Despite the First Day of Spring being true to it’s nature and providing cool temps and plenty of rain, runners and walkers were not discouraged. Spirits ran high with festive costumes and a pre race costume contest, upbeat music, a group warm up with The Molly Malone Irish Dancers before the countdown and over 800 participants who were then released into the streets of Vancouver.
Running past Esther Short Park and through Officer’s Row, I enjoyed this relatively flat course. Not all of the course felt completely flat. Of course there is a bit of a short incline as the course leads past Ft. Vancouver and to the waterfront, but the last quarter mile had a slight incline leading up to the finish when I really wanted a decline to coast down. I admit to a lack of training on my part and having ran in this area before, it really is mostly flat. I can’t be too smug for choosing to run a race on the morning of my birthday (instead of being lazy and enjoying sweets)… I also won’t gloss over that I was passed by plenty of race walkers, parents pushing strollers, and so many adorable children outrunning their families. No matter your speed, endurance level, age or personal fitness level, this fun event is for everyone. Next time I’ll take my kids out with me.
The event is not just a well organized race, but a festive atmosphere with a local cheer squad offering support and cheers, others holding signs near the finish line and the Fort Vancouver Pipe Band & Drummers playing music as the announcer belted out the finisher’s name when they had crossed the last timing belt. After being handed your green water bottle and finisher’s medal, participants could enjoy plenty of treats with cookies, chocolate milk and other post run type snacks (bananas, bread nutrition bars).
After cheering others in, participants could head over to Calvary Church (just a few steps away from the finish chute) and enjoy a post race massage and the stretching station. Next door at the Main Event, the first 500 finishers could claim their commemorative pint glass full of Deschutes Brewery beer and enjoy a bowl of hot soup with bread stick. I sheepishly admit that I bolted for my beer glass and overlooked the soup. By the time I realized I needed to get back in line at the Main Event for the soup, I decided to forgo it and go home with my sweet family who came explicitly to cheer for me (and were getting a bit soggy in the process).
On top of all these great goodies and fun post-race festivities, race photos are also free! Click here to peruse the fun costumes or download your own race photo. Race results are available online for the 3, 7 and 10 mile distances. I look forward to next year! This young event has a very established feel and I will be enjoying it again with my family running with me and not just hanging out at the finish line.