Race Report: BMO Vancouver Half Marathon
It was my first time running the new course of the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, the last time I ran this event being back in 2009.
Source: BMO Vancouver Marathon
What a day it turned out to be! Just spectacular weather – clear sunny and crisp, perfect conditions for running and showing off the city at her finest on this beautiful course that takes in many of the city’s areas.
A super, well-organized start at the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park, with the natural corals based on expected finishing times. A little incline and then onto Cambie for a lovely long downhill to cross the Cambie bridge into the city. I could see snow capped mountains right ahead – such a fantastic view and, of course, it is good to be running relatively downhill.
Back to the actual running, as always with a downhill start – especially one this long, it is so important not to go out too fast but oh so very easy to do. Due to my Ironman training schedule, I had decided to do this as a training race, so not at full out race pace, but more of a tempo/run by feel speed, after a somewhat hard week of practice.
Sometimes, it’s good not to be ruled by the watch so bar checking my first kilometre – to make sure I wasn’t going too fast – I only checked once again at half way and then at the finish line. If I were trying to beat a particular time, I would have checked at a kilometre to go – but the overall time wasn’t super important, so I didn’t check. It is good to know the body clock still works well and as I discovered looking at the stats later, it does indeed.
It’s always great to see so many spectators and friends out on the course – especially as this race starts at 7 am! I loved running through Chinatown and Yaletown; it was fun to hear the many musicians and bands along the route, then along Beach Avenue and into Stanley Park, with more great scenery along the way.
A late spring saw us running through the cherry blossoms, and I could see lots of beautiful flowers on the route. A few more hills in the second half to keep you working hard to get to that finish line.
I managed a negative split, which I am excited about (almost even but good on a course like this, which certainly has a lot of downhill in the first half) as I never manage to negative split. Okay – it should be easier when you are training, but I can tell you I was working very hard in those last 6k!
I loved the course as I like a bit of variation in the terrain. Yes, it’s always a challenge to hit those inclines later in the race, but it’s great to test yourself and pay the mental games on these.
Certainly, a slower start made these a little easier and it is always great to be passing people later in the race – good for the confidence, for sure. However, I did get passed by a couple of runners on the finishing straight – must work on that finish line kick!
One of the Vancouver marathon tag lines is Stunning Running, and that certainly summed it up for me. A beautiful course, which shows off the best of the city, and can be a fantastic time if you’re on your A-game!
I’m also delighted to still finish third in my age group with a time of 01:36:11!
As always, thanks to Kintec for their continued support and fantastic product, and to Vancouver Marathon for a spectacular event! A shout out to all of the amazing volunteers – there were many for this event and all of the awesome people cheering along the route.
Kintec Race Team