The race started at 6 p.m., with same day packet pick-up and race day registration occurring prior to the event. There was ample time for participants to collect their bib and tech shirt, as well as register if they needed to still. Parking was a piece of cake, and pre-race logistics were fantastic. With regard to the start line and finish line events for the race, everything took place at the General O.O Howard House on Officer’s Row, which was a beautiful setting. And, there was a lot of shade – yay!
Since this was a 21 and over event, participants had to make
sure to bring their ID so they could get into the pre-race/post-race festivities area, and obtain the bright pink Cosmo 7k wrist band. Standing in line to have my ID checked, it was obvious a lot of ladies did not bring their ID. It would have been super, super excellent if, in the pre-race e-mails, it would have been bold, flashing, etc. that participants had to bring their ID in order to even get to the porta-pottie lines, the pre- and post-race refreshments, etc. There was a number of very unhappy racers who, for whatever reason, didn’t have their ID and could not get into the pre- and post-race area. I wonder how ladies that needed to pick-up their packet (which was inside the 21+ enclosure area), were able to do so without their ID? Did anyone have this happen?
That snag aside, the porta-pottie line moved quickly with plenty of them available for the size of the race. Lots of vendors were handing out samples of their products, such as Jamba Juice and Zico Coconut Water prior to the race starting, and again at the finish line. And, the General O.O. Howard House provided lots and lots of shade for staying out of the heat of the sun as long as possible prior to lining up at the start line. There was a bag check for ladies to use, as well, which was well organized. Pre- and post-race massage areas were available, too. Very nice, well organized, well attended pre/post-race with vendors and entertainment for racers.
About 10 minutes prior to the 6 p.m. start, the announcer/DJ starting informing racers to proceed to the start line. It was a self-feed start (no corrals based on pace), with a number of walkers choosing to line up inches for the start line. The race started promptly at 6 p.m. (THANK YOU, Energy Events, for the on-time start!) with the usual jockeying for position the first 5 or so minutes due to the lack of corrals.
The first mile of the course sent racers through beautiful downtown Vancouver, past Esther Short park, where a beer festival was occurring, and then onto the Columbia River multi-use path system. There was an aid station at approximately the 3/4 mile mark right outside the Vancouver Hilton. The views, and wide path, along the next mile was spectacular.
At about mile 2, racers exited the multi-use path and continued, on the road, back toward the mile 3 marker, which took racers up onto the pedestrian path over the highway, which connects back to Officer’s Row near the fort. There was a second aid station located under the railroad bridge here, which was a very welcome sight. The heat on the race was pretty intense, causing a lot of us to take walk breaks and/or generally pull back and take it a little easier on the pace so as to not overheat.
The final mile took racers back through Officer’s Row and up a back-road, which proved to be a little hill that was a surprise, to the finish line. The race was a unique distance, 7k, making the total mileage about 4.3 miles. The course was very nice, and I thoroughly enjoyed every step. Vancouver-ites, you sure have a wonderful city to run in!
The finish line was super active with great music and a fantastic DJ/announcer bringing racers across. Gatorade and water were immediately available to participants, which was fantastic. It did take good investigative skills to locate where the cosmos and the lovely finisher martini glass were located (behind the house). Some sort of direction/signage would have been sincerely appreciated; I know a number of participants asked me where I got my martini glass and drink, and I helped direct them. The finish line “garden” was hopping with post race food (watermelon, bananas, vegetable trays) and the vendors were still out in full force, providing lots of opportunities to check things out. Participants were also provided tags on their bibs to have samples of some additional cosmos if they wished. The set-up of the post-race area was very conducive to hanging out and cheering on fellow finishers, too! Love this!
Here is my quick synopsis on the Cosmo 7k:
Pros: Fantastic course. Excellent aid stations (two on a 7k course, that is awesome!). Wonderful event tech shirt and martini glass. Energetic start/finish line atmosphere. Fast moving porta-pottie lines and excellent parking/pre-race logistics.
Cons: Lack of notice that participants had to bring their ID in order to get into the pre- and post-race area. No corrals at the start line. Cosmos were steaming hot (sitting out in the sun) when participants made it to their long await post-race adult beverage. With it being an evening race, in the summer, it will always be a really hot race (temperature wise!).
I am consistently impressed with the events produced by Energy Events. Having participated in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Vancouver Half Marathon, and the Cosmo 7k this year, I can throw out a huge standing ovation to them for producing high energy, well managed races. Fantastic job! I can’t wait to participate in the event for 2015! Oh – and remember, new this year, the Cosmo 7k will also be in Seattle (Aug. 16) and Bend (Sept. 27), so check those out if you missed the Vancouver race this year!
Check out the full race results for 2014 here.