Latest reviews by Brie

(2015)
"Massive fun run!"
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The Vancouver Sun Run is a long-standing tradition in the Lower Mainland. It has been held for over 30 years and is Canada’s largest 10k road race.

I finally participated in it this year (2015) for the first time ever as part of a corporate team. We got the usual cotton t-shirt (and yes I ran in it) with the company logo printed on the back.

The route starts in the middle of downtown Vancouver, heads west to paths edge of Stanley Park, around English Bay, over the Burrard Street bridge, along False Creek, and then back over the Cambie Bridge to the finish line at BC Place. We lucked out with amazing weather - sunny and warm but not too hot.

There were about 40,000 runners in total so it took a while (about 40 minutes) from the gun time until I crossed the start line. This is to be expected with such a large event.

Former participants had warned me about slow people getting in the way or fast people rudely pushing past. I didn't find this was too much of an issue but I guess that's because I knew what to expect. It's a tough run to actually race unless you are up in the fastest corrals. I wanted to finish in under an hour which meant dodging and weaving through the crowd of runners, but I did it!

The "after party" (or whatever they called it) in BC Place was chaos but at least there were flush toilets! I grabbed some bagels, a banana, and a juice box and got the heck outta there. No way was I going to wait in an hour long lineup for a free McDonald's coffee!

Read my full race recap here: http://briehemingway.com/blog/2015/04/race-recap-vancouver-sun-run-2015/

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(2015)
"Sells out fast!!"
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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/

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(2014)
"Great little race!"
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I've done this race twice now. In 2013, I ran the half marathon with a couple friends who were new to the distance. In 2014, I ran the half again while a few friends who did the 10k distance.

The 5k and 10k follow an an out-and-back route along the Sea Wall, while the half distance is two laps of Stanley Park.

The half is great if you can get past the fact that it's two laps. Honestly, I thought it would be difficult to keep going when the finish line is so close but if you already have your mind set in two-lap mode, it's really not that bad. The good thing is that you don't actually see the finish line, you bypass it altogether.

Like many Vancouver races, it utilizes the Sea Wall around Stanley Park. The Sea Wall is paved, flat, and provides scenic views - perfect for running. There are enough to water stations that I didn't bring water with me but I did bring snacks.

There are a number of real washrooms (with running water!) along the Sea Wall which are a real treat compared to usual portable ones.

After you cross the finish line and receive your medal, you can grab some food and warm up in the Stanley Park Pavilion building nearby. My only criticism is that there was no coffee!

I've done several races held by Try Events and they always do a great job! Check out their website (tryevents.ca) to see what's coming up!

Read my full race recap here:
2014 - http://briehemingway.com/blog/2014/12/race-recap-vancouver-historic-half-2014/
2013 - http://briehemingway.com/blog/2013/11/race-recap-vancouver-historic-half-2013/

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(2014)
"Best 1st Marathon I've Ever Done!"
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The 2014 BMO Vancouver Marathon was my first full marathon. And it was an amazing experience!!!

The energy and atmosphere was great right from the start! About 5,000 runners gathered in the corrals at Queen Elizabeth Park to begin the full marathon. There were lots of washrooms (albeit portable ones) and gear check.

Along the route there were tons of people cheering, despite it being a bit drizzly out, and funny signs to distract you from the monotony of running and to pump you up! Although the views are generally spectacular, unfortunately it was a bit grey and overcast. But still beautiful in it's own way!

There were plenty of aid stations with water and electrolyte drink and helpful and encouraging volunteers along the route.

The finish was fantastic, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, with many spectators lining both sides. After thinking I might not make it for most of the run, I was pretty excited running down the final stretch and receiving my medal!

I was promptly given more food and water than I could carry and immediately sat down on the curb and dug in. I remember being very pleased with the box containing crackers, hummus, granola bars, and nuts. Perfect post-race food!

Overall, I was very happy with my first full marathon experience! I definitely recommend this race to others and I look forward to participating in it again this year (2015)!

Read my full race recap here: http://briehemingway.com/blog/2014/05/i-am-officially-a-marathoner/

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(2013)
"Running for a cause"
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I've participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure in 2013 and 2014 and I plan to do it this year again.

The 5k walk/run raises money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - a cause which is close to the heart. My friends and family formed a team in 2013 in support for a brave lady we knew who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Last year, she was able to walk the 5k with us!

Our team actively canvases for donations leading up to the run and I'm proud to say we've raised over $3,000 each year!

The event takes place in locations all across Canada and while there is a huge one in Vancouver, we stick to the smaller, nearby location in the suburbs. It a very inspiring experience with many cancer survivors sharing their stories.

The run is not timed (although in 2013 they experimented with chip timing) as it is meant to be a fun and non-competitive event. I doubt there are many people who attend the run to race it. There are cotton t-shirts (with team name) but no medals. This race isn't really about the swag anyway!

Read my full race recap here:
2014 - http://briehemingway.com/blog/2014/10/race-recap-cibc-run-for-the-cure-2014/
2013 - http://briehemingway.com/blog/2013/10/race-recap-cibc-run-for-the-cure-2013/

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