Little did I know the time that I’d be running the BMO Marathon in May, and injuring myself enough to have very little training leading up to the race. Here’s how things panned out:

Friday, 5:00pm
Package pickup at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Quick and efficient. Nothing like the chaos and long lines of the BMO. Felt relaxed and positive. Nicely done, Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon organizers and volunteers!

Friday, 11:37pm
Significant amounts of self-doubt. In the last month, my longest run has been 7k. I’m out of shape. I probably shouldn’t have had those 2 glasses of wine. What the heck am I going to blog about?

Saturday, 9:56pm
My gear is laid out for the morning. I’m golden!

Saturday, 10:00pm

Saturday, 10:01pm
OK, maybe I’ll read just one chapter before I sleep…

Saturday, 10:38pm
Now I really have to sleep. But I should pee once more so I don’t wake myself up in the night.

Saturday, 11:15pm
I’m so tired. Why can’t I sleep? What if I don’t hear my alarm? Maybe I should set another one. If I just envision crossing the finish line, it’ll become a reality! I have a Lady Gaga song looping in my head.

Sunday, 2:06am (give or take)
Is that my alarm? No, it’s still dark out…

Sunday, 5:12am
The alarm is going off in 15 minutes. I’ll just lie here a bit longer…

Sunday, 5:39am (two snoozes later)
Time to get up. Breakfast – oatmeal with blueberries; dressed and out the door by 6:20. Grab a nearby car2go. Arrive at UBC in time to check my bag, make a pit stop, and connect with a couple of coworkers who are running.

Sunday, 7:30am
We’re off!

The Race

This is my second Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. It starts with a brief out-and-back, meaning that we get to see the elites pass by while we are still around 2k and they’re approaching 5k. Great inspiration, lots of clapping and cheering from the masses. My pace is good and, although I’m aware of that nagging injury (in my psoas muscle – an inconvenient thing), it’s not extreme.

I’m impressed, as always, but the range of ages among the runners surrounding me. The love of running spans the generations. There’s even a guy racing in his wheelchair. Many folks running to support charities. A positive group.

The downhill starts around 7k. Last year, I pounded down this hill too hard and tweaked my right ankle. I try to remain controlled, to keep a quick but measured pace. The guy in the wheelchair whizzes by. My speed picks up, and my app tells me I hit 10k at 52 minutes. I’m hoping for a timing clock at the halfway mark, but there is none. Regardless, I know that this won’t be a PB race.

It’s familiar territory now – the route identical to the BMO Marathon, except the day is warm and sunny, and I haven’t already run over 20k! But, as these things go, my energy is flagging – my recent lack of training clearly evident.

At the short, steep Marine Drive hill, I shorten my stride and pump my arms to get some momentum. The wheelchair guy is here again, going up the hill backwards, and grinning at everyone he sees. Through the struggle, it makes me smile.

Somewhere in Kits, I get chills. Not the excitement kind. The kind that suggests that maybe I haven’t eaten enough, or maybe I’m getting dehydrated. After completing a marathon, I’ve underestimated my fuelling requirements. I skipped a few water stops during the first 10k, but I’m taking full advantage now. A guy in a Barney costume passes me. I’m so hot – how is he managing??

The Burrard Bridge has never seemed so long. Honestly, I don’t think it will ever end. I imagine the guy in the wheelchair working his way up this steady incline and I marvel. Someone has collapsed off to the right. He has several people around him, and someone has cushioned his head. I hope he’s alright.

Finally, the bridge peaks and it’s downhill from here. I don’t know if I have it in me. But when I see the photographer at the bottom, I whip off my sunglasses and throw my hands in the air in victory. That’s going to be a great picture (one that will be overpriced and I won’t purchase, but all the same…)

Nearing English Bay – the crowd is thickening. The end is nigh! Turning onto the final stretch, my ever-reliable and adorable partner is there with camera in hand, and I have that extra push to the finish.

scotiabank vancouver half marathon scotiabank vancouver half marathon

Nearing the chute, I pick up speed and pass about half a dozen people because I really just want to finish. I’m tired and hot and hungry.

Final results

Chip time: 1:53:56
Average pace: 5:24 min/km
Place overall: 1021/3333
Age category place: 89/179

I ran this one for Mom, in her memory. With the contributions from my generous coworkers, friends and family, over $2,500 was raised on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation to aid its fight against this stupid, destructive disease. I consider that to be the biggest win today.


The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon is a wrap. And I’m not going to have any worries about that glass of wine tonight!


One year ago today, I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer. She was hospitalized a couple of days after her birthday in March, and was diagnosed a week or so later. Her decline was quick and blessedly free of much pain. While I am thankful that she didn’t suffer much, I can’t help but wish that we’d had just a bit more time together.

Breaking Apart

In the weeks leading up to Mom’s death, and those following, I found solace in my running. Although I spent much of her final 2 weeks at the hospital, I often took an hour or so in the morning to get outside. Unlike this year, the spring of 2013 was relatively mild in Ontario, and I could run the streets of Barrie without worry of slipping on the ice, or needing to bundle up.

A couple of days after Mom was gone, I went for one of the longest runs I had done – heading up Anne Street and north of the city. It was a warm, sunny day and the route was just along the gravel verge of the road. All of a sudden, it hit me that I would never see her again. I started to cry – the kind of sobs that wrack your body – and just kept running and crying and hating cancer and regretting some of the things I should never have said and thinking of things I wished I had said.

Then I couldn’t cry anymore. There was nothing more I could do but turn around and head home.

Pulling Back Together

Although I had registered for the 2013 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, I had no intention of racing. In fact, when I first learned of my mom’s illness, I asked if I could defer to the following year – a request that was unfortunately denied. But I ended up flying home a week after the funeral, and two days before the race, so I ran it anyway. Not a great time – my training had hardly been consistent – but better than not running at all. My mom was not one for waste, and I think she would have applauded my decision.

A week later I registered for the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, raising funds for the BC Cancer Foundation. I was already signed up for the Scotiabank Half Marathon and, since Mom fervently believed in helping others, I couldn’t think of a better way to honour her memory than to dedicate the run to her. Every penny donated was earmarked for pancreatic cancer research – and with the overwhelming support of family and friends, over $3,700 was raised.

And today I’m committing to do it again. I’ve signed up to fundraise for the BC Cancer Foundation, and to Run for Mom in this year’s Scotiabank Half Marathon.

You can help support me in the 2014 Scotiabank Charity Challenge by making a donation here.

With sincere thanks.