The BMO Vancouver Half Marathon


Oh, and if you insist, the Full Marathon, which by the way, has sold out.   However, I have restricted myself to the half for this time around.  This will be my seventh appearance.   I have done the full marathon on two distinctly different courses (1988, then 2004, 2006 and 2008).  As for the Half, this new 2012 route will at least be two courses, but maybe three.

Little Mountain Little League 1955

I am very excited to be giving the new Half Marathon route a try in its very first year, at least partly because I grew up in the neighbourhood near the start.  I played Little League Baseball and watched a good many Vancouver Mounties (Triple A) baseball games, right beside the start line! My home was near 21st and Cambie Street (somewhere approaching Mile 1) and we will run pretty much right past my Elementary School, Edith Cavell, not to mention the site of the grocery store where I had my first paying job (stocking shelves).  All of this before we are much more than nicely warmed up!

Cambie Bridge and BC Place 1984

I am particularly looking forward to seeing Downtown Vancouver spread out in front of us as we enjoy the downward pitch of the first 5km or so.  This route covers some of the oldest, most historic areas of Vancouver, although I must say they may have changed just a little since I was a kid!  And, for the most part, changed for the better.  The photo to the left is of the old swing-span bridge and well before False Creek development of recent years!  The current bridge is under construction, just to the left of the photo and everything along False Creek is industrial.  The photo below was taken today from the same location, but from street level, with the ‘new’ bridge at the left of the picture.  Hard to find those old landmarks like the old Vancouver Sun Building (at the right of BC Place). And, there is a new roof on BC Place, and all those condo’s and….. well, you had just better come see for yourself.

Cambie Street - March 2012

Once we make our way from the East side of downtown to the West side, and along English Bay I will be running territory well known from my recent running days, living just beside Granville Island and using the various Seawall paths around False Creek, English Bay and Stanley Park as my regular running/training route.

Spring Running in Vancouver

If the event organizers can arrange the kind of day that May 6th can be, this is going to be an amazing and frankly, breath-taking route.

As reported earlier, I have found myself involved in a challenge race with two other fellows who won’t even be in Vancouver.  Both will be three time-zones East!  We met through the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K and without repeating things written just a short while back, we are doing the Reggae Runners Half Marathon Challenge.  We will do three different half marathons in three different cities but all on the same day.  Because Larry Savitch (LSFitness) is a mere stripling of 46 and Chris Morales (That Runnin’ Guy) is just 54, while I am now 67, all results will be age graded and the best graded time will win.  If I do it right in this day of on-line results reporting, I may just have the advantage of knowing what the other two did before I even start!  That may or may not be a good thing and technology notwithstanding, I may not avail myself of the information until I’m done.  Whatever, it is all for fun and so very far from serious, not that you could tell from the trash talking going on at the Reggae Runners Half Marathon Challenge page on Facebook.  Well, it WAS for fun until PUMA put up a shiny new pair of Faas 500’s to the winner.  We are super pleased that one of the Reggae Marathon’s main sponsors has seen fit to support our little adventure this way.

A big reason for mentioning the Challenge is that it is one of those things that you can do to make running fun and has the nice little wrinkle of being possible in an on-line universe in which we can do it, as if we were right in the same place doing the same event.  What are these three half marathons?  Well, obviously, I am doing the BMO Vancouver (Half) Marathon.  Chris is doing the Goodlife Fitness Toronto (Half) Marathon and Larry is doing the New Jersey (Half) Marathon.  As Larry recently said, “I expect to finish in the Top 3”.  Me too!

For my part, I will be multi-tasking, not that it takes much extra energy on my part.  Vancouver has a Team Challenge and I am a duly registered member of Run for Change.  I have talked about this project/organization before and will certainly do so again.  Under the guidance of Benji Chu and his dedicated group of volunteers, Run for Change is a small, but growing group of budding runners from shelters and recovery programs who have committed to a personal challenge of life-style change.  Some have graduated through the annual 5K fun run (3rd Annual Run for Change 5K Fun Run – Aug 18, 2012), the Vancouver Sun Run, and will now be tackling the half marathon. Among the BMO Vancouver Marathon Team will be some of the volunteers and supporters who are running the half or even full marathon.

The BMO Vancouver Half Marathon is shaping up to be a great personal adventure.  I guess it would be good if I got out there right now and did some training!  If anyone has suddenly been motivated to register for the Half, better get moving.  I understand that as of today the event is 90% sold out.

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