Posts Tagged ‘west vancouver’


Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Great Climate Race through the awesome folks at West Van Run! Don’t forget to sign up for the West VanRun 5K or 10K (or both!) on March 5 & 6 – get 15% with discount code ‘bradley’.

I learned about the Great Climate Race a few months ago. It was co-founded by Ben West and Mari McMillan, two folks who are truly passionate about our environment. Their commitment to combatting climate change brought about this year’s inaugural event, the overarching purpose of which was to bring people together to crowdfund for local solar energy.

Here’s how the weekend went down:


I had already committed to joining the Forerunners crew, rain or shine. And rain it did. Unlike the previous week, when the rain let up just a few minutes into a run, this day we got no reprieve. In fact, it seemed that with every step (into a puddle) we took, the rain got harder and the waters got deeper. We had the option of running 11km or 15km, but when I hit the water stop at 5.5km, I just had to turn back.


Thanks to Stephen Chung for this authentic experience

Arriving at the store, I wrung out my gloves (outside) before gathering with the other #hardcore runners for this mid-deluge photo:


Thankfully, I had brought a change of clothes – although not extra shoes, so my clean socks were soaked within seconds of putting them on. Still, I was mostly dry as I headed to the local Patagonia store to pick up my race package for the next day. In keeping with the ‘zero waste’ policy of the Great Climate Race, the package consisted of my bib.



Since the 10K didn’t start until 10am, I had a leisurely morning. I ate my oatmeal, drank my coffee, and had some toast with peanut butter. Lazed around a bit. It was actually nice not having to be at a race at the crack of dawn! Then I grabbed a car2go, picked Sam up at the station, and we were off to the start!


When we arrived at Ceperley Park (Second Beach), the 2.5km race was just finishing. There were tons of people milling about, and we kept running into familiar faces.

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There were public washrooms close by – hooray! – so that made life easier, especially after all the coffee I’d consumed! Karin led us in a quick warm-up, and things were under way.

I had debated with myself about whether or not to wear my singlet, since I’m still a bit self-conscious. But I wanted to show my West Van Run spirit, so I didn’t let my snow-white skin get in the way! Sam, Sarah, Ben and I huddled together between the 40 minute and 50 minute pace bears.

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The first kilometre involved some serious puddle-jumping, as we looped the park and ran along the Lost Lagoon trail. Soon enough, we connected with the seawall, and started our counter-clockwise loop of Stanley Park.

You may recall from my Rock ‘n’ Roll Cunningham Seawall 10K that we did a clockwise loop. I debated at that time which direction was harder, at least from a psychological perspective. On this race day, I concluded that the hardest direction is whatever direction you happen to be going! That is my final word on the topic (until I change my mind!!)

The volunteers along the route – including those holding the kilometre markers – were fantastic. So enthusiastic and cheery! I have so much respect for the folks who stand out in whatever weather happens to be on order, and encourage the rest of us. They are truly the heroes of each and every race!

True to the sustainable nature of the Great Climate Race, there was a single water stop with no paper cups – we were forewarned (i.e. encouraged) to bring our own water bottles. I’m not to run with liquids, so I bypassed this station with a wave.

I was glad by now that I had elected to wear my singlet, because I was HOT – but still smiling (mostly because I passed the 50 minute pace bear… you can see him in the background!). Debra was smiling in her polar bear cap, too!

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At one point, a young woman in yellow passed me, ran about 100 metres ahead, then turned and went back. As she passed from view, I heard someone cheerily shout, “You’re going the wrong way!” I cringed a little, thinking back to the awful experience I had during the Scotiabank Half…that is a phrase I will never utter again.

Up until this point, my legs had been feeling a bit heavy. But as we got close to the 8km mark, I forced myself to pick up the pace. One of my internal mantras, picked up earlier this year, is: “Don’t pass anyone in the first kilometre, and don’t let anyone pass you in the last kilometre.” I pushed myself to get ahead of some of the folks in front of me…and then THE GIRL IN YELLOW passed me!! Yep – she passed me again, even after running back behind me! Harumph.

Rounding the final corner, I realized with a mild groan that the race ended on an uphill. And then I saw Sam’s blue ponytail bobbing along up front and I forced myself to gun it and catch up with her. While I didn’t grab her hand in a victory wave (she had earbuds in and I didn’t want to freak her out), we crossed the finish link at the exact same moment, true West Van Runners!

Celebratory photos!

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Final Results

Chip Time: 48:55
Average Pace: 98/742
Place Overall: 12/49
Age Category Place: 4:53 min/km



Packet Pickup
Not much to report – quick and straight-forward. Dropped by Patagonia, got my bib, and I was on my way. If it hadn’t been for my wet feet (thanks to a run in the rain just before), I might have hung around a bit. But I didn’t.

In keeping with the sustainability theme of the race, no t-shirt (though they did have some fun trucker caps for sale!). The ‘medal’ was a cute leaf on a string.

Counter-clockwise on the Stanley Park seawall. Almost entirely flat. Scenic – with views of the ocean, the park, the North Shore mountains…everything you’d want from an environment-themed run in Vancouver! One aid station without paper cups – you had to bring your own water bottle!

Climate bear was there to welcome us to the finish line! Apples, bananas, CLIF Bars and (as long as you had your own water bottle, or bought one on site) water. Friends and fun!

Would I Run It Again?
Yes! I was glad to be part of the inaugural Great Climate Race, and I look forward to seeing how things progress in the coming years.


And while I’m at it, I’m linking up with Marcia from Marcia’s Healthy Slice for Tuesdays on the Run!


Ambleside MileThe week leading up to the Ambleside Mile was a busy one. Thankfully, since I didn’t have to get a lot of distance in, I figured it wouldn’t have a huge impact on my actual race.

Monday: Quick lunchtime run with Lana. We did fartleks!

Tuesday:  Our choir performed at a local seniors’ home. We rehearse each week, and have this outreach concert as a sort of ‘dress rehearsal’.

Wednesday: I got myself out of bed early today, which happened to be #NationalRunningDay. Knowing it was my only chance to squeeze in a run, I took to the Seawall and managed a 5km.


After conducting a series of interviews at work, I went to the airport and flew to Edmonton. With the time change, it was well after 9pm by the time I got checked in at the hotel and sat down to dinner.

Thursday: The interviews continued – we conducted 5 more, each lasting over an hour. Got back to the hotel after 6pm. Rather than flinging myself on the bed and taking a nap, which is what I really wanted to do, I put on my running gear (which I had wisely laid out the night before) and headed out for a run.

The hotel is on a major road, with a highway nearby. But I knew from experience (about 2 years ago) that there was a nice residential area not too far away. Despite a hint of storm clouds, I needed to run off the marathon interview session.

What I love about the prairies is the vastness of the sky. I know it’s the same sky we have in BC, but there’s something in not having mountains nearby to ‘block’ the view.


Friday: I spent the morning at the office and flew back to Vancouver. Home again, I only had time to prep dinner before heading out to our final rehearsal before the concert.

Race Day

When the alarm went off on Saturday morning, I was struggling with a bit of jetlag and lack of “down time”. I didn’t even take a day-before photo of my race gear! Nor did I have my bib, which was to be picked up at the start line.

My Twiitter buddy turned RLF (real life friend) – Debra (@debrakato) – offered to pick me up and drive me to the race. Gun time was 9:30am, so we arrived in West Vancouver shortly before 9am. 

The best thing about the Ambleside Mile was all of the social media peeps who were in attendance! In addition to Debra, I caught up with Elinor (@goodbyeclutter) – who cycled to the race!

Karin (@looseleafrunner)

Ben (@benlooii) – he came and introduced himself – love meeting folks for the first time!

Jin – aka Mr Canada (@MrCanada_Jin)

A host of celebrities! Of course, Kirill was there, too – but as race organizer he was out and about running errands, so I didn’t have a chance to catch up with him.

Also, my running buddy and Ambleside Mile Giveaway winter, Emily, was there!

It was Emily’s first official one-miler, and I was excited to have been able to offer her the free entry! 

The weather was starting to heat up – and a few minutes before gun time we did a round of ‘warmup’ exercises. And with little fanfare, the race was on!

Last year’s Ambleside Mile was a loop – this year was a bit different. This is what it looked like: 

There was a significant downhill near the beginning, which no doubt helped my pace somewhat. Emily and I started out together, and I think her breathing was one of the only sounds I could hear. Yes, there were some spectators with lots of enthusiasm – but the intensity of this short, quick race makes it hard to concentrate on much beyond your immediate surroundings.

My Garmin beeped at 1km, and Emily said, “At least we’re more than halfway there!” It felt like it would never end! As we rounded the final corner, the last 2 blocks to the finish line, Emily kicked it up a notch and left me in her dust. She finished about 5 seconds ahead of me, and came third in her age group!

I saw the time on the clock and knew this would be a PB. I crossed the finish line at 6:26 – a full 20 seconds faster than last year!


Congrats to all the speed demons who finished the mile! I’m proud of you all!!

Final results:
Chip time: 6:22 (Gun time: 6:26)
Average pace: 3:57 min/km
Place overall: 61/160
Age category place: 5/10


Have you ever run a one mile race? What’s your favourite race distance?

Once again, please to link up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for her Weekend Update! Join in, or drop by and see what other bloggers have been up to!

Running 'N' Reading


For my second Ambleside Mile, I was quite satisfied with the whole experience. No issues whatsoever. I was very pleased to be able to offer an entry giveaway to the race. Enjoyed the whole experience…short as it was!

Packet pickup/expo
Although pickup was available on Friday, I took advantage of morning-of pickup. Quick and simple. They used ankle bands as timing chips, which briefly made me feel like Martha Stewart, but the feeling passed.

T-shirt is a simple cotton affair from Gildan. I’ll likely use it for gym workouts rather than running. I love that – for a race of this distance – we get a medal!

Downhill at the beginning, then flat. Quick and straightforward. With the wide corners, I wonder about the course measurement…but obviously it isn’t a track run (nor an Olympic run!), so I’m hardly fussed.

Aid Stations
It’s one mile. No aid stations. There was water, juice and bananas at the finish line. Also, some David’s Tea (iced, of course!).

Race Management
Same management as my beloved West Van Run. Professional. On top of things. No issues that I can think of. Good social media presence and response!

If you’re interested, these videos show the race from two perspectives – from the pace car, tracking the lead runners, and at the finish line:

I’m very pleased to announce that Emily G. has won the free entry to the Ambleside Mile on June 6! Congratulations Emily!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and who helped promote my giveaway. Special shout-out to Erica at Erica Finds for hosting the weekly Wednesday Giveaway Linkup, and giving my contest a boost!

For those of you who didn’t take home the prize, you can still sign up! Visit Ambleside Mile and enter the promo code “@bjcjapan15” at checkout to get 15% off!

Looking forward to the next contest!!

Ambleside Mile

This contest is now closed – congratulations to the winner, Emily G.!

Ambleside Mile Giveaway

Have you ever run a mile? Yes, I mean, of course you’ve run a mile. Many miles, probably. On the road, on the track. A whole bunch back to back. But have you ever run a one-mile race? If not, here’s your chance – a GIVEAWAY!

The Ambleside Mile takes place in the West Vancouver neighbourhood of Ambleside, a charming community close to the ocean. The event is held on Saturday, June 6 in conjunction with West Vancouver Community Day. For more information on the race itself, visit the Ambleside Mile website.


What’s it like to run a mile? Read about the 2014 Ambleside Mile in my race report.

Here’s a video of the whole race! (I cross the line at 4:28 – which is NOT how fast I run a mile!)

The great thing about this race – you are finished in less than 10 minutes (maybe even less than 5 minutes!), and you get all the good stuff that comes with a major road race:

  • Race t-shirt
  • Finisher’s medal
  • Food & drink
  • Fun & frivolity

But why would I want to run just a mile?

It’s a great challenge! See how you stack up! Get in a little bit of speed training in preparation for your next race. And heck – you might get to run for free!


Enter for a chance to win an entry to the Ambleside Mile. Giveaway ends at midnight on May 12, 2015. Open to Canadian & US residents – as long as you’re able to get yourself to West Vancouver, BC for the race on June 6, 2015! A random winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.

Ambleside Mile Giveaway

Mobile link:

I’m also participating in a Giveaway Roundup hosted (weekly!) by Running with SD Mom and Erica Finds. Click on either link to see what’s on offer. Note to my Canadian readers: many of these Giveaways are, unfortunately, US only. However, they are also sponsored by some great blogs, so don’t hesitate to visit!


**NEWS FLASH**SMALL-miles_not_included_podcast_logo-SQUARE

Before I get into the West Van Run race report, I want to share the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since I started blogging. I was invited to be in a podcast! The guys at Miles Not Included – Joe & Brian – reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I would be their guest. I was very flattered, and gratefully accepted.

The podcast went live on Tuesday, and you can listen to it here:
Miles Not Included Podcast – Episode 9 – Bradley on the Run

Now, on with the race report!

West Van Run

The West Van Run holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. Last year, I learned about this race and got engaged with them on social media. This was really the start of something new for me, as my tweets until then had been pretty one-sided!

I love the brand. It’s simple. It’s clean. I like the swag.

My first race report – and my second blog post – was about the 2014 West Van Run. It was a personal best for me in the 10K – it was the first time I broke the 50-minute barrier for a race of that distance. Also, my friend and college roommate was in town from Ontario, and came to cheer me on. All in all, a really great race.

Let me tell you about West Van Run 2015

I stuck to my guns and did a long-ish run on Saturday, in keeping with my ‘strategy’ which has garnered a couple of PBs in the past. I did 16km with my Forerunners peeps, and then travelled up to Park Royal in West Vancouver to pick up my race packet.

West Van Run

The race is a relatively small one, so it took just a few minutes to get my bib, tote bag, water bottle and wrist band. I signed up for earlybird registration, so I think that entitled me to more swag than those who signed up late – but don’t quote me on that!

The theme of this year’s race was ‘We Are Canucks’. As a proud Canadian, I grabbed my red t-shirt and posted the following tweet:

West Van Run

To which I received this message from my Twitter friend, Debra:

Hey, where’s your Canucks stuff for tomorrow’s race? Do you need any? I’m bringing some extra if you do…

I realized, to my horror (but not entirely surprising, given my general lack of interest in professional sports), that I had defaulted to the wrong Canucks – and should have been wearing the appropriate team colours!

With some creative makeshift design on the home front, and some additional gear support from Debra, this was the result:

West Van Run

Unlike a lot of local races (where I can simply walk to the start line from my downtown home), I had to drive to West Van. Being paranoid and chronically on time, we arrived far too early and spent quite a bit of time shivering in the cold. It was chilly, but dry – no snow or freezing rain like last year! But with a crisp morning comes great scenery:

West Van Run West Van Run

The West Van Run has a 1K kids’ run (8:00am start) – so I got to see them finishing their race. At 8:15am, the 5K race headed out. The 10K start was 8:30am. Unlike last year, there was no warm-up exercise/music, which let me down a bit. And just before the gun went off, we were forced to wait for a train to pass by…

West Van Run West Van Run

We had a new route this year. Last year, the race was an out-and-back along the Seawall. This year, we ran through the West Van neighbourhoods of Dundarave and Ambleside, wove through Park Royal, and then finished on the Seawall. I liked the variety of this route better, especially because the Seawall start was so crowded last year.

West Van Run

And we’re off!

I went into this race with the intention of pushing myself harder than I had in previous 10Ks. Unfortunately, I started out at an unsustainable pace – urged on by adrenaline and the enthusiastic crowd of runners – and was slowed by the first nasty hill undulation between the first and second kilometre. However, after a fairly steep downhill, the course is essentially pancake flat right to the finish.

There are two turnarounds: the first is around 4km, the second around 7km. I found the second one more discouraging, because I could really see how many people were ahead of me! However, it was also at this point that I started keeping pace with runner #273.

Runner #273. I didn’t look at him, he was just there at my left shoulder. He’d move ahead a little, I’d do the same. I’d get a wee bit in front, he’d catch up. This went on for about 3km. And I give him credit – intentionally or not, he gave me the push I needed to keep my pace up, to bring out a bit of my competitive spirit. The Finish line comes into sight on the Seawall at 9km, and then you know how far a kilometre really is. I saved my push until about 300m from the end, put on the gas – and then #273 blazed past me. He crossed the finish line 2 seconds before me! All I could do was congratulate him!

West Van RunWest Van Run

Before I talk about results…let me just mention post-race. There are a few local sponsors, so we got Muscle MLK, David’s Tea, Quinoa snacks and Trace Mineral-Infused Blackwater (crazy, right?).

West Van Run

The big disappointment for me, though, was the ‘free food’ we were supposed to get from the Beach House Restaurant. The place was absolutely rammed – I guess the 5k runners were still there – so after standing in line for about 10 minutes, we gave up and went to another cafe. Not sure what could have been done to improve this situation.

Finally – the results! In spite of – or perhaps thanks to! – my long run on Saturday, and definitely in some part because of #273, I managed a PB for this race. A 3-minute PB. This makes me very happy, given that my half marathon PB in February was a 30-second improvement. For a 10K – I’m incredibly pleased!

West Van Run

In summary – West Van Run is still tops on my list – and especially great because of the new course this year! It’s also worth noting that participation levels more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, proving that this race is getting recognized, and deservedly so!

Final results:

Chip time: 46:32
Average pace: 4:40 min/km
Place overall: 88/385
Age category place: 16/49

West Van Run

Little teaser here: Ambleside Mile video! (You’ll see me cross the finish line at 4:28)

Since the Vancouver Marathon, I’ve been nursing a couple of injuries that have severely limited my ability to run. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the Ambleside Mile was important to me in more ways than one!

Bringing Back the Mile

I’d never thought about running a mile before.

This year, the Ambleside Mile was organized by the same folks who brought us the West Van Run earlier this year. I was so impressed with that race that I took note of this short-distance run. Then, in an effort to promote my blog, I was offered a free entry to the Ambleside Mile to give away in my first ever blog contest!

One of my nagging injuries was still bothering me in the week leading up to the race, and I only had a couple of short run-walks under my belt. On Saturday, at the prompting of my Dad (visiting from Ontario), I gave a one-mile run a try. And guess what? It was quick, hard work, and it didn’t hurt (at least, not in an injury-related way). So, the Ambleside Mile was still on!

Package pickup was both Friday (but only until 6pm, so no way to get there on a weekday) and Saturday before the race. With a 9:45am start, we arrived promptly at 9am. There was a short lineup at CoffeeBar, waiting to get bibs and T-shirts. And here is my only criticism of the race. The young man handing out bibs seemed to be having technical difficulties, and seemed a bit at a loss. Although I had ordered a small shirt, they couldn’t find any – BUT! the medium actually fits really well so no complaints.

Out on Marine Drive, the announcer kept us updated on the time leading up to the race, and there was motivating music playing. We were finally called to the start area, where we were led in some warmup exercises. I took a photo for a very sweet couple, who I later saw crossing the finish line hand-in-hand. That’s me there, number 17 – and the cute couple is to my left. 🙂

Start line stretch

Start line stretch

Is it weird that I was actually more nervous about this one-mile race than I’ve been about much longer, much more intimidating races? But as we gathered at the start, there was so much good-natured chatter, and a great diversity of participants, that I soon felt at ease. There were seasoned runners, kids and families – such a great community event!

Gathering to the start

Gathering to the start

Soon we were off! It’s amazing how long a mile can feel – but also how exciting such a short run can be! Anticipating the Ambleside Community Day parade, starting immediately after the race, lots of local people were gathered on both sides of Marine Drive. There was such a positive atmosphere, such enthusiasm, with everyone cheering us on. While it certainly didn’t show on my face, I was definitely smiling inside!

And they're off!

And they’re off!

The race travelled 4 blocks down Marine Drive (from 17th to 13th), a quick right, and another onto Bellevue. My favourite comment from a fellow racer to a cheering spectator: “It’s not as easy as it looks!” We hit 13th, ran back up to Marine, and then headed to the finish line just beyond 16th.

Sprinting (?) to the finish

Sprinting (?) to the finish

There seemed to be some uncertainty about the accuracy of the finish line clock, and I chose to run this race ‘naked’ (i.e. with no technology) – so I was really unsure about my finish clock until the results were finally posted on the Ambleside Mile website. In the end, I had a chip time of 6 minutes 46 seconds. Based on my research, this is a pretty respectable time, so I’m pleased with my results (and, having nothing to compare to, it’s a PB!)

I was also really excited to have my Dad in town to see me finish a race – having him and my guy to cheer me on really made a difference!

Thanks to the volunteers and organizers for putting on a great event, and to all the West Vancouverites who came out to cheer us on! I’ll be there again next year!


This contest has closed – congratulations to our winner, Jan Heuninck! 

How fast can you run a mile?

Here’s your chance to find out! Although I’m still pretty new to blogging, I want to take this opportunity to share my appreciation with my loyal readers! And give you an opportunity to run the Ambleside Mile – for free! This event is being put on by the same awesome folks who organized the West Van Run – which, incidentally, was the topic of my very first race report!

So let’s get down to business…


What is the Ambleside Mile?

What?  Join runners and walkers of all levels in this annual 1 mile running race – part of the Ambleside Community Day celebration!
 Saturday, June 7, 2014
What time?  9:45am
Where?  Marine Drive & 17th Street, West Vancouver
How much?  $27.95 (unless you win this contest!)

How can I win?

Contest details:
1. Leave a comment on this post (under ‘Leave a Reply’). Not sure what to say? Tell us why you love running!
NOTE: You will be required to include your email address – this will NOT be made public, but will allow me to contact you with your prize!

2. Reposting to Twitter or Facebook (or other social media) is optional – but very much appreciated.

3. The contest runs from Sunday, April 27 to Saturday, May 3 (midnight).

4. A random draw will be held on Sunday, May 4 (AFTER the BMO Marathon!)

5. I will contact the winner by email on the evening of Sunday, May 4. The winner will have 48 hours to respond, and I will share the FREE registration code!

All entrants will receive a 10% discount code to register for the Ambleside Run!

Final Thoughts

I’m really excited about this contest! It’s something I’ve never done before – still new to blogging, remember – but it makes me feel sort of ‘legit’. I expect to learn things about how a contest works, and hope to connect with more readers (and other bloggers?) as a result.

I really look forward to your comments! Please, stay a while – visit some of my other blog posts, comment elsewhere. If you like what you read, follow me!

Thank you!

A special shout-out to Kirill and the Ambleside Mile team for making this contest possible!
Follow the Ambleside Mile:
Twitter: @amblesidemile
Facebook: AmblesideMile

Follow me:
Twitter: @bjcjapan