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 halfway 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, I ran along Beach Avenue and into Stanley Park, with more great scenery along the way.
A late spring saw us running through the cherry blossoms. 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 on 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. 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 taglines is Stunning Running, and that certainly summed it up for me. A beautiful course, which shows off the best of the city. It 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