Race: BMO Vancouver Marathon – http://bmovanmarathon.ca/

Runner: Anna H

Date: 5/1/2016

Location: Vancouver, BC

The distance raced and other options

I participated in the marathon, but here was a half marathon as well. The day prior it looked like there was maybe a 5k and an 8 mile race, but I don’t have a lot of information about that.

Results – 5:09…..ouch.

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

Well organized, huge support along the way, BEAUTIFUL views

Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The marathon start was 8:30am, while the half started at 7:00am.  Being a hotter day, the later start took it’s toll.  Oddly enough, the course markings were a little bit of a mental game for me.  Because it’s in kilometers, you have to run 44 of them, so that’s 44 mileage signs, instead of the usual 26.  Hard to not let your mind get the best of you when you’re at 28km and know you still have to run past another 16 signs…Other than that, nothing.  It was so well organized, great expo, and more volunteers than a runner could ever hope for!

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

I SAW weird things, like someone who juggled 3 balls the entire race, or people dressed up in onesies etc.  But, nothing about the actual race seemed weird.  I really lucked out!

Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular

Finishing!  It fell apart for me early on and so it was quite the battle to simply finish, so not giving up was enjoyment on it’s own.  I had a great cheering squad and that was really helpful, and a good reminder to go out and support each other because it makes such a difference!  Can’t say it enough – biggest enjoyment of this race were the views along the run – it really helped turn things around.

Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

The course map looks deceiving, and it really does end up being a bit of a hilly course for the first several miles.  I spent a lot of time trying to master my MP pace, but I did it on the Burke Gilman, a flat long stretch and I should’ve tackled a lot more hills to be better prepared.  The start and finish are not close to each other, which means some logistical planning for drop off and pick up.  I luckily went with people who had run this race several times, so it was smooth for us, but I could see how the road closures etc. would be challenging for the newbie.

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

One of the prettiest courses I’ve ever been on – especially the last 6 miles along Stanley park where you’re right on the water with the mountains and city in the background.

Difficulty – is it a tough course

Well, yes. The first part was pretty hilly….it does flatten out, but likely not a place to try and qualify for Boston.

Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Super well organized, it was the 45th running of this race!  Hopefully they’ve got the kinks worked out by now.  The traffic and road closures were challenging, but we figured it out ok.  Aid stations were plentiful and the amount of volunteers helping to pass out water etc. was huge!  There were a few thousand runners, and they managed that volume well.

Competition – is there a strong field?

Probably – I have no idea.  I’m sure it draws some elites though….

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

I believe it sold out, but I don’t think too  early.  We rented a house, so I can’t speak to how full the hotels were.  I do know there were hotels both near the start and finish that runners could get easy access to.  Other than that, just making sure your passport is up to date and planning for the border crossing!

Aid Stations –

Very plentiful – water, sports drinks, gu, bananas etc.

Weather and typical race conditions – Not sure what typical race conditions are – last year it was pouring down rain and this year it was almost 80.  So a little unpredictable.

Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

Nope – just your usual stuff!  Plenty of support, bathrooms, and everything you need along the way.  I did carry my own water, but not sure that was even necessary there was so many aid stations.

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

The course was filled with spectators, from people sitting out in their front yards, to those lining the streets, to those who you knew treked out into the parks to watch.  It was very well supported with lots of cheering along the way. Love that!

Awards –

Darn, no idea on this one.

The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it

I’d give it 5 stars, (if that’s the top number!?) and would definitely recommend others to give it a go!

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