Latest reviews by Karin Femi

(2018)
"A Fun and Sweet Race"
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If you like green, Irish music, running in parks, pancakes, and sweet treats, then this race was designed for you! The Shamrock'N Race is a race held on the gravel trails around Burnaby Lake and includes a 5k, 7 mile (a great opportunity for a PB in an odd distance), and half-marathon. Your registration includes a timing chip, a finisher medal, souvenir running socks (your future lucky socks?), race pictures (if the photographer manages to catch you), and a pancake breakfast.

What I liked:
- Flat-ish trails with just a few short rolling hills
- Finishing on trails (not on grass like the last time I ran in Burnaby lake)
- Access to real washrooms about 200m from the start and to porter potties right next to start line
- A fun warm up to Irish folk music led by the November Project
- Fun and cute costumes
- High-fives at the finish line
- Technical socks with lucky 4-leaf clovers
- A podium ceremony with medal awards for the overall winners of each race + podium pictures
- A wide choice of fruits and sweet snacks at the finish line
- A playground at the finish line
- Coverage of the event by Gord Kurenoff of the Vancouver Sun

What could be improved:
- This year's race did not include a race photographer and the video screen shot were quite blurry
- A few people did not notice the arrow pointing to the left at the first trail intersection and continued straight on another path (which ended up being a little bit of a shortcut). It would be best to put up a cone, block access to that alternate path with a rope, or add a marshall at that spot next year.

View mydetailed race recap here: http://looseleafrunner.blogspot.ca/2018/04/aiming-for-podium-at-burnaby-shamrock-n.html

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(2018)
"PB-friendly: flat, fast, and well-marked"
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Race venue: The race was very aptly named the weather being cold, wet, and windy. When the weather is like this, I just want to stay indoors for as long as possible before the race and get back to warmth quickly after. This race allows for that with everything except the race being in a recently-built community centre with a big sports court, clean washrooms, changing rooms, and showers.

The course: the race starts by Science World, which makes it one of the few Skytrain-accessible races out there. It goes along the Seawall path in the False Creek area towards Yaletown and then back. The benefit of running on the Seawall is that there are virtually no hills. The issue is that it can get crowded. Luckily, because this race is held in the winter, there were not too many pedestrians to avoid. There were a few runners and walkers from the race who did not think of keeping to the right or moving out of the way when hearing me approaching, though. I wish there was some sort of device that would shout “runner coming!” or “please step to the right” at the press of a button... Weaving through a few people was the only challenge I had during this race. The course was very professionally marked with cones for the various turns, km markers, and even signs indicating that we would soon have to turn around. The volunteers were also very supportive and helpful!

The snacks: we were spoiled for choice with the usual bagels and bananas, as well as brownies, crackers, clementines, and Nature’s Path Organic granola bars.

The awards: All finishers get a cute finisher medal and overall winners get additional awards. I thought it was great that they had a real podium for the awards ceremony. I believe it makes the experience that much more exciting and memorable for the top 3 finishers in each race.

The swag: this race normally includes socks, but bad weather meant they did not get delivered in time for the race. The race organizer had the good idea to give participants the option to donate their socks to the race’s partner charity instead of picking them up at a later date.

The charity: The Partner charity was the Lookout Society, which supports low income and homeless people in Vancouver. Runners could also donate more cash to the charity at the on-donation bag check. I was glad I always bring cash with me to races so that I could support this important cause.

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(2017)
"A Themed Fun Run for Runners Aged 1 to 101"
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This was my second year coming to this race with my little one. Last year, she did the 5k in the stroller and this year I decided to sign her up to do the 1K kids run.

Getting There
Getting to the race start was easy as it is is locate on the Seawall and near the Vancouver Aquarium. We also did not have too much trouble finding parking despite arriving only 20 minutes before the start of the race.
Parking
My husband was left to deal with the little one while I rushed to get our race package and forgot to pay for parking. It did not take long for us to get a 40 dollar ticket on our windshield. Be sure to pay for your spot quickly!
Package Pickup
There was a separate pickup tables for the 1K kids fun run. This ensured a quick pickup thanks also to the two friendly and well-organized volunteers at the desk. It is especially impressive as the bib had Elf Names instead of numbers.
Swag
I would count the bibs as part of the swag. Participants can create their own Elf name or let the race organizers randomly select one for them. They are cute and make great keepsakes for the kids!
The race package also included an Elf hat with bells! It was a bit big for our toddler, so my husband wore it instead. Each time he shaked his head to make the bells ring, it put a big smile on her face.
Race Expo
The race sponsors had tents setup next to the start/finish line. My favourite tent was the z95.3 FM tent, which included useful goodies such as a hand sanitizer and juice boxes as well as a contest to win concert tickets. A Tim Hortons truck was also setup close to the package pickup area that was giving away free coffee and chocolate. We did not get to try any after the race as the lineup was moving a bit slowly and our little one needed to get home for a nap.
Warmup
As someone who has volunteered as a warmup leader for a few races in the past I really appreciate a fun and engaging warmup leader and Baxter Bayer, the race organizer himself, is a master of this art. His warmup are the most creative out there with poses, moves and move names that match the race’s theme! What side to side stretches? We are doing Candy Canes! No more boring squats! At the Big Elf Run we are picking up gifts, dropping them ( hear the kids say “Awe!”) and picking them up again, and again.
Course
The kids 1K is a simple out and back race along the seawall with a friendly and attentive volunteer at the 500m turnaround point. The race does not pass any intersection and is on a fully pedestrian path, so it is safe for even the smallest kids to do. Because it is by the water, it can get quite windy, so make sure your kids are dressed appropriately.
The Race
Our little one is too young (and shy) to run with the pack, so she stayed in the back and alternated running, walking and being carried. She is obsessed with dogs so the fact that cute dressed up pups were part of the race was a big plus for her. The other kids seemed to really have fun chasing each other, getting cheered on by parents and volunteers and getting a big high five by the Elf at the finish line!
Post-race Activities
With the fun Christmas-themed decorations out there many kids and families used this race as an opportunity to take cute holiday pictures. We tried to as well, but our little one, who has no issues with Halloween decorations a few months ago, seemed scared by big cuddly bears and inflatable snowmen. Let’s see how it will be next year...

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(2017)
"An awesome family-friendly fun run"
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It was my first time doing a fun run with a stroller and I loved it! I had signed up to run this event just for fun pushing my stroller and this race ended up being perfect for this. With the fun Elf-themed warm up, the cute elf hats and sometimes full-on costumes worn by many of the runners and some friendly volunteers, the hilarious bibs with elf names and the wonderful views of Stanley Park under a blanket of snow, it was impossible not to have fun at this run. My little one did sleep for a big portion of the run, but woke up just in time to get to meet the super friendly Santa who was giving away gifts to children who had taken part in the event: a little plush reindeer was what she ended up picking.

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(2017)
"On the Hills and on the Track"
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I had a blast with my friends from the West Van Run Crew at the Strachan Hartley Foundation Run!
The pre-race expo is located in the Handsworth Secondary School gym with access to their washroom and the option to leave your bag of warm up clothes there. They also had a snack and drinks table setup with fruits, rice cakes, bagels, jam, coffee and gatorade. Something I wish more races did as I often feel hungry or thirsty before morning races. The 10k race started first and I got to cheer for Jeannine and Bradley. They ran strong on the extremely hilly 10k course and it was fun to also get to cheer for them as they sprinted to the finish line. Samantha and I ran the 5k, which also a few mean hills. I started the race fast, taking advantage of the downhill sections, but after a few hill climbs, Samantha started catching up and finally passed me. I tried to keep up with her with the hope of passing her during a final sprint, but as I was getting tired, she seemed to be getting stronger. She ended up finishing the race before I got on the track for the final 250m sprint. It was all good because, in the end, we both ended up winning within our age group.

The race has an amazing friendly community atmosphere with many kids and teens participating both as runners and volunteers. It includes free face painting and balloon animals at the finish line, a 400m toddler run and an 800m kids run! My little girl finished her 400m just in time to give way to the older kids doing the 800m. She really enjoyed the support of fellow runners and, once again, refused to be picked up. I am so glad to see her enjoy being out and active like that.

The SHLF is a fundraiser for Streetfront, a charity that helps at-risk teens build life skills and self-confidence through running, hiking and other outdoor activities. If you would like to donate, you can do so here: https://chimp.net/groups/2017-strachan-hartley-legacy-run

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