Posts Tagged ‘vancouver spirit run’


On the almost literal heels of the 5 Peaks Trail Race – that is, the very next morning – I participated in the Vancouver Spirit Run. This race, just like the previous day, was unlike any race I had ever run before!

One of my West Van Run teammates – Karin – is a track star. Short distances and sprints are her thing (and not mine!). But when she offered us free registration for this race, how could I refuse? Also, it would be my chance to participate in my first ever cross country race! (By the way, Karin has been featured in the Miles Not Included podcast…which you can listen to here.)

I agreed to participate before I actually knew what a cross country run actually was. I’m a road racer. That’s what I know; it’s familiar. So if you, like me, don’t have a clue – here’s what you need to know:

Traditional cross-country is run primarily on grass in parks or across open countryside, involving multiple laps of a relatively short distance.
— BC Athletics

Armed with that knowledge, I was simply nervous – that, and the fact that I knew the field would be extremely fast, with oodles of incredibly fast short-distance runners in attendance.

I went to Forerunners for package pickup on Saturday afternoon. I had returned from Mount Seymour for a shower and a nap, and decided to venture out to get the goods. A simple bib – that’s all I needed!

Also, I popped over to Foot Solutions on Broadway. Why? Well, since the West Van Run is sponsored by Brooks – and because I’m a race ambassador – I got some new Brooks shoes! I was pretty excited to pick up my new Glycerin 12s!

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Race Day

Sunday morning dawned…windy. Seriously windy. Because the race didn’t start until 10am, I had lots of time for a leisurely breakfast, and a bit of lounging around with an extra cup of coffee.

Finally, I headed out with aim of arriving at Jericho Beach Park by 9:15am. I grabbed a car2go – which, if you’re unfamiliar, is a Smart Car – and nearly blew off the Burrard Bridge. Arriving at the event site, you could see the whitecaps on the ocean (though maybe not in these photos).

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I met up with Debra and Sam, and we showed off our West Van Run team spirit!

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We were joined by Kirill, Jin and Ben (although Ben had just run like 26km and wasn’t doing the race).

Too soon, it was gun time. Weirdly, we were lined up on the grass across a huge area…side-by-side instead of in corrals like a usual road race. No timing mat at the start, either – so it’s gun time or bust! Incidentally, men and women all started together, but the women were running 6km, while the men were running 8km. Lucky me!

The Course

I’ll describe the route, since I ran it 4 times! We headed out across the grass, facing some pretty intense headwinds. This would be challenging for me on each loop. We headed left, and back along the way we had come, with some grassy rolling hills along the way.

Then through some trees, onto a gravel path. One kilometre. A sharp left – and a short but steep hill. The friendly volunteers at the bottom and the top were so encouraging – every time!

The path changed to wood chips, and we were beneath a canopy of shady trees. With the wind blowing, leaves and small branches kept falling on our heads! We burst from the woods into a grassy downhill, and headed back towards the start, encountering runners on their next loop in the process.


Past the start line for Loop 2

Same as the first, a little bit windier, a little bit worse…

Loop 3 – the lead runners passed me, especially when I had to shop short because my shoelace came undone! Seriously!

And before I even started my 4th Loop, the lead runners were already done! The top 3 finishing times were between 26:07 and 27:23. I could hear them being interviewed as I still had another 2km to go…and most of the women had finished their 6km race by that time too! I also had navigate through a flock of Canada Geese who had decided to settle in the middle of the course!

Finally, the end was in sight! I sprinted past a few stragglers and greeted my team – all of whom had finished before me! Nevertheless, I had completed my first cross country race!


This may be the only time you see me in a running singlet!

Here are the winners of the women’s 6k and men’s 8k:

6k Winners

Marla Dalzot, Robyn Mildren, Erica Digby

8k Winners

Geoff Martinson, Kelly Wiebe, Theo Hunt

Other events of the morning included:

  • 2K Girls & Boys – Elementary 12 & Under
  • 3k Girls & Boys  – Junior High 15 & Under
  • 4K Girls & 5K Boys – Senior High 17 & Under
  • 1k – Family FUN RUN
  • 4 x 1k RELAY – Corporate, Club, & Family Divisions

I didn’t stay, however – I was exhausted from the back-to-back races. Proud to announce, though, that 4 members of the West Van Run Crew competed in the relay, and placed second overall!

Thank you to the organizers, sponsors and volunteers for putting on this fun and well-organized race!

Final Results

Chip Time: 41:53
Average Pace: 5:15 min/km
Place Overall: 31/46 (men only, since women ran a 6k)
Age Category Place: 13/17 (my division was ‘Masters’ – everyone over 35 years old!)

Have you ever run a cross country race?

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Vancouver Spirit Run

Before I get into the story, I have a race to tell you about! As a member of the #WestVanRun Team, I’ve been invited to participate in something completely different – a cross-country race! Held on September 13, the Vancouver Spirit Run is:

A cross-country race created by World-level athletes who wanted to honour the legacy of their late Norwesters Track & Field coach: Frank Reynolds. He was an amazing cross-country and middle-distance running coach who helped Olympian Jessica Smith as a teenager as well as World-class steeplechase runner Chris Winter.

The race aims to bring together young and amateur runners with world-level athletes to enjoy the often-forgotten sport of cross-country. The funds raised through the events will all go to a bursary to support young local athletes.

I’ll be running the 8km Men’s in the Masters division. The race is held at Jericho Beach Park, and loops through the scenic mixed-surface trails, including gravel and bark mulch. I highly recommend coming out and giving it a try! There are events for kids, too – bring the whole family!


And now…the story of my busy week that was!

Training Recap

Last weekend, I ended up running twice in one day – a 15km tempo run, and a Mizuno shoe try-on. The latter involved 3 different models, and 3km in each. A good experience, and a long day!

Monday – 7km at lunch with my awesome coworkers!

Tuesday – busy work day, but got myself to Pilates for the first time in over a month.

Wednesday – another 7km at lunch – and encouraged a couple of the girls to run around Second Beach pool…their longest run ever!


Here I’m wiping sweat with my Handana. Don’t forget – you can still enter to win one (yes, a brand new one, NOT the one used in the photo above!)

Thursday – still aching from Pilates, Jill and I cranked out some solid weights at the gym. Gonna feel this one.

Friday – second Pilates class of the week! One of the girls fell asleep – but that didn’t last long!

Thankfully, I had a massage scheduled for Saturday – and boy did I need it!

Forerunners Mile

One more thing – Thursday night! I went to the final Forerunners speed clinic of the season knowing we were running on the track. What I didn’t expect is that an actual one mile race was in the cards!

Coach Carey had brought along bibs for everyone, and 39 runners assembled (in two heats) for four laps of the track at UBC.

I was in the second heat, after cheering on the runners in the first heat. The first two laps were…manageable. I tried to keep a consistent pace, to save something up form the second half. On lap three, I pushed myself a bit harder and put a bit more distance between myself and the next runner.

At each lap, Coach Carey was calling out our time. My goal was to achieve a sub-7 minute mile. I knew I was on track (so to speak) to achieve this. I finally crossed the finish line with a respectable time of 6:48. This made me happy!


Our final event was a relay – teams put together with faster and slower runners, based on our one-mile times. Out of 10 teams, I think we placed 6th. But it didn’t really matter – we had a great run.


And we all got medals – RUN HAPPY medals! What could be better?


The Ambleside Mile is still my one-mile record – but all things considered, I’m pretty darn pleased with the results of the Forerunners Mile!

The Forerunners Crew! Thanks, Bev and Kefi, for the awesome photo!

Have you ever done a cross-country race? If you’re in Vancouver – will you join the Spirit Run?
What do you think of track workouts?