- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
I heard about the Vancouver First Half right before registration opened for the 2014 event. I didn’t sign up for it right away, however and it sold out in a day. It’s a popular race for runners training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon because it’s around the time when you’re starting to do distances over 20km (if you follow the Running a Room training plan or similar). Also, it’s in its 26th year, very well organized, and a beautiful route.
They don’t tell you what time registration starts so this year I woke up at the crack of dawn to check if it had opened. It had so I registered right away. Turns out it didn't end up selling out for about a day.
I carpooled with my fiancé and two friends. There were lots of parking spots, however most of them had a 2-hour time limit BUT it was free until 9am. It was just after 8am when we parked so I set the alarm on my phone for 9am and used the pay-by-phone app during the race to put 2 hours on the meter. I know, clever right??
It's a pretty small race so it only took about a minute or two for us back-of-the-packers to cross the start line. It was a dry February day and there were beautiful view of the fog lifting off Vancouver. We really lucked out with the weather - I ran in shorts!
Much of the route is along the downtown waterfront, around the Sea Wall and Stanley Park, which makes for a great scenery. There weren't a lot of aid stations (which I knew going in) but there were enough that I didn't bring any extra water with me. I did bring some snacks though.
There were spectators lining the finish chute and once I crossed the finished line I was promptly give a fancy medal and a poncho. The food area was really busy so I just grabbed a bagel and a cup of coffee, but there was soup there as well!
In summary, the First Half is a really popular race for good reason! And to top is off the fee was about $65, making it one of the cheaper half marathons in the area.
Read my full race recap here: http://briehemingway.com/blog/2015/02/race-recap-vancouver-first-half-2015/