On Sunday, November 30th, I took my kiddos to The Hot Buttered Run hosted by Energy Events in Vancouver. I have not run in Vancouver before wasn’t too sure what to expect with the area. I haven’t visited Fort Vancouver before.
The event is held in Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver. This is a cute little park with a perfect “courtyard” type set up for the event to corner off a 21+ area for the post race Hot Buttered Rum drinks and an area for Santa to greet runners of all ages, vendors with samples and a kids play zone area. As a mom with a gargantuan double stroller (nic named “The Behemoth”) this was very difficult to maneuver. There were stairs in the rum garden that I was not about to tackle with the hot drink and the stroller, so I found a friendly volunteer who helped me out of the fence. It isn’t the race’s fault about the architecture of the park, and I’m not sure how else they would have set it up, but there were some tight steering in several areas of the pre and post race festivities.
Pre race: I was a bit behind with getting to the event when I wanted to and wasn’t sure about how/where to park since I am not in Vancouver all that often. Luck was smiling down on me as someone pulled out of a spot across the street from the park and I quickly parallel parked. After loading the kid in the stroller and running to the courtyard area, we weaved and bobbed through the crowds to the bib pick up tent. No line whatsoever. I quickly claimed my goodie bag (with a jamba juice voucher, some beef jerky and other samples such as Kind and Belvita) and stowed my long sleeve cotton race shirt in the stroller.
The weather was clear and bright, but if you were in the shade, it was much colder than standing in the sun. Especially with the occasional breeze that was cutting through me. I tucked the kids up in blankets and had them bundled pretty good.
Race: The first wave was the 12K and started around 9:30am. After wishing my friends well on their race and tucking the kids’ blanket more securely, we wandered into the sun light to wait for our wave to start at 10:30am. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the runners in their festive garb and some of the costumes. Decorations of snowmen, inflatable santas and the like were about to set the festive atmosphere and keep my kids entertained while we waited for the 5K wave to start (at about 10:30am).
After posing for a few photos with decorations or hanging out in Santa’s chair, we got ready for our race to start. I was dressed in a costume, and decided to go with a “crazy baker” and stitch some “Christmas cookies” I made out of felt onto an extra blanket to drape on the stroller. That way it would help keep them warm and the stroller would help them be “in costume” too. I had them dressed under their heavy coats and blankets as gingerbread cookies, but you’ll have to just take my word for it.
We queued up in the back of the crowd for the 5K and we were off and running through downtown Vancouver. Before I knew it, the 1 mile marker came up and I was shocked! It came up rather quickly for me. We did a lot of bobbing and weaving with the stroller as we had lots of walkers to squeeze past. I really don’t mind that at all and love that this event is something that all and any fitness level can enjoy, but perhaps a gentle reminder from the MC before the race starts that walkers should remain on the right and runners on the left would have been helpful. After a few tight spots on the path on “officer’s row” I took in the view and enjoyed the decorations on these massive and beautiful houses as I carefully passed those around me.
I thought I had the kids bundled up really well, but I had to pull over mid race because my of oldest waving her arms frantically. What was the matter? Her hands were cold. After encouraging her to tuck them under the blanket and not to wave them in the air, we took a quick photo of our beautiful surroundings are started the race again.
It really was very beautiful and I look forward to running in this area more often. Again, the next mile marker came up rather suddenly and I was surprised to think that we only had 1.1 miles left to go. We had a pretty awesome incline with the stroller and that was quite the workout- but the kids loved that the most. What goes up has to come down and the time it took me to get “The Behemoth” up the hill was made up for when I held on for dear life on the way down.
Post race: Volunteers cheered for us and had water available at aid stations along the course. When I crossed the finish, the announcer read my name and photographers snapped photos. It will never grow old to hear my name as I cross the finish. We wondered to the “rum garden” (I don’t think it had an official name, but that’s what I’m calling it!). The line was very short at the time that I partook in this delicious treat. My sugary mixture was not mixed with the rum, so I had a strong drink with a lot of yummy/sugary sludge on the bottom of my cup. I won’t lie, it was still good. The kiddos had hot cocoa and we got in line to visit Santa. This line (at least for me when we got there) was also a quick adventure and Santa stopped to talk to each child and/or runner and his helpful elf snapped photos for everyone.
DJ Paradox played christmas beats while we waited for the last bit of runners to come in so we could send the kiddos off on their kids dash. It is such a hit-or-miss if my oldest is going to want to do a kids dash, so I made the unfortunate mistake of not registering her. As we snacked on our sack lunches and watched Santa and his elf pass out medals to the kids, my kiddos made sure to let me know that next year was not an option to just “hang out” during the festivities. I’m going to need to register my little runners as well.
The children had waves of younger runners who wanted/needed parents to run with them and then waves of older kids who had a farther distance and no parental “pacers” to run with. Children received a finisher’s medal after crossing the finish line.
Results were quickly updated and available at the event, and are also available online HERE.
After the kids races, the 12K awards were handed out to the top three finishers in each age group for male and female participants, as well as the over all finishers. Before reading the 5K results and awards, we had a costume contest and I was surprised and delighted to win. One of my gingerbread cookies was slumped in the stroller with the blanket pulled over her head. Nap time!
We had such a fun time at this event. It is a festive environment, full of fun, good cheer, holiday spirit and a family atmosphere. I would highly recommend this race and look forward to making a tradition out of it for my family next year.