The West Van Run 2016 was held on March 5 and 6. The first day was the 5K event and the second day was the 10K. I was lucky enough to be a part of the race as an ambassador along with a group of amazing local runners and, of course, opted to participate in both days!
The race attracted a group of over 1200 enthusiastic participants including elites, runners, and walkers. I was pleasantly surprised to see a huge number of students among the crowd. I don’t think you could have paid me to run a 5 or 10K when I was a youth so I’m always impressed when I see kids at these events. A lot of them are fast too so I had to step up my game!
I had to work these races into my training “plan” (I use that term loosely) for my Gorge 100k race on April 2. They happened to fall on what ideally would have been my peak training weekend before starting my taper. So I hadn’t really trained per se for these two events.
Package Pickup & Swag
Since I live in Surrey and package pickup was downtown, the amazing Debra kindly picked my package up for me. They did offer same day package pickup for out-of-town runners, but I was warned it would be busy. The package included one bib with chip timing to be worn both days and two cool-looking WVR water bottles.
Course & Aid Stations
A couple days before the race someone asked me where the course went and I realized I had no idea. I knew the general location but I hadn’t actually looked closely at the route. I replied that my plan was just to follow the hoard of runners!
The race was located at Dundrave Park which I had never been to before. It was a great spot on the waterfront with plenty of parking, a building with washrooms (that’s right, flush toilets!), and a restaurant. The start line for both events was a block inland and the race headed east parallel to the ocean until the halfway point where the route takes you back right along the water to the ocean-view finish line. The only downside is that you could see the finish line from quite a distance … so close and yet so far away!
There was one aid station for each race with water. Unfortunately, the water was full bottles so a lot when to waste and other people didn’t take any due to not needing a whole bottle. It was a bit confusing. Next year I’d like to see the usual cups.
There was a small expo with booths from Kintec, 5 Peaks, and other running-related brands. Bottles of water, hot chocolate, and a natual energy drink were available for the taking. Racers could head into the restaurant to get a grab bag of breakfast food (banana, mini yogurt parfait, mini croissant, etc) and sit down at the tables. The awards ceremony was also held in there.
It was a really fun event and great to see all the West Van Run ambassadors and crew – they are such amazing and hilarious people! Kirill and Karin did an amazing job at organizing the event and everything went incredibly smoothly. Debra was in costume and took a ton of great photos as usual!
Day 1 – I didn’t plan to actually race the 5K but the collective group was hauling ass so I just tried to keep up! After the first kilometre or so I realized that I was going quite fast and could probably PR if I tried. I kept it up and sure enough I crossed the finish line in under 25 minutes! I’m counting it as a PR even though I ran the CIBC Run for the Cure 2013 in 22:13 because I’m 99% sure the course was about a half kilometre short.
To get the rest of my Gorge 100 training in, I met up with friends at Park Royal in the afternoon and ran up to the Grouse Mountain Lodge and back for another 21 km.
Day 2 – A few friends joined me on the 10K day. I took this day slower but still finished in under an hour. I felt suprisingly good considering the big day I had before it. There was one of the most amazing rainbows I’ve ever seen shortly after I finished. I’m not sure how you managed to arrange that Kirill but it was a nice touch!
Again, I headed to the trails in the afternoon with Chris to get some more training in. It was a weirdly beautiful day for early March and I found myself running in a tank top and shorts most of the run. We did 27 km and finished just as it was getting dark. I was exhausted!