Summary: Great venue. Safe. Cool weather for late June.
|Race Name||Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon|
|Elevation Profile||Much more downhill than up makes for a very fast race|
|Organization||Well organized with many wonderful volunteers|
|Highlights||It was a beautiful race along the shores of the English Bay. Very fast. Very nice people from around the world.|
|Other Events||5K (untimed and no medal)|
|Good for Beginners?||Great first half marathon|
This was a wonderful event at a really great venue. It’s defintely a must do.
Vancouver is a rain forest, very similar to Seattle in that it is green with tall trees. The race takes place in June and the weather report in the days ahead of the race said there was a chance of rain. It was a bit chilly at the 7am start, but once the sun came out, I was glad I checked my rain jacket. About a dozen jackets littered the first 10K of the run.
The first 9 or so kilometers of the race is on the campus at the UBC (University of British Columbia). It’s a beautiful venue that is effectively, flat. Colorful bands played on the out and back which made the first miles fun. About 10K into the race runers transition to the banks of the English Bay. A view of Stanley Park, the end of the race can be seen across the bay.
There were many medics along the route willing to render assistance. There were also about 7 water stations along the 21.1 KMroute. One of the later stations offered Cliff Gels. I took a chocolate and vanilla but didn’t try them for fear that they might not set well on my stomach. I stuck with water.
Fans littered the course, but not in great numbers. Mostly, they were near the end of the race at Stanley Park. My favorite was a gaggle of 20 something young ladies on the Burrard Street bridge around 17KM into the race. One of them had a sign that said, “You have great stamina, call me” along with her phone number.
The race ended with great crowds. Gatorade, raisins, bananas, cookies and juice were available. A live band also played. Gear pickup was easy and well organized. Half marathoners were given beautiful medals.
The 5K runners started at 9am, which made it possible to see my wife and daughter finish their run. The 5K went though Stanley Park. The ladies noted that the smell of the sea was the most remarkable thing about their beautiful race. We later walked part of their route and it was stunningly beautiful. The 5K runners were not timed.
The race ran very quickly. The winner ran the course in 1:03. The fastest male in the 45 to 49 age group finished in 1:20. I finished in 2:34, beating my time from the Edinburgh half by 10 minutes. The Edinburgh race is reported as the fastest race in Europe. My pace in vancouver impressed me compared to my previous race, and I don’t expect to beat it any time soon.
I will say that it was different to run a race with all the markers in Kilometers. Race times were posted to the web quickly as were race pictures and video. Everything was done in an efficient and professional manner.
The Empire Landmark Hotel was the host of the expo and where we stayed for 3 nights. The hotel was older and comfortable. The room came with a balcony that presented a spectacular view of the city. The sun set so late in the evening was fun. Most nights, we went to bed before sunset. The hotel was a short uphill walk from the finish line and the race offerred a shuttle to the start of the race which was extremely convenient. The only downside to the hotel was that even though there was free wireless, only one device could access wireless at a time. Given that the three of us carried a total of 5 wi-fi devices, it forced us to share, which was no big deal. The hotel was located on Robson street, which was close to many restaurants and shopping. A hop-on/hop-off tour bus stopped in front of the hotel, which made for a very nice day of touring the city.