Race: BMO Vancouver Marathon – http://bmovanmarathon.ca/
Runner: Dan S
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Distance raced and other options
Full Marathon; there was also a Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, and 8k option
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
- The event was professionally run and well managed
- The course included some pretty territory
- Runners were well supported on the course
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Getting to the Vancouver Convention Center for the Expo (required for packet pick up) was challenging with downtown traffic on the Saturday before the race. Also, not having cellular and data coverage complicated logistics and meeting with people a bit (not unique to this event; any international event will presumably involve similar issues).
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
The half marathon starts an hour and a half before the full marathon.
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
I managed my exertion throughout the run better than I have before.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Although this event is not exceptionally hilly, there are some ups and downs. The main hill on the marathon course was comparatively early in the event (around 9 miles). My training computer indicated that my (gross) elevation gain over the course of the run was approximately 850 feet.
Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
Yes. This course is one of the prettier marathon courses that I have run. However, the prettiest parts of the course do come in the second two-thirds of the course (i.e., when runners may have less excess capacity to take in the view).
Difficulty – is it a tough course
Not exceptionally difficult and also not exceptionally easy. As noted above, there is some climbing involved with the course. There are also a few comparatively exposed sections where it could get hot on a sunny day.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
The event was organized and well run.
Competition – is there a strong field?
I understand that there were approximately 3,900 runners in the 2016 full marathon. Although the race may not bring as many elites and semi-pro runners as other events, I can only assume that there were many very strong runners on the course.
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.
Registration was not difficult. There was no lottery or qualification system involved with registering. I understand that the full marathon came somewhat close to (within maybe a few hundred) filling.
As can be expected, many downtown streets were closed for the event (which ends downtown). If you plan to leave immediately after the race, a downtown hotel is likely not advisable.
I recall that there were approximately 20 aid stations on the course – the course was very well supported. Aid stations were deep enough that it was possible to get more than one drink (without stopping) at a few stations. Aid station staff were well prepared for runners.
It was sunny and warm (likely upper 60s well into the 70s) for the 2016 event. There was a slight (maybe 5-10 mph) breeze breeze from the west.
However, I understand that it was raining and wet in a recent year.
The event is held at a time of year when it would not be unreasonable to have 50s and rain (or 70s and sun, as we had in 2016).
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
No. This is a comparatively routine “big city” street marathon. There was no special gear required.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
More or less. There were spectators at many spots along the course.
I do not know the award structure for this event.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
I can recommend Vancouver Marathon for runners who are looking for a professionally managed, spring time, “big city” street marathon of mild-moderate difficulty on a pretty course in the Northwest.