Monday, April 21, 2008

Vancouver Sun Run Race Report

59,175 people signed up for the race - I believe surpassing the Peachtree Road Race as the largest 10K in North America. There were 44,160 finishers (or so the preliminary results say).
I had a pretty fractured sleep the night before the race but I was up and alert at 7:30. We could see the starting area from our hotel room window and we waited until about 8:30 before heading down to the start.
The weather was unseasonably cold in Vancouver. It was 1 deg C (34 deg F) at the start with a projected high of 8 deg C (46 deg F). I dressed in a pair of capris, a short sleeve top and my long sleeve Disney Marathon tech top on top. Because it was so cool, and I have a tendency to cool off really quickly afterwards, I opted to pay $5 to gear check a sweatshirt at the end.
The start line for the race is massive - there are 6 corrals and they really pace out the start so that the beginning of the race isn't too crowded. Two years ago I ran in the purple corral - the second to last corral - and it took me over an hour to get to the start line. Based off of my personal best 57:56 I signed up for the green corral this year - the 50 - 58 min runners. What does it look like when they are nearly 60,000 people at the start line?

Pretty insane, eh? There were security guys checking coloured bibs as you were entering the starting area, but somehow or other I saw a few purple and red bibbed folks around us. The race started at 9 am, then our corral was allowed to start about 9 minutes later.Pretty well as soon as we crossed the mat Neil and I lost each other. I found him a couple of times over the course of the race, but we pretty well ran the race on our own. The first 1 km was all downhill along Georgia Street towards Stanley Park. Seeing the mass of people ahead of you is definitely a sight. The second km was uphill through the and slowed me down a bit. It was around here that my shins started to bug me - seriously, can't this problem go away already! I stuck with it and finally just past the 3 km marker things started to improve. We ran down English Bay - part of which I had run on Friday - and headed towards the Burrard Street Bridge - the halfway point. Just before getting to the bridge we had a steep hill to run up, then more uphill as we ran along the bridge. Despite the uphill this is probably one of my favourite sports on the course. After this I just remember the kilometer marking signs ticking away. I knew I wasn't going to go under an hour on the race, but I also knew I was on pace to beat my time at the St. Patrick's Day 10K. All of a sudden I was running the Cambie Street Bridge, then on the off ramp heading towards BC Place and the finish line. I kicked it in for the final sprint and crossed the mat, finishing in 1:03:11. Not a PR, but I'll take it.
I figured that Neil would only be a few minutes behind me, so I waited off to the side just before trip retrieval. Once Neil crossed we waited so he could give back his chip. There was a schmozzle of people at this point as folks were lining up at the first person they saw with clippers to cut their chip off, instead of moving farther down the line to help ease the back up a bit. I heard later that at one point the back up got so bad that people couldn't cross the finish line and they had to wait. Immediately after giving back the chip we headed to gear check and saw a massive line. I figured since there were still at least half or two thirds of the total racers still out on the course I'd better get in line now, plus I really needed my top by this time. After about 20 min in line here's what it looked like:

Kind of a mess, eh? I finally made it to the front of the line and I handed my bib off to someone and after that I never saw him again. A bunch of us were waiting around for 10, 15, 20 minutes with still no sign of our bags. A few folks were hopping over the tables to search themselves. I asked someone else if she could look for my bag but after a few minutes she gave up and went on to search for someone else. Frustrated, three of us hopped over the tables to look on our own. Bags were organized by bib colour, but that was about it. They were all pretty well in a mess on the floor. No wonder things were taking so long. I took two turns around the room looking for my stuff. Just as I was about to resign myself to the fact that I wouldn't see my top again I spotted on bag on a table - my bag! The kid who went to search for my bag had found it, but never bothered to make sure he got it back to me. I realize the logistics behind checking bags can be pretty tough when you have that many runners, plus I really respect all the volunteers that come out to help because races don't happen without them. However I was pretty disappointed that after paying to check my stuff that I nearly lost it, and that I had to go look for it myself. By this point in time I was shivering and pretty peeved. We went inside BC Place to check out the after party but couldn't even spot the bagels or bananas. We decided to skip out and head back to the hotel since we still had to shower and pack and check out in the next hour and a half.
So...all in all I really enjoyed the race - the scenery is amazing along the route, you can't beat the high you get from running a race with that many people, and the volunteers along the course were terrific. I was disappointed in the race at the end, but it wouldn't stop me from running it again. The final statistics:
Overall: 15,953 out of 44,160
Females Overall: 5866 out of 24,866
F25-29: 1277 out of 3814


Running Knitter said...

Awesome job on the 10K!

Sonia said...

Awesome Leana! I think a race with that many people is hard to PB in. You did awesome for sure =) So cold out there, I couldn'T believe it!!

rocketpants said...

Wow that is HUGE!! Sounds like it was still a good time. Glad to hear.

Run For Life said...

Great job and I'm glad you enjoyed the race portion! It sounds like to me they need to start capping the race. I thought 2007's was a lot (with 25,000 people I think it was) but at least the bag check and post-race celebration was well organized then unlike this year.

Rob said...

Great job on your 10k. What a mass of people, crazy big.

Scott said...

Nice job Leana! Thanks for the report! Looks like I'll now be in the 2nd largest race come July ;) I thought you did wonderful, especially with that many people running. Sorry to hear about the post-finish line issues though...sounds like they have some growing pain problems to resolve. How are the shins now??

Morgan said...

Wow, insanity!! Nothing like running with a few 10,000 of your closest friends! Great job and I am glad you got your bag, eventually!

chris said...

Great job on the 10K. OMG, look at all those people. Insane.

TNTcoach Ken said...

That’s just too many people and it was cold!

Speed Racer said...

Oh my god, that's fucking incredible. You couldn't fit that many people on a 10k course 10x over! And I thought MY weekend was a logistical nightmare. Sounds like a great race, but that is pretty disappointing about the baggage check. I think that for all the headache, you could have picked up a couple free sweatshirts from other people's bags... well at least to keep you warm for the time that you were looking for yours anyway.

Great job!

Derek said...

I play drums in The Neurotics, the band at the starting line scaffold, and even after 15 years watching those tens of thousands of people go by never gets old. And I get to sit down! :) (You can tell I'm not fond of running.)

Danielle said...

Wow...that sounds like a mess. I like kind of mid-sized races myself but good job on dealing with it all.